People dress up and enjoy the party like atmosphere during the St Patrick’s day parade in Dublin, Ireland, Monday March, 17, 2014. The world’s largest parade celebrating Irish heritage set off on a cold and gray morning, the culmination of a weekend of St. Patrick’s Day revelry. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
NEW YORK (AP) — A weekend of St. Patrick’s Day revelry and tensions over the exclusion of gays in some of the celebrations culminated Monday in New York, where the world’s largest parade celebrating Irish heritage stepped off without the city’s new mayor and Guinness beer amid a dispute over whether participants can carry pro-gay signs.
The parade of kilted Irish-Americans and bagpipers set off on a cold, gray morning. Hundreds of thousands of spectators lined Fifth Avenue, but the shivering, bundled up crowd was only about half as thick as in previous years.
Revelers also gathered elsewhere for green-themed celebrations, including some 400,000 locals and tourists in Dublin, where gay rights groups took part in the festivities.
De Blasio held New York’s traditional St. Patrick’s Day breakfast at Gracie Mansion with the Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny, but boycotted the parade because organizers said marchers were not allowed to carry gay-friendly signs or identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Weeks ago de Blasio said he would skip the parade over the issue, but Guinness abruptly dropped its support a day before the event. The Dublin-based company pulled Login to read more