UPDATE: All St. Patrick’s Day festivities have been canceled.
Whereas the coronavirus causes events to be canceled all over Europe, the preparations for the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin are still going on. However, due to Nigel Goggin from Conway Communications, the organizers are still waiting for advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team Group.
“One, two, three, four”, shouts Eddie McGuinness in the St. Kevin’s Community Centre, to help the group behind him getting into the right rhythm for his dance. He is one of the many choreographers for the Community Arts pageant of the parade. With St. Patricks Day coming closer and closer, the Dublin LGBT and Pride manager has to make sure that every single one of his 12-man-group knows what to do and which step comes when.
In another room wigs are being sorted, the last fittings for all the colorful and diverse costumes are taking place. “This is a community arts project”, explains Rachel Hopkins, the Community Arts project manager. “We have 15 different community groups that come together from every nationality, all living in Ireland.” Eventually, 250 participants work together to create “a big piece of street theatre.”
Half a million spectators are expected when the big St. Patrick’s parade is winding through Dublin again on the 17th of March. Not just Irish, but people from all over the world will dress in green, glittery clothes, wear big hats and stick long orange fake beards to their chins on this religious and cultural celebration.
“We have to be ready at 100 percent”
Because the coronavirus is often spread from one to another person among close contact, public gatherings like that raise concern that the virus could hit Ireland. A group of Dubliners launched a petition to cancel the parade. However, until now, there are no plans to call off the celebrations.
“There has been no decision made about the parade”, Goggin says. “The festival will let people know when a decision has been made.” For the artists, choreographers, Hopkins and the whole team of the parade, it is the most important thing to continue with all the preparations. “We have to be ready at 100 percent, it has to be perfect so we will keep going.”
UPDATE: The coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, has continued to spread across Europe. On Thursday the previous week, the first case has been confirmed in Northern Ireland. By now 70 people in the Republic of Ireland contracted the illness. The second one has been confirmed recently by Tony Holohan, the Chief Medical Officer:
Comment below what you spent your St. Patrick’s Day with!