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!
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.