Green army promised fantastic festivals

TIME to get the green face paint ready. St Patrick’s Day is less than a month away and revellers were yesterday promised a feast of events to mark the event.

Dublin hopes to attract thousands of visitors for this year’s St Patrick’s Day Festival, the details of which were announced yesterday.

Organisers also announced that the National Lottery Skyfest will take place in Limerick city, where fireworks will light up the night sky and a viewing public expected to reach more than 50,000 people.

The fireworks will be backed by its own festival programme on Shannonside, including street theatre and carnival.

Back in Dublin, events begin on Friday, March 12, with an evening of comedy, film and visual arts, with a Father Ted Show as the centrepiece in the Laughter Lounge on Eden Quay.

On Saturday morning a treasure hunt will kick off proceedings with organisers hoping families will flock to the city centre for the three hour event.

On March 14 the festival within a festival, the Big Day Out, takes place in Merrion Square, with music-lovers able to avail of a free concert of music and street theatre.

The following Tuesday, March 16, St Stephen’s Green will host a free ceilí from 4pm to 7pm. A few streets away the Tripod music venue on Harcourt St will host a celebrity panel discussion on ‘What has Ireland done for the world?’.

The centrepiece of the St Patrick’s Festival is the traditional parade on March 17, beginning at 12 noon. Yesterday, chief executive of the festival Susan Kirby, said: “We have lots on offer for all the family, for Irish people and tourists.” She added that organisers were expecting a huge turn-out for the parade, where the theme is “extraordinary world”.

That evening the National Concert Hall will host a concert curated by Donal Lunny and feature music from choirs from around the country. Over at the Olympia, Kila will play a concert, while Irish language events and funfairs will be dotted throughout the city centre.

The St Patrick’s Day celebrations bring in an estimated €58.3 million to the economy. Ms Kirby admitted there had been a reduction in the festival’s budget this year but said it would not impact upon the quality and range of events.

“We are announcing more and more events between now and the start of the festival,” she said.

Meanwhile, details of the St Patrick’s Day festival from March 13 to March 17 in Cork city will be announced next week.

The festival will feature the best of local artesian food and crafts producers in The Barry’s Tea Food market on the Grand Parade and South Mall Boardwalk as well as free family friendly entertainment within the market each day, plus live music, children’s workshops and circus performances. The Céili All Stars and The Roaring Forties will play as well as children’s workshops with professor and magician Chapeau Magique.

* www.stpatricksfestival.ie

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