CARLOVIANS are getting ready to welcome thousands of visitors to the town for this year's International Pan Celtic Festival which takes place from April 10 to April 15.
In the region of 10,000 visitors are expected to enjoy the celebration of culture, music and dance from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall and the Isle of Man during the festival which is expected to be worth up to €3 million to the local economy.
Over the last few weeks local businesses, organisations, schools and community groups have been busy preparing for the festival with colorful flags and bunting going up across Carlow town. Primary and Post-primary school pupils are busy working on pieces of art representing the six nations which will fill shop windows throughout the town. All corners of the community have come together to ensure Carlow puts its best foot forward during this year's festival and to attract even more visitors in the future.
The festival will be officially opened by Uachtaráin na héireann, Michael D. Higgins on Tuesday April 10 at 8pm in VISUAL and the George Bernard Shaw Theatre. The event will be free to the public and there will be lots of music and entertainment in the grounds of St. Patrick's College from 7pm. Proceedings in the Theatre can then be viewed on large screens in VISUAL'S galleries which will be open to the public.
Close to 2,000 people will take part in the competition side of the festival which will see the six nations competing in Choral Competitions, Traditional singing and dancing competitions and InterCeltic music competitions. There will also be a festival club hosted by a different nation each night in the Seven Oaks Hotel which will give a taste of the very best each nation has to offer.
Highlights of the official programme of events include an Inter-celtic choral concert in the magnificent St. Mary's Cathedral in Carlow Town on Friday April 13 and the International Pan Celtic Song Contest on Thursday April 12 . This contest is a great night's entertainment which will see each nation enter a song in their traditional language in a Eurovision style competition which will include traditional, folk, rock and pop.
A colourful and lively parade will run through the streets of Carlow town on Friday evening with displays from all participating nations. Sport will also be an important part of this year's festival with a huge camogie blitz with teams from across the country taking place on Saturday and Sunday April 14 and 15 and a rugby quadrangle featuring teams from Ireland and Wales on Saturday April 14.
A huge programme of fringe events has also been organised which promises to deliver fantastic craic, ceol and atmosphere to the streets of Carlow with something for all the family. The Pan Celtic Trad Trail will see the finest musicians from around Ireland descend on the town over the six days playing sessions in ten local pubs, day and night.
Some of Ireland's most renowned trad musicians and dancers will also give workshops on Saturday April 14 and Pervish will play the alternative festival club big gig on Saturday night in the Tower, Dinn Rí.
Other fringe highlights will include the 'Celtic Taste of Carlow' food and craft market which runs from Friday April 13 – Sunday April 15 along Kennedy Avenue and the Potato Market. Carlow's finest craft and food producers will be showcasing the very best in local produce and gastronomical delights!
There will be entertainment for all the family with free music and entertainment in the open-air on the streets of Carlow daily from 12noon, storytelling, art exhibitions and workshops for young and old. There will be something for everyone and a fantastic family fun atmosphere in Carlow during the Easter Holidays. For the full programme of events check out www.panceltic.ie in the coming days when the full festival brochure will be available.
Follow us up to Carlow for the International Pan Celtic Festival 2012.