Four-day festival village adds to St Patrick's day fun

Justine Doswell at the launch for the St Patrick’s Day Festival

Aoife Walsh

Dublin's Merrion Square is going to be transformed into a "festival village" playground for four days before St Patrick's Day next month.

A circus, an arcade, treasure hunts, food markets and live music are among the family-friendly events that will take place across Merrion Square from March 14 to 17 as part of the National St Patrick's Festival.

Merrion Square will also host a ceili, as well as featuring a Gaeltacht area.


A new event, Festival After Dark, has also been added to the schedule for those looking to continue the celebrations later on.

The St Patrick's Day parade kicks off at noon on March 17, and will feature more than 3,000 performers, actors, musicians and dancers.

Speaking at the launch of the event, Deputy Lord Mayor Tom Brabazon said: "It's a great honour to launch this festival.

"It's one of the biggest events in the city throughout the year. It's a huge honour for me.

"The St Patrick's Day parade is a huge event. It brings in tourists from all around the world and it focuses attention on Ireland.

"We see it celebrated around the world: the Great Wall of China being lit up, the Sydney Opera House, the United States obviously. St Patrick's Day is a big event there."

St Patrick's Festival chief executive Susan Kirby said: "We have five days and nights of amazing events.

"We have the festival and the ceili on March 17. We brought back the Dublin Port treasure hunt this year.

"We'll have four days of festival village on Merrion Square so there's everything there from a circus to a Gaeltacht area to street theatre. [There's a] great food village that will also be on there.

"That's before we get to our Festival After Dark programme. We have everything there from walking tours to spoken word, theatre events and gigs in beautiful spaces all over Dublin."

The festival, which runs from March 13 to 17, is supported by Failte Ireland, Dublin City Council, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Other events taking place across the city centre include music from Irish acts such as Kojaque, Soule and Annie Mac, as well as spoken word acts and street performances.