A host of events, and a free lunch at Cork's St Patrick's Festival

One of the characters in last year's St Patrick's Day parade in Cork. This year free food will be on offer.

There will be such a thing as a free lunch at the St Patrick’s Festival in Cork, as the city will be serving free vegetarian curry to up to 5,000 hungry visitors as part of a sustainable eating initiative.

All the vegetables would go to waste if they weren’t used for this Cork Food Policy urban dining initiative, which will take place in a St Patrick’s Festival marquee on Grand Parade.

The dishes will be made from grade two and three vegetables — vegetables which weren’t grown to the precise dimensions demanded by supermarkets — a practice lambasted worldwide.

The marquee will also host cooking demonstrations from Denis Cotter of Café Paradiso and Mercy Fenton, formerly of Jacobs on the Mall, and there will be raised bed and composting demonstrations outside Cork City Library.

Organisers are promising three days of fun including live motown, trad, and gypsy jazz on St Patrick’s St, and an artisan food market for the 100,000 visitors expected to visit the city over the bank holiday weekend.

The highlight of the party will be the parade on Monday, March 17. Five giant art pieces, inspired by legends such as Jonah and the Whale and the Phoenix, have been specially commissioned for the Cork-style carnival.

Up to 3,000 community and voluntary groups including Spraoi, Buí Bolg, Cork Community Art Link, and Dowtcha Puppets will take part in the party.

The parade will kick off at 1pm at South Mall, continue to Grand Parade and St Patrick’s St, and finish at Merchant’s Quay.

City Hall will be illuminated in green and up to 40 food and craft stalls will be on St Patrick’s St on Saturday and Sunday, and on the Grand Parade on Monday as part of the Barry’s Tea Market.

Mime artists, jugglers, stilt walkers, and magicians from all over the world will be in the city for the weekend including The Wardens, who have been empowered to enforce any rule or law they see fit, including breathing too loudly or walking on pavement cracks without a permit, according to the organisers.

Cork Circus will also be performing their new walkabout shows.


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