I’m told that New York doesn’t make as big a deal of St Patrick’s Day as Boston or Chicago, which dyes its river green.

How, then, do you explain this:

How's he planning to eat that sandwich?

How's he planning to eat that sandwich?

The main event is a parade, featuring lots of little girls doing dodgy Irish dancing, bigger girls twirling batons in front of marching bands, and some very large men. Many of the men are firemen or policemen, with each squad marching in order of seniority, meaning that the oldest and largest-bellied are at the front, and the flirtiest and youngest are at the back. Moustaches are apparently mandatory for all.

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But as a Britisher who grew up in London in the 70s and 80s, the bit that left me openmouthed was the presence of a group marching under the banner, ‘Irish Republican Army’. ‘Ooh, it’s the IRA,’ said the couple standing next to me, and cheered.

It took all my strength, I tell you…

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