First ever “relaxed space” to be included in Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day parade


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First-Ever “Relaxed Space” to be Included in Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day Parade

The St Patrick’s Festival has recently revealed the addition of a Relaxed Parade Space, marking the first time this feature will be available.

For the first time ever, the upcoming St Patrick’s Day parade will include a designated Relaxed Parade Space to cater to the requirements of individuals and families who are neurodivergent.

The Parade is estimated to attract around 500,000 participants, and the organizers aim for everyone to have a good time. However, certain elements of the parade, such as loud noises, large crowds, and unpredictability, may be too much for individuals within the neurodiversity community.

The Bank of Ireland College Green will house the Relaxed Parade Space, offering a secure area where viewers can escape the bustling streets and appreciate the parade.

The designated space will provide additional room for individuals who require it, along with increased seating, areas designed for sensory needs, and pre-parade entertainment. Additionally, the Relaxed Space will have varying volume levels available for those who prefer to experience the parade at low, medium, or full volume.

Inclusive initiatives for the parade

Dublin’s Lord Mayor, Daithi de Roiste, expressed his enthusiasm for the recently introduced Relaxed Parade Space for St. Patrick’s Day.

He acknowledged that he has personally enjoyed attending the St. Patrick’s Day Parade for several years, but he is also aware that not all families, particularly those with neurodivergent children, have the same access to this experience.

It’s vital that we embrace inclusivity and accessibility in a real sense – it’s something that I’m personally very passionate about, and that I have endeavoured to support at every opportunity. I commend the team at St. Patrick’s Festival and their partners for their vision in establishing the Relaxed Parade Space, and am delighted to support an initiative that will allow many families to attend the Parade for the first time.

Dublin’s Lord Mayor, Daithi de Roiste

To ensure that everyone can participate without difficulty, the festival has partnered with AsIAm, a national autism charity in Ireland, and Neurodiversity Ireland.

Before the event, they will offer ample information to assist individuals in preparing. Additionally, a detailed guide will be available to familiarize families with the parade’s format and expectations.

According to Richard Tierney, CEO of St Patrick’s Festival, the national parade in celebration of St Patrick’s Day is an extraordinary event that showcases our arts, culture, and heritage. However, it has been acknowledged that certain aspects of the parade may pose challenges for individuals in the neurodiversity community.

I’m thrilled that this year’s Parade will have a Relaxed Space for the first time. The Festival is dedicated to creating a welcoming space and I’d like to thank the Lord Mayor and Dublin City Council for their constant support in helping us make this happen, to Bank of Ireland for their generous help on the ground, and AsIAm and Neurodiversity Ireland for guiding us on this pioneering journey,” Tierney expressed.

Simon Clarke, the head of Events at Dublin City Council, also expressed that the organization is dedicated to implementing more socially inclusive initiatives at its major events.

This decision comes after the positive response to the relaxed viewing experiences at the Dublin City Council Bram Stoker and Dublin Winter Lights events, which aimed to make these events accessible to all Dubliners and visitors. The goal is to allow everyone to partake in the vibrancy and culture of the city.

According to Adam Harris, the CEO of AsIAm, they were pleased to propose the concept of making the St. Patrick’s Day parade more inclusive for their community to the Lord Mayor. The outcome of this collaboration with the St. Patrick’s Festival was the creation of a distinctive and accessible area for the community.

This initiative is not only expected to enhance accessibility on the day but also to educate others and set a precedent for similar events and festivals in Ireland and globally.

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