Today’s Around Atlanta episode of Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio showcases an interesting Atlanta tradition that spans more than a century over the course of Atlanta history. Not only has the Atlanta St. Patrick’s Day Parade been taking place annually for 136 years, but the Irish organizations and citizens who make it possible have been an integral part of Atlanta since the city’s early days and helped shape Atlanta into the city it is today. Shane Stephens, Consul General of Ireland for the Southeast, joins co-hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick to discuss this year’s Atlanta St. Patrick’s Day Parade and its traditions.
As the Consul General of Ireland for the Southeast, Stephens is headquartered in Atlanta and represents the Irish government and businesses, builds connections between the Southeast United States and Ireland, and promotes tourism to Ireland to Atlanta and the Southeast. He also plays a significant role in celebrating Irish heritage in Atlanta through the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Unknown to many Atlanta citizens, Irish heritage and culture is an essential piece of Atlanta history. Around nince percent of the population of the Southeast is Irish, Stephens says. Also unknown to many, an Irish priest named Father Thomas O’Reilly saved many of Atlanta’s churches from the flames during the Civil War.
Since St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday this year, Atlantans all over the city can experience the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on the holiday itself this year. This is the 136th parade, kicking off at noon from 15th Street and Peachtree Street and continuing to 5th Street and Peachtree Street. The parade includes traditional Irish organizations, but organizations from all over Atlanta will be represented. Among the exciting displays, there will be Irish dancers, bagpipers, llamas, lots of green and shamrocks and the largest walking Irish flag in the world.
Stephens recommends getting to the parade via Marta and settling anywhere along the parade route for a great watching spot ahead of time. The parade will take place rain or shine and include a 5K at 10:00 a.m. in front of Colony Square as a healthy, family-friendly activity that everyone will love. Winners of the 5K will get to participate in the parade.
Atlanta’s St. Patrick’s Day is one of the oldest traditional parades in the United States. Irish heritage and citizens have been a huge part of Atlanta history, from the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement to the city’s beginning days and more. Learn more about St. Patrick himself, Irish history in Atlanta, participating Irish organizations, charity initiatives and more by listening to today’s podcast or by visiting www.AtlantaStPats.com.
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