During the Bram Stoker festival in Dublin this year I attended the Halloween parade organised by Macnas.
The name of this year’s parade was Memory Song which took on the theme of magic and enchantment. It was my first time attending a parade organised by Macnas. It is a production company based in Galway. They are renowned for their giant designs and visual pieces that create a wonderful story. Macnas have been involved in many parades and events over the last 30 years, most recently the St Patricks Day Parade in London and SXSW in Texas.
Waiting for the Macnas Parade in Dublin
I arrived into Dublin town around 5.15pm excited to see my first Macnas parade. I could see a significant crowd forming already on Henry Street so I decided to view the parade from Capel St. Even though there was a huge crowd on Henry Street, Capel St was essentially empty and did not start getting busy until 6 pm. While I waited I went to the nearest pub on Capel St called Slattery’s. I had never been in this pub before but it had many 1916 memorabilia on the walls and was full of other people who were excited to see the parade. As I waited inside from the cold I could see a crowd started to form outside. I eventually decided to brave the cold and venture outside to get a good viewing point. I highly recommend Capel St for viewing the parade as there was an atmosphere but it was quiet enough that you could get a good viewing space on the street. There are also some really nice Asian restaurants along this street to grab some food afterward.
The Macnas Parade was magical
The energy started to build up as we could hear the chants and the sounds of music in the distance as the parade came closer. Eventually, the parade turned the corner down Capel St where we could see birds flying in front of boats and a man sailing on a ship. There was an array of music, smoke, and fire to keep the audience entranced. The costumes and the entertainers were fantastic and often interacted with the audience. My favourite was a giant dog in a boat. Even though he wasn’t real, the way the piece was designed, the dog had a character and seemed to be as entertained by the parade as the audience was.
A great event in Dublin
The whole parade took about 40 minutes to watch. It was a fantastic parade as was very well organised. If you ever hear of a Macnas event taking place make sure you take the opportunity to attend. It as it was such a good event. If you want to find out what Macnas are up to you can visit their website