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Royals, Jedi and a river of green to celebrate St Patrick’s Day

Whether you’re Irish, British, royalty or even the last Jedi in the galaxy, St Patrick’s Day is a chance to celebrate.

Be it the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, Irish culture, the Irish diaspora or just Irish beer, this year’s feast has drawn some unusual ambassadors.

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill kicked off celebrations in Dublin, watching the festivities from the presidential stand as a guest of honour.

Game Of Thrones star Liam Cunningham, AKA Ser Davos Seaworth, led the parade in the country’s capital.

Hamill announced his role in this year’s celebrations on Twitter, posting Star Wars posters with Saint Patrick’s Day themes.

“Today the whole galaxy is Irish,” one poster said, while another read, “Kiss me, I’m a Jedi”.

Another featured an image of Yoda with the slogan: “Irish I am not but very green I am.”

Hamill has apparently been a fan of Ireland for some time, having spent time in Co Kerry shooting for the latest Star Wars film The Last Jedi.

His great-grandmother Elizabeth Keating was born in Kilkenny in 1873, leaving Ireland for the US when she was a teenager.

Today’s parade featured more than 2,000 members of marching bands from across the country.

And it is not just in Ireland where Saint Patrick is being honoured.

In Hounslow, west London, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge celebrated the day with the Irish Guards, as a heavily pregnant Kate sipper sparkling water to her husband’s pint of Guinness.

The longest-serving guardsman of the battalion declared a toast to the Duke and Duchess for a second year in a row.

“I thought it went well, I was very proud to do it on behalf on the battalion,” Stephen Williams said.

HOUNSLOW, ENGLAND - MARCH 17: Prince William, Duke Of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards drinks a pint of Guinness next to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge as they attend the annual Irish Guards St Patrick's Day Parade at Cavalry Barracks on March 17, 2018 in Hounslow, England.  (Photo by Andrew Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
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Prince William drinks a pint of Guinness while the Duchess enjoys fizzy water

“They said they recognised me from last year, which is a good thing. I’ve been here for 10 years so the most senior person does it every year.

“It’s the first time we’ve had snow on the parade, usually it’s a warm day – what was it, -3C outside? They said they felt the cold and felt sorry for us.”

Celebrations around the world have evolved from pub crawls and music festivals to the transformation of an entire river into Irish green.

Every year, 40 pounds of green dye is poured into the Chicago River to celebrate St Patrick.

The same green can be seen in monuments such as the Colosseum in Rome and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.

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