Mayor greets Irish PM before St. Pat's Day Parade

March 17, 2012 10:30:59 AM PDT
On this St. Patrick's Day, the Chicago area is celebrating everything green, and the party got started early Saturday.

Many residents and visitors were planning to attend the St. Patrick's Day Parade, which was set to begin at noon, but a party was already going on inside Chicago's city hall Saturday morning as Mayor Rahm Emanuel greeted Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

The prime minister is visiting Chicago this weekend and is the guest of honor at Saturday's parade.

On Friday, the mayor announced he will make a policy trip to Ireland and bike around the country.

Prime Minister Kenny said he hoped to improve business and tourism to Ireland during his trip to Chicago.

Kenny added that he was honored to be a guest at the parade and to be in Chicago, a city with a large Irish population.

"On St. Patrick's Day, to lead the parade, I'm really looking forward to that," he said on Friday. "And it's a beautiful spring morning in Chicago by Lake Michigan, wonderful city with the great tradition."

Before the parade, Kenny was scheduled to attend Mass at Old St. Pat's church at 9 a.m. Saturday. Friday night, he was the guest of honor at the Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago's annual St. Patrick's Day dinner.

Thousands of people were expected to attend Saturday's parade, which steped off at Columbus and Balbo heading north on Columbus.

Before the parade, the dyeing of the Chicago River took place at 10 a.m.

If you miss the parade, you can watch the broadcast of it on ABC7 Saturday night at 11:30 p.m. Video of ABC7's broadcast will also be available on-demand Sunday afternoon here on