Kate presents shamrocks as millions celebrate St Patrick's Day

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Kate presents shamrocks as millions celebrate St Patrick's Day

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An estimated half a million people filled the streets of Dublin to celebrate St Patrick’s Day and watch the annual parade.

The event helped to lift the gloom surrounding Ireland’s economy. It also provided a handy boost to the start of the tourist season.

In England, St Patrick’s Day was marked at a military parade in Aldershot, attended by the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.

Wearing an emerald green coat, Prince William’s wife presented sprigs of shamrock to the 1st Battalion Irish Guards – and to their mascot Conmael, an Irish wolfhound.

Across the globe, the day provided a suitable excuse for a party.

It was the second year St Patrick’s Day celebrations had been held in the Hungarian capital Budapest, and numbers were said to have doubled.

As in generations past, the state of Ireland’s economy has forced thousands to emigrate.

Barack Obama’s great-great-great grandfather did so in 1850. The US President joined an ancestral cousin to raise a glass at an Irish pub near Washington.