The hashtag #RTEVirtualParade has became a riot of St. Patrick’s Day revelry since Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTE, urged people to post footage of their improvised, isolated celebrations on social media. (S Keogh Twitter photo)

‘Virtual parades’ trending as virus dampens St. Patrick’s Day revels around the world

#RTEVirtualParade hashtag a riot of flag-waving family processions, pets in green, Irish dancing

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations around the world have fallen victim to the new coronavirus — but even a pandemic could not quash the desire to celebrate the colour green, Guinness and all things Irish.

Parades and parties were cancelled around the globe Tuesday as governments imposed restrictions on human contact to slow the spread of the virus.

Irish authorities called off Dublin’s parade, which usually draws half a million revelers into the streets of the capital city, and pleaded with people not to congregate at house parties. Thousands of pubs across Ireland have been closed as part of measures to fight COVID-19, tens of thousands of pints of Guinness will go un-poured and 140,000 people who work in pubs, restaurants and childcare are unemployed, at least temporarily.

But even in a time of social distancing and self-isolation, the desire to mark the day bloomed.

Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTE, urged people to post footage of their improvised, isolated celebrations on social media. The hashtag #RTEVirtualParade soon became a riot of flag-waving family processions, pets in green, white and orange tricolours and children performing Irish dancing.

ALSO READ: B.C. legislature to reopen with fewer MLAs to tackle COVID-19

Peter Hynes, a dairy farmer in County Cork, southwest Ireland, assembled his family for a makeshift procession through the farmyard that included a child in a wheelbarrow, a calf, a pony, a quad bike and a young man banging a bucket as a drum.

“We just kind of grabbed whatever we could use as props,” said Hynes, who lives on the farm with his wife and three daughters aged 6 to 16. “We just wanted to fly the Irish flag around the world, because that’s what’s done on St. Patrick’s Day every year.

“We didn’t think it would get the reaction it did. But to see the messages coming from Italy and Spain and Australia, and people in quarantine — it just put a smile on their face. That’s all we wanted to do.”

In the U.K., London’s St. Patrick’s Day festival in Trafalgar Square was called off, and the government urged Britons not to visit bars and restaurants but did not formally shut them down.

In the U.S., New York’s giant parade was cancelled for the first time in its 258-year history. Other cities including Chicago and Boston also scrapped their long-established parades.

ALSO READ: Tory deputy leader apologizes for comparing Pride, St. Patrick’s Day parades

Still, landmarks around the world, including Sydney Opera House, the London Eye and The Colosseum in Rome, were lit up in green as part of Tourism Ireland’s “Global Greening” project.

“We hope our Global Greening will bring a little positivity and hope to people everywhere and remind them that, if we all do the right thing now by following advice of our medical experts, this crisis will pass,” said chief executive Niall Gibbons.

In his annual St. Patrick’s Day message, Irish President Michael D. Higgins urged people to show “solidarity and concern for the well-being of our fellow citizens” as they marked the country’s patron saint.

“St Patrick’s Day has become a profound expression of a common history that extends far beyond Irish shores,” he said. “As members of that global community, we must commit to working in a spirit of solidarity and co-operation, joining with citizens across the world in fighting this global health emergency.”

Jill Lawless reported from London.

Peter Morrison And Jill Lawless, The Associated Press

ALSO READ: Thousands come out for St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Market Square

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Highway 1 tree removal impacts traffic Tuesday evening

Work starts April 7 at 6 p.m. between Finlayson Arm Road and Westshore Parkway

‘Langford Cares’ campaign to cover hotel expenses for frontline health care workers

Initiative gives back to health care staff living on the West Shore

Escaped python found in Saanich building reunited with its owner

The little snake is at ‘home, safe and sound,’ CRD chief bylaw officer says

Police watchdog clears West Shore RCMP in altercation that led to man needing 82 staples

The man pretended he had a weapon he would use against the police

Victoria police seek public’s help finding man missing more than a week

Joel Diment 26 and has short brown hair and hazel eyes

Mental Health: Planning for a crisis

Crisis planning lays out a blueprint in case hard times hit

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

Comox spring training cancelled for Snowbirds next month

The team announced that due to ongoing travel restrictions they will not be training in the Valley

Some Cowichan schools to reopen for children of essential-services workers

Cowichan Valley will open 8 elementary schools this week

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

Physiotherapists turn to technology to reach patients during COVID-19

Just because services, jobs, and socializing have been put on hold, it… Continue reading

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

Most Read