Virus dampens St. Patrick’s Day revels around the world

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A man dressed as St Patrick walks past a closed Temple bar in Dublin city centre, Monday, March, 16, 2020. All pubs in the Republic of Ireland closed late Sunday to try and tackle the spread of Covid-19. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems.(AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

DUBLIN – St. Patrick's Day revelers across the world tried to salvage the holiday with makeshift celebrations after parades and parties were scrapped and residents were urged to hunker down at home to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

It was the first St. Patrick's Day in more than 250 years without a large parade in New York City, but a small group of organizers marched the rain-soaked streets early Tuesday anyway — observing "social distancing," they said — to keep the tradition alive.

Led by police cars with flashing lights, people in uniforms and sashes marched up Fifth Avenue before dawn with a banner and flags as bagpipe music played. The brief march wasn't advertised, and the sidewalks were largely empty.

In Savannah, Georgia, which canceled its hugely popular parade for the first time in 99 years, there were no bagpipers, no cheering crowds — just two men in green blazers carrying a large Irish flag as they trudged along largely abandoned sidewalks.

“It's really strange,” said Bill Bradley, carrying the flag on its long wooden pole. “It's almost like a dream, like living in some kind of nightmare.” Bradley and his friend John Lowenthal, members of one of Savannah's Irish social societies, opted to walk the parade route on their own.

There were virtually no signs of revelry in a Chicago, which scrapped the nearly 60-year-old tradition of dyeing the Chicago River green in order to keep crowds away.

One or more diehards tried to turn at least part of the river green anyway. A portion of the river was turned green by someone, but it's not clear what substance was used, WTTW-TV reported.

After having to postpone shows in Boston, American Celtic punk band The Dropkick Murphys hoped to spread Irish cheer to those holed up in their homes with a concert that will be livestreamed Tuesday night on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.