St Patrick’s Festival to Tell Ireland’s Story

Taking place in Dublin from March 14 – 18, St. Patrick’s Festival is set to celebrate Ireland’s rich culture and heritage with a host of terrific events.

With over 3000 participants – including dancers, poets, musicians – the festival will feature fun filled family experiences, breath-taking large-scale events, diverse newly commissioned performances, a myriad of musical treats and of course the magnificent National St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Ireland has a tradition of spinning yarns reaching back thousands of years. Whether its spellbinding Irish myths, defining moments in our history or our contemporary stories – the country’s tales are vibrant and dynamic. Using spoken word, music, visual art, literature, film, theatre, street performance and circus, this year’s St. Patrick’s Festival will celebrate our world-renowned connection with storytelling and bring to life ancient tales and modern narratives.

Street theatre and pageant companies from across Ireland and the world will join to present Scéalaíocht Agus Seanchaí A Celebration of Irish Storytelling for the festival parade, which kicks off at 12pm from Parnell Street on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. Their flamboyant creations and performances, inspired by long lost legends and contemporary Irish experiences, will weave through the streets of our capital city in a dazzling spectacle, as bands bring dynamic rhythms and uplifting musical scores.

This year, also, a significant number of new events and performances have been commissioned and supported. The Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) and St. Patrick’s Festival, in association with Fundación Mapfre will present Eamonn Doyle – Irish Contemporary Photography – which will run in the RHA, Dublin from March 15 to April 22.

This is the world premiere of the globally-acclaimed Irish photographer’s exhibition, the largest show of his work to be staged in Ireland and the starting point for a world tour of the collection. It will feature a staggering 146 images, 103 of which will be up to 2.5 metres in size.

For a limited run, from March 15 – 24, Doyle will also present Made in Dublin. This is a dynamic multi-media immersive installation designed by Niall Sweeney, featuring music by David Donohoe and words by Kevin Barry and a nine-screen cinematic surround-sound panoramic work of 10,000 images.

Exploring the contemporary connections of culture, traditions and heritage between Ireland and Scotland, The Words That Bind Us is a new cultural exchange that brings together poets from Ireland and Scotland including Stephen James Smyth, Felispeaks, Leyla Josephine and Laureate na nÓg Sarah Crossan, to collaborate with an emerging generation of young writers from Ballymun. The students will perform their own original spoken word pieces at Axis Ballymun on March 16 and as part of the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Poetry Trail on March 18.

Our oldest myths tell of people who came to Ireland from afar. This Land – an immersive theatrical experience expressed through storytelling, song, spoken word, music and movement – will weave Ireland’s oldest mythological tales with those of the new people who make the journey to our shores today. The performance runs at the Civic Theatre in Tallaght on March 15 and the National Concert Hall on March 16.

Meanwhile, Terra Firmish is a new contemporary music and dance performance written by Seán Mac Erlaine. This poetic interpretation of the true story of a sinking church on Inish Oirr, the smallest of the Aran Islands, can be seen at Smock Alley on March 15. Also, join Cormac Begley & Friends, including Liam Ó Maonlaí, Libby Cronin, Stephen James Smith, host Donal Dineen and many more for an evening of musical stories and tunes at the Pepper Canister Church on March 14.

New for 2019, Dublin’s Merrion Square will be transformed into a bustling Festival Village, running from March 16 to 18, offering three days of events, adventures and glorious food. The jam-packed programme will feature a Gaeltacht, a Céilí Mór, circus and science shows, children’s readings and discos, live music, village hall talks, street theatre, world food stalls and much more.

Meanwhile, what better way to explore our history and legends than through ABAIR, a programme of traditional singing and storytelling events taking place across the city over the festival. Immerse in song and story at No. 14 Henrietta Street, the house that has lived through Georgian aristocracy, Irish revolution and the worst slum conditions in Europe.

Also, Ballad Tours Dublin features an interactive journey through time, song and rhyme chronicling the history of Irish music, while The Gnás Series promises site-specific performances at locations throughout Dublin including Glasnevin Cemetery, The National Print Museum, Dublin Writer’s Museum and EPIC.

Embracing the world-class cutting-edge Dublin dance scene, St. Patrick’s Festival in partnership with Hidden Agenda will host the ultimate techno and electro session with the D1 Recordings 25th Anniversary Party, taking place at Yamamori Tengu on St. Patrick’s Day. Celebrating the legendary label, the gathering will feature sets from a host of DJs and producers.

Since its foundation, the festival has achieved extraordinary growth and success in recent years. Around 500,000 people attend the parade annually, bringing a benefit to the economy of over €70 million. It’s full 2019 programme is now available at stpatricksfestival.com, where further event details, tickets, festival news, information and special offers can be found.

Meanwhile, see Travel Ireland Magazine’s picks for highlights of the festival here.

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