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Saturday 30 August 2014

Gigs, banquet and colourful past focus of St Patrick's Festival

Brian Byrne

Published 21/02/2014 | 02:30

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Ella Hannon Moss, aged 5 from Mountmellick in Laois (left) and Eva Crean, aged 6 from Stepaside, Dublin, pictured in St. Stephen's Green at the launch of St. Patrick's Festival 2014

Ireland's colourful history will be the focus of the country's main parade this St Patrick's Day.

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Festival organisers have announced a three-year running theme for the event, in which notable moments from the nation's past, present and future will be explored across the 2014, 2015 and 2016 parades.

The four-day festival, which culminates on St Patrick's Day, Monday, March 17, will feature the 'I Love My City' cultural programme, now in its third year.

This includes events such as performances by Irish singer Iarla O Lionaird and electronic rock band Jape, and 'The Enchanted Banquet', a five-course meal celebrating the best of Irish food with a performance by the PETTYCASH collective.

Some of the city's most iconic buildings will once again go green for the duration of this year's festival.

Other new events include 'Live on the Green' on March 15, which includes performances from Jerry Fish and Ireland's first New Orleans-style brass group The Booka Brass Band, who previously appeared at Electric Picnic and Longitude.

Organisers are also bringing back a variety of familiar events for families, including 'Big Day Out', a vibrant street carnival in Merrion Square, and a treasure hunt in which participants race across the city visiting local landmarks and solving clues.

Tourism Minister Michael Ring told the Irish Independent the festival was "one of our most important events" for international visitors, drawing in more than 140,000 people from overseas last year, and bringing €122m to the local economy.

Chief executive of the festival Susan Kirby said the majority of the events at this year's festival would be free to attend, and that organisers have worked to ensure there was "something for everyone". Some €2.5m will be spent on this year's events.

Meanwhile, Tourism Ireland has begun pounding US pavements as part of its 'Jump Into Ireland' sales and marketing blitz. Representatives travelled to Georgia and Florida in a bid to increase American tourism in Ireland.

Irish Independent

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