Every year the media feeds us a whole pack of incorrect information (you could call it “lies”) about the St. Patrick’s Festival and especially about the St. Patrick’s Parade. Let me start by telling you that I think the parade is in recent years HUGELY successful and the whole St. Patrick’s Festival is a lot of fun, a great attraction for Dublin and the whole team working on it do a really good job. But I have to admit as well that I dislike dishonesty and especially if it is on a ridiculous level. I might be a little (!?) more analytical than most, but have a look at this story:
The St. Patrick’s Festival organisation claims that more than 500,000 people will watch the parade on the streets of Dublin and their website says “550,000 people from all nationalities line the streets & cheer on the performers” on www.stpatricksfestival.ie/index.php/bands And I would expect that after the parade this year, the new claim will be even higher. Watch out for it!
Can that number be correct? Absolutely not! There will be a good few numbers in the next section, but bear with it:
The parade route is 2.7km, which is 2700 metres. If we assume (and it is not totally correct, but let’s be generous), that along the complete route people can stand on both sides of the street, then we have 5400 metres along which people can line the streets. With 550,000 people, this means that per metre, there have to be approx. 100 people! Crowd planning experts say that the absolute maximum of people to squeeze into one square metre is SEVEN. So with 100 people per metre, this means that 100/7=14.29 square metres are required to accommodate the 100 people. As a result at every single point of the parade the massive crowd has to reach from the edge of the parade route to the back of the crowd for more than 14 metres – on EACH side! (That’s about 40 people deep!.) So, 28 metres are needed to accommodate the people! Add a minimum of 4-6 metres of parade route. We now need 32-34 metre wide streets! O’Connell Street is theoretically wide enough for that- Theoretically! But that is only half the route. Dame Street’s width is a fraction.
Now, let’s look at the realistic numbers. 7 per square metres is worse than a London Tube, so 5 is more likely. That means that 20 metres on each side are needed!
Oh and there is another problem! I was in Dame Street for the last few years and have photographic evidence that the crowd was just about metres deep or even less…and Dame Street is less than 20 metres wide in TOTAL. So there was a QUARTER of people of what is needed to reach 550,000!
After all this, what is the more realistic number? If we are GENEROUS, then the max number of people is probably close to 300,000. Still a really good turnout, but FAR from 550,000. Pure lies about the alleged number of attendees!
One last thing: If you are further than 5 or 6 deep from the edge of the route, you will miss half the parade because you can only see the high floats, not the bands or walking performers.