It has always seemed strange that the St. Patrick's Day parade in Brisbane, Qld, is held on the Saturday before the actual day, but then again, more of us are able to attend.
These are a few photos I took a few years back at a pre St. Patrick's Day fair... you can see the album here..
Very popular for selfies...
Best soda bread..
To keep the licensing commission happy, those drinking were in an enclosed area... needless to say, it was packed.
This year has been no exception...the parade started and ended near the entrance to the Botanic Gardens. While all the expected groups are involved in the parade, many may not know about one group, who look forward to this great celebration each year, the descendants of those who came out from Ireland on the Erin-Go-Bragh over 150 years ago. You can read about the original passenger list and journey here...
Bev Kerlin's Erin Go Bragh
and read about last Saturday's celebrations in a great article by the
Brisbane Times... here is an extract..
St Patrick's Day Parade: Descendants of Irish immigrants celebrate contribution to Brisbane colony
They were the immigrants who helped to kick-start Brisbane's economy, fleeing from persecution in their homeland and building local farms to grow the newly established colony more than 150 years ago.
On Saturday, descendants of some of the 373 Irish settlers who arrived on the Erin-Go-Bragh in 1862 commemorated their ancestors' hard work during the annual St Patrick's Day Parade.
An estimated crowd of more than 1000 took to the city, with marching bands, classic cars, dance groups and endless singing and dancing.
Among the crowds was the band of descendants of those settlers who braved the dangerous voyage from Cobh in Ireland to Brisbane's shores.
Chris Kelly, a fifth-generation Australian descendant of immigrants on the Erin-Go-Bragh, said the ship was one of the first Irish settler vessels to arrive in Brisbane.
Mr Kelly's great-great-great-grandfather Charles, wife Mary, their children as well as one grandchild were on the ship.
The Erin-Go-Bragh made the journey to Queensland after the Vatican appointed a new Bishop of Brisbane, who saw surrounding farmland wasn't being used.
At the same time, in the village of Geashill in central Ireland, local farmers had felt the force of a different change in power.
The Lord in charge of the area had died and he had been lenient on the local hard-working farmers, allowing them extra time to pay their rent.
However, his successor wasn't as sympathetic and kicked-off all of the poor farmers and gave their land to wealthier farmers, so the new ruler of the area could pay death duties to the government.
The new Bishop of Brisbane knew of the Irish farmers' plight, and arranged for the Erin-Go-Bragh to bring 430 passengers, most of them farmers, out to Queensland to work on the under-utilised land.
The journey across to the other side of the world was treacherous, with 53 passengers not surviving.
The ship encountered severe weather, possible sabotage which saw a leak develop and require constant pumping, and took twice as long as expected to reach Queensland – more than six months.
"These mainly impoverished Catholic immigrants also faced significant discrimination and opposition upon their arrival," Mr Kelly said.
"They settled all around south-east Queensland and among their numerous descendants are former World Number One tennis player Pat Rafter, former Queensland Attorney-General and noted historian Denver Beanland and John Burke who lends his name to Captain John Burke Park under Brisbane's iconic Story Bridge.
Full story here..
Great photos here..
So however you celebrate today, may it be with happiness and pride in your Irish ancestry... and even if you only claim it once a year, we won't tell anybody!
Lá Shona Fhéile Pádraig!
Irish images courtesy of Pixabay.