In the past, in Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day was celebrated as a religious holiday. It became a public holiday in 1903 when Irish MP MP James O’Mara introduced the law. It required pubs be closed on the holiday, a provision which was repealed only in the 1970’s.
The first St. Patrick’s Day parade held in Ireland was in Dublin in 1931. Although secular celebrations now exist, the holiday remains a religious observance in Ireland, for both the Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic Church.
In the mid-1990’s, the Irish government began a campaign to showcase Ireland and its culture on Saint Patrick’s Day. The first Saint Patrick’s festival was held as a one day event in 1996. Since then it has grown to a five-day event involving multiple events and activities with over a million people attending the festival and 675,000 people in attendance at the 2009 parade alone!
The biggest and best St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the world is a breathtaking display of creative talent. The Parade itself weaves through the city center and is made up of Irish street theater companies, ceremonial groups and marching bands from around the world for an exciting carnival atmosphere.