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

Claiming she has COVID-19, stranger coughs in Cloverdale woman’s face

Clayton Heights woman will now self-isolate for the next two weeks

Police watchdog finds cops blameless for deaths in 2019 Surrey hostage-taking

Woman was killed as ERT officers fired on man holding a knife to her throat and ‘what appeared to be’ a gun in his hand

No, Delta police are not pulling over cars to check for social distancing

DPD dispelling rumour cops pulling over vehicles with two or more people, checking IDs, issuing fines

White Rock/South Surrey experts launch website of mental-health resources

Together White Rock/South Surrey aims to help ease the search for supports

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

VIDEO: Dog missing in Lower Mainland since winter sees his family again for the first time

Aldergrove helped find Buster, says dad, who has now witnessed ‘the power of social media’

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Most Read