Armagh is set to mark the real ‘Home of St Patrick’ with their 10-day festival taking place from March 8 – 18.
The county has always known how to celebrate the world-famous patron saint and the unique links, heritage and history the ecclesiastical capital has with St Patrick. This year – with the arrival of the Home of St. Patrick festival – Armagh boasts a stacked programme featuring 30 events – providing local, national and international visitors an unrivalled opportunity to explore St Patrick’s legacy.
Over the ten days, the festival will showcase the capital’s multiple iconic venues. These include the two stunning Cathedrals of St Patrick to the earthiness of Navan Centre & Fort, as well as the city’s acclaimed Palace Demesne, Robinson Library and Market Place Theatre. There are walks, talks, tours, music, comedy, dance and unlimited festival fun to entertain everyone, every day.
A highlight of the festival is The ‘Tain’ tapestries by Louis le Brocquy, one of Ireland’s foremost painters. The exhibition will captivate visitors at the Market Place Theatre with its illustrative works that depict heroic stories of a bygone age.
One can also join Armagh’s very own JB Vallely, perhaps Ireland’s greatest living artist, on Saturday, March 9 for a unique tour to hear and see the enthralling stories, landscapes and history that influenced his works, and enjoy lunch along the way.
Bringing traditional music back to his roots and fresh from a collaboration with Ed Sheeran, Brian Finnegan along with some of his musical friends, will be performing at the Church of Ireland Cathedral on Friday, March 15.
Another major festival highlight is the ‘Celebrate St. Patrick’ choral extravaganza, taking place on Saturday, March 9 led by prominent composer and acclaimed presenter John Anderson. Join in the celebration of the patron saint in the setting of St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral. The festival says the exciting blend of words, music and dance; traditional and classical; ancient and modern; sacred and secular make this an event not to be missed.
Meanwhile, kick off the big day itself early on Sunday, March 17 by enjoying ‘Sunrise with Patrick’ at Navan Centre & Fort from 5.30am. Feel captivated with song, stories – and a hearty breakfast – while immersing yourself in the past. The Primates of All Ireland, Archbishops Clarke and Martin, will also be providing a warm welcome to those commemorating St Patrick’s Day with a joint lunchtime event in the shared space of The Shambles Yard between the two magnificent Cathedrals in the city centre.
The St Patrick’s Day celebrations continue right throughout the afternoon with a day of free family fun and a concert at The Shambles Yard. The festival says the live music, entertainment and workshops will be sure to enthuse the young and not so young.
‘St Patrick’s Family Day’ at Solitude Park, Banbridge, on Monday, March 18 is another unmissable festivity. The event is guaranteed to make the day fly by with free activities, including live music, workshops and entertainment.
To view the full programme and for more information on free and ticketed events, including booking, visit here. Alternatively, phone Armagh Visitor Information on 028 3752 1800 or email [email protected].
The Home of St Patrick Festival is just the first of many great events and activities taking place in Armagh this Spring. The Apple Blossom Festival runs from May 10 – 12 whereby apple producers and related businesses will open their farms for a wide range of events.
Long Meadow Cider Company are offering Orchard Tours, Art in the Orchard – an opportunity for attendees to let their inner artist free – and a Flower Installation workshop. Also the home to the original Bramley Apple producer in the county, Crannagael House, is offering a Bramley Beginnings tour.
Plus, Dan Winters Cottage will be producing tempting apple puddings with their Blossom to Griddle event while National Trust property Ardress House will celebrate the blossom season with Apple Blossom Sundays, a chance for the family to enjoy orchard activities and tastes.
Another notable event taking place this Spring in Armagh is the F.E. McWilliam Gallery in Banbridge’s exhibition Locky Morris: once a day every day all day long. It focuses on the Northern Irish artist’s work made since 2010. The gallery say Morris is a master at finding beauty in the quotidian details of life and that he has created unexpected and often humorous art out of his everyday experiences. Admission is free and the exhibition continues until May 18.
Also with the 75th anniversary of the D Day landings, Brownlow House in Lurgan is home to an interactive WW2 exhibition. As the HQ during this period, the location hosted a large US Army contingent, with many secret operations being planned there. Admission to that exhibition is also free.
For further information on activities and offers visit here.