Irish invasion: Brooklyn Saint Patrick’s Day Parade marches through Slope

Blue goes green: Cops played classic Irish tunes at the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Park Slope on Sunday.
Photo by Jason Speakman

Call it good, green fun!

Kings County residents flocked to Park Slope on Sunday, where marchers in Brooklyn’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade filled the nabe with sights and sounds of the Emerald Isle — including one of the strangest instruments one young celebrant ever saw, according to her mother.

“There were actual bag pipes,” said Park Sloper Nell Madigan, who brought daughter Rylie along for the fun. “It was the first time Rylie had seen them.”

The day’s festivities — which the Brooklyn Irish American Parade Committee organizes each year — began with a pre-parade mass at Prospect Park West’s Holy Name of Jesus church, before the bands and other marching brigades set off from their starting point near 15th Street a little after noon.

The stream of kilt-wearing men and women processed down Seventh Avenue before looping around on Garfield Place and heading back up Prospect Park West towards 15th Street for the better part of an hour, all following behind this year’s Grand Marshal: the chief of Green-Wood Cemetery, Richard Moylan.

The burial-ground bigwig said he would have preferred to walk, but an unfortunate slip during a visit to New Orleans left him with a bum leg, forcing him to wave at onlookers from the back seat of a car. The injury, however, didn’t dampen the parade leader’s Celtic cheer, Moylan said.

“It was kind of a treat,” he said.

The organizing committee chose Moylan as the day’s Irishman-in-chief in recognition of his cemetery’s famous Hibernian patrons, he said, such as philanthropist Charles Higgins — a Brooklynite who made his fortune in fountain-pen ink and donated land he purchased on Battle Hill, near his family plot within the graveyard, to install a statue of the Roman goddess of battle Minerva on the Revolutionary War–site — and Civil War commander Thomas Francis Meagher, whose cenotaph was installed next to his wife’s Green-Wood gravesite in 2008 as a memorial to the man who also governed the Montana Territory before he died, after which, his body was never found.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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