Our Irish eyes were smiling (and our Polish ones were too) at the Southside Irish Parade

Sure and Begorrah we had a great time Sunday afternoon at the Southside Irish Parade.

The sun and the spirits of the Kennedy and Mackey families smiled down on us as we found a spot on Western Avenue along with 200,000 of our closest friends.

With more than 100 entries representing nearly every parish, union, and family in the area, the parade made me wonder if the phrase “Southside Irish” might be a wee bit redundant.

The lads wore kilts and thick cable sweaters, the lassies tossed curly hair, pointed their toes and danced with high-stepping exuberance.

And there was a bagpipe or two…hundred.

The pipes, the pipes were calling from glen to glen, a thrilling cacophony that leant a dignified air to the festivities and left no doubt as to the roots of the celebrants.

Famous today, the Southside Irish parade began in 1979 when best friends George Henry and Pat Coakley decided the neighborhood needed a little pick-me-up.

They marched in the rain with their wives and 17 neighborhood children that year. Eventually the parade became the largest St. Patrick’s Day community celebrations outside Dublin. In fact, it grew a little too large and boisterous for the neighborhood that hosted it and in 2009 parade officials shut it down.

The revival of the Southside Irish Parade took it back to its family friendly roots, and the route today is full of cute babies, hot dog stands, and multi-generational families.

We capped off our parade experience with some delicious corned beef with the famous Quinn Family. We followed that up with some equally delicious corned beef with the famous Duffy clan.

More on the corned beef in Wednesday’s blog.

Until then, we hope your Irish eyes are smiling. Sláinte!

Southside Irish backyard
This is my husband’s cousin Ray’s backyard and I love every Southside Irish thing about it from the skating rink that he lays in every year, to the Irish flag hanging just outside the window, to the Blackhawks flag on the far side of the fence.
Southside Irish bagpipers
I love the sound of the bagpipes, and the whole kilt think is pretty cool too.
Southside Irish cousins
My husband, his sisters and cousins, all descendants of the Kennedy and Mackey clans. Great fun!
Southside Irish bike
Some families hopped on a bike to tour the route.
Southside Irish cute dancer
Of course, I could not get enough of the Irish dancers. So cute!
Southside Irish dancer flag
Love this little girl with her high top chucks and her Irish flag.
Southside Irish dancer float
Take a look at their feet. That’s right, they’re not touching the ground. They’re also dancing on a moving float. Very impressive.
Southside Irish dog
The pups loved the parade too.
Southside Irish fire truck
Every union had a float. I got a kick out of the two little girls riding on the side of this one.
Southside Irish founders
This represents the founders, who started this parade with a decorated baby carriage and 17 neighborhood children. My, how it’s grown!
Southside Irish girls
I liked the spunk here.
Southside Irish governor
Governor Rauner walked the route, along with both mayoral candidates and a bunch of other politicians.
Southside Irish lads
Southside Chicago, or Dublin? Sometimes, it was hard to tell.
Southside Irish kilties
Multi-generational bag pipers.
Southside Irish Laddy dancers
The little boys kicked it up as well.
Southside Irish more cute dancers
I can not even describe how cute these two little guys were.
Southside Irish Misericordia Home
A huge and happy contingent from the Misericordia House.
Southside Irish Leprechaun
And, a Leprechaun, naturally.
Southside Irish tubas
How cool do these high school tuba players look?

You have one more day to gear up for your St. Patrick’s Day party. Here’s a little video by my favorite sketch comedy duo, Pure & Weary, to get you in the mood.


5 thoughts on “Our Irish eyes were smiling (and our Polish ones were too) at the Southside Irish Parade

  1. Great photos!! I got to go to the St. Patrick’s Day parade in London.. I wish it was in Ireland but it was definitely better than ours back in the states!!

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