The parade and bad mathsMar 17th, 2008 | By Ian Poulton | Category: Ireland
Saint Patrick’s Day brings with it the annual misinformation from the organisers of the parade in Dublin. One news source said that up to 500,000 people would attend.
Does anyone ever do simple arithmetic?
Let’s pretend that we are all very petite and need no more than 60 centimetres of space in which to stand, and let’s pretend that we are so excited at watching the parade that we are prepared to stand in uniform lines ten people deep – a little difficult in some Dublin streets.
500,000 people would need lines totalling 300,000 metres in length: 500,000 x 0.6 metres.
So, we allow 20 lines of people along the route and divide the 300,000 metres by 20: 300,000/20 = 15000.
To have 500,000 people in lines ten deep on both sides of the road would require 15000 metres of road, 15 kilometres.
15 kilometres is somewhat further than the distance from Parnell Square to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.
Even if one allowed lines twenty people deep, never mind that most people would see nothing, the route would still require 7.5 kilometres.
It is physically impossible for there to be the numbers claimed by the organisers, yet every year RTE and the newspapers report these as fact.
Why doesn’t anyone ever challenge the numbers?