AFTER 25 YEARS watching St Patrick's Day unfold in Ireland, I believe I have a refined perspective of what makes a Paddy's Day Parade authentic. It depends upon the place where the parade unfolds.
For my first five years in Ireland, I used a "parade metric" that I packed in my brain from the States. There had to be drum and bugle corps present. Marching bands with gleaming brass were meant to set the standard. Cheerleaders with street choreography had to punctuate the proceedings.
But then I moved down the country and I realised an authentic St Patrick's Day celebration was one that looked and sounded like a community events guide mashed up with a parish phone book. And instead of a cadence that never stopped between groups marching in the parade, large gaps in the proceedings had to be injected in the parade to accommodate for the tractors that broke down or the floats that caught fire. I've seen it all between 1995 and 2019 so I'm now nearly qualified to sit with the Grandmaster on the main platform.
[Bernie Goldbach teaches creative media for business on the Clonmel Digital Campus of the Limerick Institute of Technology.]