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St. Patrick’s Festival kicks off this coming Thursday March 14th and runs over five great days and nights in Dublin, celebrating our great Irish heritage of storytelling through a myriad of expressions. The Festival will bring to life ancient tales and contemporary narratives, telling the stories of Ireland and the Irish, past, present and future.
Many events are free of charge. A number of events are paid ticketed and others are free, but ticket reservations are required. For events, programmes, maps and ticket purchases visit www.stpatricksfestival.ie
A night of musical stories and magical tunes is promised when trad folk hero Cormac Begley gathers friends Lisa O’Neill, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Libby McCrohan, Stephen James Smith and Donal Dineen for a great kick-start to the Festival (Thursday, Pepper Canister, 8pm, €17). Standing, Sitting, Lying Down with musicians, singers and performers Simon Cullen, Michael Gallen, Glenn P Keating, and Jennifer Moore, are immersive electronic audio–visual performances where the audience can choose to sit, stand or lie down (Thursday and Friday, City Assembly House, 7pm & 9pm, €12). Join legendary two-time Grammy Award nominee, vocalist Iarla Ó Lionáird and guitar virtuoso and musical mathematician Steve Cooney at Culture Vultures, for an evening of chat and tunes hosted by music writer Tony Clayton Lea (Friday, The Sound House, 7.30pm, €18).
Encompassing rap, song, poetry and performance This Land with Raymond Keane, Farah Elle, Candlelit Theatre and a group of incredible young artists, brings to light the stories that emerge when diverse cultures join together to explore our mythological past and our challenging present, in search of a better future (Friday, Civic Theatre, 7.30pm, €12 & Saturday, NCH, 8.30pm, €12). Raise your voice in song at Sing Out Loud – A Choral Trail in the City when choirs of all ages will take to the streets performing popular tunes and rousing choruses at iconic locations across Dublin. All ages and singing abilities are most welcome (Saturday, various locations, 1pm – 5pm, Free). Explore the life and legacy of Elizabeth ‘Bess’ Cronin at The Muskerry Queen of Song, in the company of Donal Dineen, her grand-daughter and singer Eilish Ní Thuama and sean-nós singer Eithne Ní Chatháin (Saturday, City Assembly House, 2pm, €12).
Join composer, performer and experimentalist David Donohoe live at the Made in Dublin installation in the RHA, for an incredible solo performance where percussion meets synth (Saturday, RHA, 6pm, €15). World renowned Irish actor Liam Cunningham and Irish future Afro-soul singer Fehdah will join broadcaster Jim Carroll for Finest Minds, a night of discussion, discourse and music around visions for creating and sustaining a better Ireland for all (Saturday, Festival Village Big Top, 8pm, Free and ticketed). Wrap your ears around the music of four of Ireland’s most exciting new talents at Seen & Heard with Fehdah, Caoi De Barra (Wyvern Lingo), Anna Mieke and Dowry (Sunday, Pepper Canister, 5.30pm, €16). Through Dublin City is a nightly session trail of some of Dublin’s best loved singing clubs including The Teachers Club and Mc Neills (See daily programme at stpatricksfestival.ie/Free).
Dance like no one is watching! Admirers of interpretative dance will be taken with Terra Firmish a stunning new performance piece that tells the story of the sinking church on Inis Oírr (Thursday, Smock Alley, 7.30pm, €16). If Ballaí Luimnigh and Ionsaí na hInse are more your style, then head over to the Ceilí Mór and shake a tackie with some of Ireland’s leading Irish dancers (Saturday, Festival Village, Merrion Square, 1pm – 3pm, Free). Dial up the BPMs with D1 Recordings 25th Anniversary Party, a night of electro and techno with the cream of the Irish dance scene. 15 DJs and counting will take on deck duties including Eamonn Doyle, Dechord, Mark Broom, Rob Rowland, Sunken Foal, Splitradix, Who’s The Technician? and heaps more (Sunday, Yamamori Tengu, 9pm – 3am, €20, over 21).
Song and Story
“Those in power write the history, while those who suffer write the songs.” St. Patrick’s Festival offers interesting perspectives on our singing and storytelling traditions, taking music and words to locations across the city, creating unique living backdrops that add another dimension to the tales in the telling. Immerse in the history of Dublin from Georgian splendour to Irish revolution to slum tenements at No. 14 Henrietta Street with musicians, poets and storytellers (Thursday, 14 Henrietta Street, 5.30pm & 7.00pm, €15). Find comedy and sadness at Finnegans Wake with storyteller Liz Weir and singer Ann Buckley (Thursday, Glasnevin Cemetery, 6.30pm, €12). Hear stories of leaving home and making one’s way in the world at Schooldays Over with storyteller Rab Fulton and sean-nós singer Aodhán Ó Ceallaigh (Friday, National Print Museum, 6.30pm, €12). Discover coming of age tales at Young and Foolish with singer and fiddler Helen Diamond and poet Frances Quinn (Saturday, Dublin Writers Museum, 1.00pm, €12). Hear stories of emigration in Thousands Are Sailing with storyteller Helena Byrne and musician and singer Macdara Yeates (Saturday, EPIC - The Emigration Museum, 6.30pm, €12).
Poetry and Spoken Word
Join Irish wordsmith Stephen James Smith, Scottish poet Leyla Josephine and the students of Trinity Comprehensive Ballymun for the inspiring show The Words That Bind Us, a beautiful celebration of imagination, creativity and expression through spoken word (Saturday, axis Ballymun, 3pm, €10). Walk and recite on the Dublin UNESCO Poetry Trail, celebrating the breadth and diversity of Dublin’s living poets including Felispeaks, Dagogo Hart, Colm Keegan, Ciara Ní É, Stephen James Smith, John Cummins, Scottish poets Leyla Josephine, George Gunn and Janette Ayachi, with the students of Trinity Comprehensive Ballymun. (Monday, from The Gutter Bookshop, 1pm, Free).
Walks and Talks
Explore the histories and mysteries of Dublin city at Ballad Tours Dublin with balladeer, mummer and storyteller Sean Fitzgerald (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Corner of Essex Street West and Cows Lane, 12pm & 3pm, €12). Illumination and titillation await on Lavender Walk: Tour of Historic LGBT Dublin with Tonie Walsh, a fantastic tour through historic LGBT Dublin in the company of one of Ireland’s most enthralling civil rights activists and historians (Thursday through Monday, front of Trinity College, 1pm, €10). Visit No. 6 Harcourt Street for The Beginnings of Dáil Éireann and see where Eamon De Valera, Michael Collins and Countess Markievicz worked to found Dáil Éireann (Saturday, Conradh na Gaeilge, 6 Harcourt Street, on the half hour from 12.30 – 3.30, in English and Irish, €12). At Guinness in the Liberties, see this world-famous Dublin quarter brought to life by performers and storytellers (See daily programme at stpatricksfestival.ie/€8 & €15).
A picture paints a thousand words. Visual art and photography fans will uncover a trove of stories in Eamonn Doyle - Irish Contemporary Photography, a collection of works by the world-renowned Irish photographer that capture the cityscape and people of Dublin. (March 15 – April 22, RHA, Gallery Opening Hours, Free). While there, catch Made in Dublin a thrilling multi-sensory installation created using 10,000 photographs by Doyle, with design by Niall Sweeney, music by David Donohoe and words by Kevin Barry (March 15 – 24, RHA, Gallery Opening Hours, Free).
The National Festival Parade – Scéalaíocht agus Seanchaí
The main event arrives on Sunday! Street-theatre, pageant companies and marching bands from across Ireland and the world, more than 3,000 people in total, will join together for the National St. Patrick’s Festival Parade which kicks off at 12pm from Parnell Square on St. Patrick’s Day, Sunday March 17. Join the half a million who line the Parade route to experience these magnificent creations and flamboyant performances, inspired by Irish stories, old and new. Six magical pageant companies will bring their incredible creations to life on the streets of Dublin including Artastic (Kildare), Walk the Plank (Dublin and Manchester), Buí Bolg (Wexford), Spraoi (Waterford), Inishowen Carnival Group (Donegal) and Dowtcha (Cork). They will be joined by Marching Bands from across the world, weaving their way through the capital city in a dazzling spectacle of pageantry and musical scores, one of the biggest street festivals in the world. If you can’t make the Festival Parade, catch all action live on RTÉ One TV and across the globe on the RTÉ Player.
Family Fun – Festival Village and City at Play: Funfairs
It’s all happening on Merrion Square this year at the three-day Festival Village! With a jam-packed programme of events for all ages, check out Gaeltacht at Festival Village for ceol agus craic with Ri an Ruaile Buaile, Ballet Poulet, Ronald Fanzini, Gaelige Tamagotchi and many more. Discover the enchanting world of science with workshops, explosive shows and enthralling exhibitions in the Science Foundation Ireland Science Zone. Dig for ancient treasure at the Village Big Dig; take on the machines at the Actual Reality Arcade, a life size interactive zone for gamers young and old; explore large scale mathematical exhibits that encourage the wonder of discovery and investigation at the Lifetime Lab; get down and dirty with molecular biology at the Cell Explorers Workshop; marvel at extraordinary feats of circus, acrobatics and street theatre with a host Irish and international performers including Pif Paf, Le Bistro, The Foolhardy Trio and Marcel So What. Enjoy a myriad of events at the Ireland’s Finest: Family Programme including the breath-taking Tumble Circus at the Festival Village Big Top and a wonderful shadow puppet performance Granny Whale’s Pirate Tale, that tells the story of Ireland’s Pirate Queen. Show off your jigs and reels at the Céilí Mór and bust some mini-moves at the super-fun Tiny Dancer disco with legendary DJ Donal Dineen. That’s just for starters! For the full programme of events at the Festival Village see www.stpatricksfestival.ie (Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Festival Village Merrion Square, 12pm – 6pm (ex. Sunday 2pm – 6pm), Free entry though some events are ticketed). For a shot of pure adrenaline, head to Custom House Quay for the legendary City at Play: Funfair, which will light up the Dublin skyline with colourful carnival fairground attractions! (Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Custom House Quay, 11am – late, various prices)
Food & Drinks
Celebrate Irish produce and global flavours at this St. Patrick’s Festival. Kick back and relax with a smorgasbord of delicious dishes at the World Food Market at the Festival Village in Merrion Square, featuring Cloud Picker coffee, Dough Kitchen Pizza, Shaka Poké, Taco Truck, Arctic Stone and many more. Tesco Ireland will at the Festival Village, serving up sumptuous Irish meats and the freshest Irish ingredients from their finest* Airstream and check out the sizzling Fire Pit for the ultimate barbeque experience only from Tesco. (Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Festival Village Merrion Square, 12pm – 6pm (ex. Sunday 2pm – 6pm), Free entry). Craft brew fans will enjoy the Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair featuring the very best beers, ciders and spirits, amazing local food, entertainment, big screen events and more (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Dublin Convention Centre, Various Times, €15 - €45).
What better way to reinvigorate body and mind after the long weekend than the St. Patrick’s Festival 5K Road Race in association with Metro St. Brigid’s Athletic Club and Dublin City Council! (Monday, St. Stephen’s Green, 12pm/ Register at www.stpatricksfestival.ie/msbac.ie )