Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham's St Patrick's Day celebrations attract thousands

St Patrick's Day parade
Image caption Irish dancing was the theme of this year's event

About 85,000 people have been taking part in Birmingham's St Patrick's Day celebrations, organisers say.

Peter Connolly, of the festival's organising committee, said the annual event was attracting "growing" numbers and was among the largest in the world.

The event, in its 21st year, included two new stages for live music, he said.

The festival around Digbeth's "Irish Quarter" has attracted new sponsors after losing about £20,000 in 2015 as part of city council funding cuts.

Image caption Dan Mulhall, Ireland's ambassador in London said the event was "impressive"

Birmingham-based road surfacing company Kiely Bros has become the main sponsor, while the organisers say they have been working with pubs and venues in Digbeth as well as running their own bars to become more "self-sufficient."

Image caption Many children watched the parade or took part

Mr Connolly said: "We are hopefully going to keep it going for years and for generations to come," he said.

"It's a huge parade - we don't want to lose it - it's the only one in Birmingham that's on the road, that gets the roads closed - that's what costs the money."

Image caption As well as music in the parade, bands played on stages and in pubs in Digbeth

Among the guests was Dan Mulhall, the Ambassador of Ireland to Great Britain, who is to take up the role in America, after four years in the post.

Mr Mulhall, who said he attends different St Patrick's Day events for most of March, was impressed by the turnout, bands and atmosphere.

"It's as good as anything I have seen anywhere in the world and that includes in Ireland," he said.

Image caption The event was filled with live music and dancing

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