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Parade Notes Irish Uprising of 1798

March 18, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Thousands of kilt-wearing bagpipers, uniformed police officers and young fife-and-drum corps members marched up Fifth Avenue Tuesday in a St. Patrick’s day parade that this year commemorated the failed Irish uprising of 1798.

The uprising took place 37 years after the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City, which has been celebrating its Irish heritage ever since.

The traditionally joyous jaunt past St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Central Park took on more meaning this year as tenuous talks go on in London, Dublin and Belfast to bring peace to Northern Ireland.

Marchers also included Martin McGuinness, chief negotiator for Sinn Fein, the political arm of the Irish Republican Army. Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams was in Washington.

But politics meant little to the massive crowds lining the parade route. Patrick McGorman, 11, of Walden, N.Y., was overwhelmed.

``It’s awesome,″ the boy said. ``I like the bagpipes. They’re cool.″

Among the spectators, who lined four-deep under sunny skies, was Diane Cioti of Tenafly, N.J., and her sister Loredana.

``Everybody’s so friendly,″ she said. ``It’s kind of like a big family.″

New York was not the only city celebrating.

In Savannah, Ga., tens of thousands of people watched the 174th annual parade _ which ranks second only to New York _ in overcast skies and chilly temperatures. The parade featured 10,000 marchers.

``It’s kind of like a Mardi Gras but it’s better. The people are a little bit more sane ... and they fix grits,″ Jane Hodges said.

In Chicago, taverns brought on extra bartenders and others offered live Irish music all day and night. The Chicago River, dyed green on Saturday, has returned to its dull gray color, and Mayor Richard M. Daley wished hundreds of senior citizens a happy St. Patrick’s Day at a luncheon where the tables were filled with corned beef and cabbage.

At the New Orleans Irish Channel, hundreds of revelers took the day off to jam bars and join in a street party. Even the French Quarter was celebrating.

Back in New York, there was plenty of applause for the grand marshal, former Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds, who was lauded for efforts to get all sides in the Irish troubles to come to the negotiating table.

At a breakfast gathering of the parade committee hosted by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Reynolds said, ``This year of all years, wouldn’t it be nice, with 200 years of celebration of the Rebellion of 1798 ... that we realize our hope that we achieve this: the vision that was set out for us, and the dream that they had dreamt then. Yes. Many, many dreamers were killed along the way, but the dream still endures.″

The 1798 Rebellion, borne out of hope from the American and French revolutions, lasted 100 days. An estimated 30,000 people died.

For the eighth straight year, the parade’s organizers, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, denied an application from the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization to march under a banner that identifies them as a gay contingent. Several people protested the snub and were carried off by police.

Police issued 316 summonses for minor offenses including public drinking, said Officer Cheryl Cox, a Police Department spokeswoman. There were no reported acts of violence or weapons, she said.

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