St. Patrick’s Festival Returns for 5 Great Days and Nights

A national civic celebration, St. Patrick’s Festival returns on March 13 – 17 for five great days and nights with a diverse programme of events.

This year’s theme is SEODA – Treasures from Ireland. The festival will be celebrating Ireland’s rich heritage. It will feature a host of fun-filled family experiences, large-scale outdoor events, newly commissioned collaborative performances, a myriad of musical treats, the magnificent National St. Patrick’s Festival Parade, an expanded four-day Festival Village and Food Market at Merrion Square and more.

More than half a million revellers will take to the streets of Dublin for one of the biggest, most vibrant parade spectacles in the world on Tuesday, March 17. The National St. Patrick’s Festival Parade is a whirlwind of glittering colours, entrancing choreography and breath-taking feats of design and engineering. Six of Ireland’s world-class street theatre companies and over 3000 performers, actors, dancers, musicians, makers and creators will join with 11 bombastic marching bands from Ireland, Scotland, France and the USA to create a heady Irish carnival atmosphere like no other.

This year sees the Festival Village at Merrion Square expand to four days of fantastic events, fun adventures and glorious food from Saturday, March 14 to Tuesday, March 17. A jam-packed programme will be on offer including a Gaeltacht area, Céilí Mór, dynamic science shows, breath-taking circus performances, children’s readings, live music, street theatre, world food stalls and much more.

Dublin UNESCO City of Literature’s Citywide read, Boot by Shane Hegarty, will come to life as the author tells the story of a robot who wakes up in a rubbish dump with only two-and-a half memories. Children can get their game face on at Actual Reality Arcade, a life-sized interactive game zone for all ages, and stop by Friends of Crusoe with their giant wooden automata. They can also join the Whistleberries for mesmerising melodies on whistles, uilleann pipes, guitars, keyboards and fiddles.

Visitors can also laugh their socks off at the hilarious trio Le P’Opera, marvel at the absurd and extraordinary Tumble Circus or catch Irish legends Kíla in the flesh for two special shows. In regards the latter, the first is a screening and score performance with award winning animation studio Cartoon Saloon. This will then be followed by a more traditional live show.

This year there’s also ABAIR, a strand of traditional singing and storytelling events exploring the oral folk traditions of Ireland, bringing old-hands and newcomers together to share and create. Taking place from March 13 – 16 at various locations across the city, it is curated by traditional singer Macdara Yeates.

ABAIR will spotlight artists and performers including Traveller singer Thomas McCarthy, storytellers Liz Weir, Nuala Hayes, Eddie Lenihan and Jack Lynch, traditional harmonists Landless, poets Annemarie Ní Churreáin and Dermot Bolger, sean-nós singer Doireann Glackin, singer-songwriter Steo Wall, singer and bouzouki player Daoirí Farrell, flautist, tin whistle player and singer Cathal Mc Connell and traditional singers Rosie Stewart, Dáibhidh Stiúbhaird and Len Graham. Every event in the strand is open to all ages, with some specific family ones in the schedule.

Lisa Hannigan

The festival will also host various talks and discussions. ‘A Treasury of Irish Voices’ takes place at the Chapel Royal in Dublin Castle and will focus on broadcaster and historian Brendan Balfe in conversation with Dave Fanning, introducing historic recordings of Irish writers, poets, performers and public figures. ‘Finest Minds’, meanwhile, sees renowned RTÉ producer and broadcaster Marian Richardson delve into the thoughts, life and career of award-winning comedian, actress and presenter Deirdre O’Kane at the Pepper Canister Church, with a special guest performance from Loah.

St. Patrick’s Festival 2020’s music programme includes two world premieres. Acclaimed contemporary folk group This is How We Fly will collaborate on a new show with Irish singer Iarla Ó Lionáird at Liberty Hall Theatre, while Matthew Nolan and Adrian Crowley re-imagine James Joyce’s Pomes Penyeach with Lisa Hannigan and guests at the National Concert Hall.

Award-winning broadcaster, presenter and DJ Annie Mac will curate a sold-out show at the iconic Guinness Storehouse, featuring the fresh Irish sounds of Kojaque, Soulé and Denise Chaila. One of Ireland’s greatest contemporary musicians, Colm Mac Con Iomaire meanwhile will perform with his full band and guests ConTempo Quartet at Vicar Street.

Annie Mac

Dublin duo Mount Alaska are set to bring their euphoric sounds to the Pepper Canister Church, with guests Slow Moving Clouds. Meanwhile Dublin Gospel Choir are to be joined by special guests Kitt Philippa and U.M.A.N. at the same venue for two uplifting shows. Over at Christchurch Cathedral, Welsh and Irish favourites, Gruff Rhys and Richard Egan will come together for a sold-out gig.

New to the St. Patrick’s Festival in 2020 is Festival After Dark, a new late-night series running throughout the five nights of the event. It includes live performances and club nights across the city in some of the capital’s best venues Lost Lane, Bow Lane, The Sugar Club and Yamamori Tengu.

Theatre and events company THISISPOPBABY will team up with the St. Patrick’s Festival to present festival-within-a-festival Where We Live 2020 at the Project Arts Centre from March 11 – 21.  The event will interrogate and celebrate what it means and how it feels to live in Dublin and Ireland right now.

St. Patrick’s Festival 2020 is inviting the world to discover a vibrant, dynamic, contemporary Ireland, where heritage and tradition are proudly embraced. Through its vast, eclectic line-up, there’s a great bounty of treasures on offer.

Further event details, tickets, news, information and accessibility information can be found at www.stpatricksfestival.ie. Meanwhile, to learn more about Saint Patrick himself and the activities Travel Ireland’s own Pat Liddy will be involved in during the festival, see here.

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