Thunder, rain and St Patrick: The parade marched on

Stout spirits

No sooner did the marching band strike its first note than the rain began to fall yesterday as the St Patrick's Day Parade set out from Sydney Town Hall. For the next several hours it pattered and pelted down, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

As the thunder clapped, the crowd cheered and the band played It's a Long Way to Tipperary. Under the awning outside the green-tiled Windsor Tavern they were clutching beers as well as Irish flags. The corner convenience store did a roaring trade in green plastic ponchos at $7 a pop. 'Is that the raining price?' quipped an Irishman, to be assured they cost that much rain, hail or shine.

Men in nuns' habits flung lollies from the Father Ted Tribute float honouring the 1990s TV sitcom about three Irish priests exiled to a remote island. 'Careful now' and 'Good-oh' said the placards, recalling favourite lines from the show.

At the family day in Hyde Park, Irish acts had the crowd stomping and dancing. Leichhardt mayor Darcy Byrne officiated at a citizenship ceremony for seven in a tent. All spurned the secular affirmation. 'The supremacy of the Irish Catholic culture in Australia remains,' laughed Cr Byrne.

FULL STORY Rain fails to dampen St Patrick's Day parade (SMH)