St. Paddy’s Day in Black and White

St. Patrick’s Day, Belfast, 2017

There’s nothing like a day of solid rain to remind you that, although it’s Spring, you’re in Ireland and “You don’t come to Ireland for the weather”.

This St. Patrick’s Day we were reminded we were in Ireland. In case there was any doubt it was cold as well.

Waiting in the rain
Waiting in the rain

You have to feel for the people who organise these events, especially as many are volunteers. They give up their free time, live and breathe planning the event and on the morning it’s all to happen – it rains. But they won’t let it put them off, they make the best of it, work to make it a success and they’ll be back next year.

I photograph the parade in Belfast most years. I’ve intended for a long time to go to the Downpatrick event but haven’t made it yet. It’s a big thing there as the site of Patrick’s first church is at Saul just outside the town and his reputed grave is in the grounds of Down Cathedral.

I made it to the Dublin parade a few years ago. There were huge crowds and the weather was fabulous. I damaged my 24-70 lens and it was expensive to get fixed but it was a great day. I’ll have to go there again, maybe after I get to Downpatrick.

The Belfast parade gets bigger every year. It starts at the City Hall and makes its way to Custom House Square where there’s a concert.

Rain capes and umbrellas at St Patricks parade, Belfast
Rain capes and umbrellas

In recent years it has suffered controversy over politics, as so much in Northern Ireland does. This now seems to have mostly subsided with the organisers working to take politics out of the event. No mean feat in Northern Ireland.

I hung around the city hall to photograph the crowd waiting for the parade to start. There were three American girls there wearing shamrock patterned socks and green hats taking selfies. They were excited and it was clear the rain or cold wasn’t going to stop them enjoying themselves. Good to see.

After the city hall I rushed ahead to get some photographs on the route, then to Custom House Square for some shots of the crowd watching the concert. There are usually people in colourful outfits with green hair but this year it was mostly umbrellas and rain capes.

St. Patricks Day, Belfast
This had to be Black and White

I made my usual stock submission but when I was selecting images for this post thought I should try black and white.

You can see more images, in colour, here.