Across the globe, St. Patrick’s Day 2016 was a pageant of revelry, faith and activism. In Dublin, crowds filled the streets for a glimpse of large, colorful floats. In Northern Ireland, pilgrims walked to St. Patrick’s resting place. In New York, former protesters became marchers with an end to a ban on openly gay parade participants.
More than 3,500 people were killed in Northern Ireland during 30 years of sectarian conflict that pitted Catholic nationalists seeking union with Ireland against British security forces and mainly Protestant loyalists determined to stay in the United Kingdom. Now, 15 years after a peace agreement to end what locals call “The Troubles,” deep-rooted enmity between the communities still sometimes lead to outbreaks of violence. Richard Haass, who formerly served as envoy to Northern Ireland for the United States, is in the region this week to chair all-party talks about how to address contentious issues that can still cause unrest, such as the use of symbols, flags and parades. Photos taken by Cathal McNaughton. — Reuters
Some 8,000 people will carry the Olympic flame over the 70-day Torch Relay until July 27, when the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony will be ignited in London to kick off the Olympic games.
Here’s a look at the past 70 days as the Olympic flame has been making its way throughout the United Kingdom.