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St Patrick's Day festivities in full swing over 150 years ago

THIS ICONIC image of St Patrick's Day celebrations near Malahide circa 1856 will go on public display at the National Gallery of Ireland this week.

While the depiction of the jovial family celebration of our national holiday by Scottish painter Erskine Nicol may look nothing like the modern-day equivalent, the backdrop of St Doulough's Church hasn't changed in more than 150 years.

The church and cemetery on the Malahide Road in north county Dublin is still standing. While it's now called the United Parishes of Malahide, Portmarnock and St Doulough's, little else about the landmark has changed, according to a National Gallery spokeswoman.

The painting called 'The 16th, 17th, and 18th March', was recently acquired by the gallery and is noted for the artist's technical and narrative abilities as he depicts local revellers dancing a jig and playing music while people tell stories and children sell wares outside the church.

The painting is on public view in room 18 of the gallery where the gallery's curator of Irish Art Dr Sighle Bhreathnach-Lynch will give a special talk on the painting's significance at 3pm this Sunday.

Meanwhile, some eight million Americans including Irish ex-pats living in the USA, will be able to tune in live to see Dublin in full swing on St Patrick's Day. The popular NBC morning chat show 'The Today Show' will be broadcasting live from Dublin.

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