Brooklyn commemorated a bloody Irish rebellion in two St. Patrick’s Day parades on March 20.
Scores of proud Gaels — kilts and all — braved the foggy dew to celebrate Irish heritage and the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising during marches on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope and Bay Ridge, one leader said.
“It seemed a bit iffy at first with the weather, but the crowd really came out for it,” said Slope parade grand marshall Mary Hogan, the national president of the Ladies Ancient Order of the Hibernians, an Irish fraternal organization.
Organizers themed both marches for the Easter Rising — the bloody Dublin insurrection that helped kick-start the Irish War of Independence.
Before the Park Slope parade, Consul General of Ireland Barbara Jones read rebels’ 1916 proclamation declaring Ireland’s independence. Ahead of the Bay Ridge parade, organizers unveiled a “remembrance stone” at Saint Patrick’s Church for victims of the week-long uprising, including more than 250 civilians that the English killed.
Park Slope’s affair started after organizers wreathed a fire department truck from Union Street’s Squad 1 in honor of firefighters who died on 9–11. The engine led the parade, followed by scout troops, and Irish dance teams from O’Malley School in Marine Park and Buckley School in Park Slope. The pipes did hum, and drums did sound their loud tattoo — Brooklyn’s Clann Eireann band and Staten Island’s Celtic Cross band kept Slopers in time.
In Bay Ridge, Grand Marshal James McHugh — former chairman of the Saint Anselm Catholic Academy board of directors — led the borough’s largest St. Paddy’s parade down Third Avenue from Marine Avenue to 67th Street. Xaverian High Schools drummers kept time, and dancers from Buckley School stepped to the beat. The procession’s mascot — the aptly named labradoodle Seamus Butler — rode in style in a 1960s Ford Mustang.