And no doubt a few other words beginning with P.

Once, back when I was a child, St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t that special. True it was a little reprieve from Lent (which seems to be 46 days this year if I’ve counted correctly), but not much. The parade would be a few freshly frozen marching bands (all those shivering majorettes in short skirts being gently caressed by the Irish hailstones remain a memory).

shamrock hat

Maybe it was confidence. Maybe it was cash. But thanks to the lesser spotted Celtic Tiger, the parades got bigger, brighter and better. Its a week long festival and no longer a single day. Now the photographs are worth taking.

Which brings me to They have been working with the organisers of the Irish St Patrick’s Festival on a huge photo sharing project to help document this year’s festival in photos from the perspective of those attending.

That means anyone in the country with a camera as far as I’m concerned. But they mean any of the events (or the un-events) of the popper festival.

Anyone who brings their camera to this year’s events to can contribute their photos to the official St Patrick’s Festival group so that the experience can be shared with people from all over the world.

And to bribe you / make it worth your while… there are prizes.

Three lucky winners whose photos capture the spirit of the festival. Canon have offered prizes with a total value of just under €1,800.

green feather boa

And it doesn’t stop there! You see the community and the Irish Blogging community (some are still recovering the the Irish Blog Awards) at large  gets some love for the parade. (Not to be confused with the “Love Parade”)

  • 20 bloggers and photobloggers will be invited to watch the St Patrick’s Festival parade from a vetted viewing area. Each will be given an official wristband to gain access to this exclusive VIP area.
  • 4 bloggers and photobloggers will be invited to watch the parade from the Festival Grandstand.
  • 2 photobloggers will be invited to join the world media and take photos of the parade from the elevated position from the official open topped Media Bus which is positioned on the parade route.
  • 2 Pixie users will chosen (subject to a security check) and given a Golden Pass which provides exclusive access to the parade route on the day. Only 12 Golden Passes will be issued this year to the international media and this is the first time photographers outside of the national and international media have been invited on into the parade route.

Which I think you’ll join me in saying “these are bloody bloody good prizes”. Then throw in the party at the Guinness Storehouse, and it may be a weekend that you need the photographs to remember.
Even without the competition, this is a great way to share your experience of the festival and let the world see Ireland at its best.

See the Pixie blog for more details and follow @stpatricksfest and @pixie on Twitter for ongoing information and news about what is going on. (Hashtag for St Patricks’s Festival is #spf09)

And I’m late with this news as AJ, Alexia, Con, Hugh, Iced-Coffee, Jason Roe, McAWilliams, Mary-Rose and Red Mum (update 22:16 Mar 4 2009, and GrannyMar)have already covered this, not including the blog.

Well I’m going to stock up on batteries and memory cards.

take care,

Will Knott