The streets of Perth were awash with green, white and gold yesterday, as thousands of sun drenched spectators came out to witness the city’s St Patrick’s Day parade.
In scorching 32 degree heat, star power came in the form of Irish humanitarian and legendary rocker Bob Geldof, who took time out from promoting the Boomtown Rats’ upcoming world tour to mingle with the locals at the Irish Club of WA and kickstart the highly anticipated parade.
“It’s incredible to think that right now around the world there’s 170 million people doing exactly what we’re doing here right now,” he said.
Geldof, who was appropriately decked out in a traditional green suit, spoke to the crowd about Ireland’s economic problems.
“I’ve been coming to Perth since 1978, I’ve got great friends here, I’ve seen the Irish community grow and grow over the years,” Geldof said.
“I’ve seen them gather together and take care of each other and in these hard times back in Ireland it’s fantastic to see these Irish groups taking care of their own people and the children who’ve had to leave once again and come here and find another home here.”
“So today go and celebrate who you are and what you are and celebrate the fact that you ended up in such a magnificent city, in such a beautiful country. You are indeed very lucky.”
Speaking after the parade at the Irish Club, Geldof who spent his time sipping on a pint of Guinness said: “There were thousands of people; it was an absolutely brilliant atmosphere.”
Pipe bands, Irish dancers and a strong representation of Gaelic football teams kept the crowd cheering all the way through the streets of Leederville, which were lined with flag-waving kids and adults alike.
Dozens of decorative floats made there way around the parade route, ending at the Leederville Oval, where families enjoyed the day with their fellow countrymen and even got the chance to taste some proper Irish cuisine.
One patriotic parade-goer expressed her delight at the morning’s proceedings.
“As you can see around you there’s a sea of green we should do this all the time, every year,” said Ballincollig spectator Evelyn O’Brien.
Another Dublin family who have been in Perth for 13 years, believe that a move from the parade’s former location of Fremantle to the city is long overdue.
“We’re really looking forward to it, especially with our little man because it’s his first Paddy’s Day parade,” said Lisa Kelly.
After months of preparation, organisers and volunteers could breathe a sigh of relief after the day went off without a hitch.
Karen Hennessy, of St Patrick’s Day WA, thanked all the volunteers and sponsors, who made the day possible.
“We’ve been at it for nearly a year now and the parade committee have just been fantastic,” she said.
“We’ve come up against a few stumbling blocks but City Events and iinet, the major sponsors have just really given us their support with finances but not only that have really backed the parade,” she added.