A sunny St. Patrick's day parade in Munich proved to be a great experience, with 20,000 people turning out for the festival.


The main area of Odeonsplatz and Ludwig Strasse was closed off to tourism for this annual parade that is the largest in mainland Europe and going for 20 plus years.


The Mayor of Munich was on hand to give a speech, before there was singing with special guest Johnny Logan of the Eurovision, who is a regular at the festival.


It was well organised by the Munich Irish network organisation with Frank McGlynn and Paul Daly, who started the parade in 1997 when a few hundred were expected but 3000 turned up. It is now a regular fixture on the Sunday before St. Patrick's Day each year.


There were lots of floats, dancing groups, musicians and re-enactment groups in the parade

with even other nations joining in from Scotland and Slovenia, and over 1,000 participating in total.


The day before on the Saturday, they had a band stage also near the same area with Celtic Invasion from Cork providing the entertainment.


Mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter, welcomed the sunny day, the various consuls, ambassador and dignatories there. He spoke of the great links between Ireland and Bavaria, who both enjoy a good party, a drink and music.


He said he is a regular visitor to Ireland and plans to be in Tramore this August. He was there for two weeks in 2023 and loves Irish music. He later sang Whiskey in the Jar as he played his guitar.


For him and the Irish, St. Patrick's Day is really important and he praised Paul Daly, owner of the Killian’s and Kennedy’s bars, and the Munich Irish Network for organising a great event and wonderful parade. He noted also that the Munich and Irish workforces are both skilled

and hard working but a good day out is important too.


Nicholas O’Brien, Irish Ambassador to Germany, also spoke on this national day. This was his second visit to Munich.


Minister of State Martin Hayden spoke warmly and he stayed on afterwards with his team to see Johnny Logan perform. He has a brother-in-law from Portlaw named Martin Power. He promised that there would be a new Irish consulate in Munich this summer for the 4000 plus regular Irish residents that increases with students in summer.


The Minister thanked the Mayor for his great support and re-affirmed that it was the largest one in continental Europe and praised the organisers for their vision and effort. As the event ran so well, Chairman of the Munich Irish network Derek McDonnell came in for special mention for his work, which took a lot of planning.


The parade showed the shared values of the Bavarians and the Irish, with unity and prosperity in how they can put on such a good event. The Minister also mentioned in a troubled time of today, it is important that people can celebrate that we are all part of a global peaceful community.


This is also the year of the Zeitgeist Arts Partnership with German-Irish cultural events. The ambition is to widen this friendship.


Another fine speaker was the American consul (of Irish descent) to Munich, introduced by the great MC Frank McGlynn founder of the parade, resplendent in his green waistcoat.


Timothy Liston spoke in excellent German. A native of New Jersey, his family were original emigrants from Ireland. He recalled the Irish-American success story and as a Democrat, he gave an instance of the JF Kennedy speech to the Dail in 1963 on how proud Americans are to be Irish and how they helped build the great cities of the USA like Chicago, New York, Boston and San Francisco.


These in turn were great world cities. He spoke of Irish-American presidents like Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and now Joe Biden. The American consul was able to explain to Bavarians and Germans the great kinship between Ireland and America.


I met a German woman at the event who remarked, how proud I as an Irishman could be that so many nations like our country for its beauty, culture and people. It was also great to see such local Bavarian participation in the parade with young Irish Germans learning Irish dancing, playing music and dressing up, as they do well for Oktoberfest and their carnivals.


There was a very warm atmosphere and locals cheered the many participants. Beer was flowing early so when Irish bands took to the stage, there was a great buzz and sing along ambience that is hard to replicate.


The Grand Marshall was Siobhan Freidank from Dublin, a resident now in her fourth decade in the city. Her family assist in the parade as do others. Orla Geary was the lovely Parade Princess. The Ballinspittle Youth Céilí Band from Cork also played.


Johnny Logan sang ‘What’s Another Year’ as an opener. ‘Hold Me Now’ would later follow plus ‘Why Me’. He knocked out some other hits too and was very obliging afterwards to be pictured with fans. He said he was in his 70th year and is still enthusiastic and has a great voice and crowd appeal with his stage moves.


The Emerald Dancers from Munich would follow and Larun later. Kennedy's hosted the Celtic invasion on Saturday night after the rugby match on TV there in Sendlinger Tor Platz in the city centre.


It was a great weekend and combined with the rugby win, it is a great European city break with an Irish flavour and worth supporting. Why not give it a try sometime? There are good connections with Aer Lingus, Lufthansa and Ryanair from Dublin and also from Cork.