Friday 30 September 2016

Over 110k visitors arrive to celebrate St Patrick's Day

Country prepares for weekend-long festivities

Rachel Lavin

Published 13/03/2016 | 02:30

GRAND MARSHAL: Joanne O’Riordan leads the Dublin parade
GRAND MARSHAL: Joanne O’Riordan leads the Dublin parade

More than 112,000 visitors from all over the world are in Ireland for St Patrick's day, and as the country gears up to celebrate the national feast day, there is no shortage of festivities to consider.

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The first major parade of the day will take place in Galway, kicking off at 11.30am. It will feature lots of local theatre and arts groups as they aim to highlight the city and region's cultural activity in preparation for its European Capital for Culture 2020 bid.

Limerick city's parade, celebrating the theme 'Commemorate', will start at 12pm and Cork's St Patrick's Day parade will begin at 1pm with the theme of 1916 'The Legacy'.

The Dublin parade begins at 12pm with the theme 'Imagine if…', with floats looking towards the next 100 years of Ireland's future. The parade, beginning at Parnell Square, will be led by the youngest ever grand marshal, 19-year-old disability rights activist Joanne O'Riordan.

Commuters dealing with the Luas strikes can avail of a special bus service on St Patrick's Day that will run from Luas park-and-ride stops to and from the city centre every 10 minutes from 7.30am to 7pm. Luas pre-paid tickets and leap cards can be used and passengers are being told to allow extra time to travel to and from the parade.

Street theatre will also be staged, with workshops, musical and theatrical performances and even Irish language lessons from Mr Tayto at various locations around Dublin city centre.

Dublin historian Pat Liddy will lead the 'In the Footsteps of St Patrick Walking Tour', which begins at 2.15pm at the Molly Malone statue and ends at St Patrick's Cathedral. For gaelgoirs, there's the Gaelstage at Earlsfort Terrace at 3pm, hosting Irish language and music. Meanwhile, the capital's iconic buildings, including Christ Church Cathedral, will be lit up in green.

The Harbour2Harbour walk between Howth and Dun Laoghaire will begin at 10.30am in aid of Aware, or you can head west for the Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail. Taking place over St Patrick's weekend, the trail extends over 61km from Balla, Co Mayo, to the village of Murrisk at Croagh Patrick.

In Kilkenny, the St Patrick's Day 5km dash kicks off at 11am in Kilkenny Castle Park, as part of the Kilkenny Tradfest, which will see Hothouse Flowers heading the bill. Damien Dempsey, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Kila and Duke Special will also play during the five-day music festival. In Cork, the Lee Sessions offers a pub crawl with traditional Irish sessions taking place in nine pubs from 3.30pm to 9.30pm.

Meanwhile, 'Music in the City' will see bands playing everything from ska to reggae at various venues in Dublin.

The RDS will host the fifth annual Irish Craft Beer and Whiskey Village from Wednesday until Saturday, offering the best of Irish beer, cider, whiskey and artisanal food. St Patrick's Festival has also teamed up with the Dublin Bay Prawn Festival, which will take place in Howth from March 18-20.

Belvedere House, Dublin , will host 'Ultimate Sunday' with culture, comedy and coffee to nurse the hangovers.

If you're staying home, you can enjoy watching history being made: New York City's parade will be broadcast live for the first time in Ireland by Irish TV from 3pm-7pm; this will be the first time that members of the LGBT community will be allowed to march in the parade.

You could also consider Monsterrat, the island south of Puerto Rico, with a population of 5,000, otherwise known as the 'Carribbean Emerald Isle'. It is the only territory outside Ireland where March 17 is a national holiday.

Sunday Independent

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