The National St. Patrick’s Festival is back!Padraig Conlon 30 Jan 2023
The programme for the national St. Patrick’s Festival, Dublin, which runs from March 16th to 19th, has been unveiled today.
The theme of this year’s spectacular global celebration of Irish arts, culture and heritage is ‘ONE’, as the Festival issues an open invite to people from all over the world to come to Dublin, Ireland to share, to connect, to participate and to celebrate together as one.
THE NATIONAL ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE, DUBLIN, 2023
This year’s National St. Patrick’s Day Parade, driven by the values of community, diversity, youth and sustainability, will be the most ambitious ever, featuring breath-taking new artistic, interactive and aerial elements.
A major new opening pageant has been commissioned featuring a collaboration with St. Patrick’s Festival Community Arts pageant with Macnas, Junk Kouture, Discovery Gospel Choir, and a whole host of community groups, while the Festival continues to work with Ireland’s foremost creative pageant companies including Dublin Pride, Spraoi, Artastic, Inishowen Carnival and you might even spot some special Disney friends. This year, Bui Bolg and Kia are collaborating on an exciting new pageant entitled ‘The Future That Moves Us’ featuring an interactive AR element in the parade for the very first time. With half a million spectators expected to line this year’s route, the Parade will feature 7 creative pageants, 10 transitional showpiece performances, 15 marching bands from across Ireland, North America and Canada, and over 4,000 participants in what is shaping up to be the largest ever National St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
On our national day of cultural celebration, St. Patrick’s Festival invites those across the world to come together on Friday 17th March to collectively celebrate, share, laugh, perform, participate and remember that ‘Mar a chéile sinn’ (we are one). Embracing that unifying and inspirational theme of ONE, the National St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2023 will shine a light on all the goodness that surrounds us. The theme acts as a reminder that when we act with dignity and respect as ONE, we can protect each other and our wonderful world. Ireland is known for its enduring traditions, culture and heritage, but our stories are also part of a unifying global culture, one which bonds us through music, storytelling, sport, nature and tradition, one which traverses borders and reminds us of our shared responsibility for the united care of our planet, protecting it for our future generations.
A brand-new strand for the 2023 Parade is Suntas! (take notice!). Suntas! will feature giant creative interventions on iconic buildings around Dublin, adding layers of storytelling and intrigue and animating the city in the run up to the Festival. As the city turns Green in preparation for the St. Patrick’s festivities, city-dwellers will begin to notice the arrival of Ollphéist (giant monsters), as they take over some of the city’s best-known buildings. They will be visible by day and illuminated by night as tourists and locals wander the city. On Parade Day, audiences will look on in wonder as the pageant participants will interact with these monsters, locked in an epic battle between good and evil, between Goddesses and Monsters, along with a surprise performance from aerial artists Fidget Feet in a spectacular high-flying display.
A limited number of Parade Grandstand Seats and Hospitality Packages can be purchased at www.stpatricksfestival.ie
FESTIVAL QUARTER AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF IRELAND, DECORATIVE ARTS & HISTORY, COLLINS BARRACKS
Returning for 2023 after an incredibly successful debut last year is the St. Patrick’s Festival Quarter at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks which will be home to a magical day-to-night urban Festival for all, from March 16th to 18th. The grounds of one of Ireland’s most spectacular and historic heritage sites in the heart of Dublin will feature Spiegeltent Mór and Spiegeltent Beag, a 3,000 capacity outdoor Main Stage, Story Yurt, performance spaces, relaxation areas, a mini-funfair including Ferris Wheel and the Irish Food and Craft Village.
All daytime events will be free of charge, along with the full day and night programme on St. Patrick’s Day, supported by Dublin Airport. Night time events on the 16th and 18th of March will require a pre-purchased ticket that will be valid for the full evening’s programme.
Tickets available stpatricksfestival.ie. Festival Quarter will be open to all ages throughout the day, and will be reserved for adults only from 6pm to 10:30pm. Just a short walk from the city centre, easily accessible by Luas and bus, and adjacent to Heuston Station, Festival Quarter will be a bustling hub for locals and visitors alike, from March 16th to 18th.
FESTIVAL QUARTER DAYS
Friday 17th (12pm-6pm), Saturday 18th March (12pm-5pm),
Family fun and community spirit are integral to St. Patrick’s Festival. Families can enjoy a range of activities including street theatre, interactive games, circus and science shows, talks, film screenings and lots more. Get lost in the imaginary world of the Disney Cinema Yurt, enjoy the thrills of the circus with Tumble Circus, Curious State Circus, Professor Plunger, Guido Fanzini, Mark the Science Guy, or get gaming with Actual Reality Arcade and more.
From 12pm on Friday 17 March, St. Patrick’s Festival Quarter will be a hive of events, happenings, music, song and dance for people of all ages as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style. Join us on the Main stage for the hugely popular Céilí Mór, featuring The Shandrum Céili Band plus Féile na Gealaí, Japanese Taiko Drummers, Traditional Irish Dancers, Music Generation Laois Trad Orchestra, storytelling from Candlelit Tales and the Fingal Mummers, music from Imlé and Llareggub from Wales, supported by the Welsh Government in Ireland and lots more.
On Saturday 18th March, the day after the night before, our packed programme of family events returns, along with talks, performances, DJ sets, the Abair song and storytelling series, and music performances across 4 stages from Mo Cultivation & Friends Alice, Celaviedmai, Code of Behaviour, Grooveline, plus the GOAL Global Citizen Stage featuring performances from international community groups, Adam Mohamed, Curiosity Music Group, Blaq Apollo + Mimmi & many more.
FESTIVAL QUARTER NIGHTS
Thursday 16th – Saturday 18th March, 6pm – 10.30pm daily (Strictly Over 18s)
When the sun goes down, from 6pm daily, Festival Quarter Nights will explode into life with stunning lighting displays and decor, a bustling food village, bars and hangout areas just for adults.
On opening night, Thursday 16th March Cultúr Club will see St. Patrick’s Festival and LGBTQ+ Club promoters, Mother collaborate once again on the eve of the world’s largest celebration of Irish culture for one big party. On the Mainstage, Cultúr Club will host the first ever LGBTQ+ ‘Géilí’ with the fabulous PJ Kirby, followed by the Queen of Ireland herself, Panti Bliss and her dance partner, Denys Salmon hot off RTÉ’s Dancing with the Stars.
RTÉ Choice Music Prize-nominated Queer Irish artist Elaine Mai with MayKay and Sinéad White come together for a special, one-time-only performance of club classics. Joining them are some of the most exciting artists on the Irish music scene including Bobbi Arlo, Lewwab, Pastiche, and Tim Chadwick. Mother DJs present an all-night queer dance party in Tent Mór accompanied by the gorgeous OINK dancers and the drag fabulousity of Pixie Woo, Anziety, Shaqira Knightly and Viola Gayvis. The brilliant SEANCHOÍCHE (pronounced Shanna-Key-Huh), a storytelling night founded in Dublin will take over the Tent Beag stage featuring tales to enthral and entrance with Una Mullally, and for those who don’t want to leave the dancefloor, the Bandstand stage will feature a range of incredible DJs with drag, dancing and divilment on display throughout.
On Friday 17th March, as St. Patrick’s Day turns into St. Patrick’s Night, live music will echo across the legendary grounds of the NMI as we celebrate our incredible traditional Irish music artists including Kíla + Brass Band, The Bonny Men, Jiggy, Saltaire, Polca 4, Paahto & the Bull, Cairde Ceoil, Choice Music Prize nominee Junior Brother, and The Latchikos. Dance the night away in Celtic style with the Trad Rave DJ on the Clarke Square Bandstand & lots more!
On Saturday 18th March, in a unique collaboration, St. Patrick’s Festival has invited the critically acclaimed and internationally successful act Pillow Queens to curate an evening that celebrates the best of new Irish music across four stages on the Festival Quarter site, before they take to the main stage and bring it home with a set that is sure to thrill audiences in a true celebration of Irish culture. They’ll be joined on the night with music from some of the best homegrown talent the country has to offer including Melts, Sprints, Gurrier, Girlfriend, Basht, Katie Kim, PCRO, Megan O’Neil, Cat Dowling, Really Good Time & 2FM Rising bands plus HOMEBEAT DJs.
Across the weekend at the National Museum of Ireland Collins Barracks, the Festival’s annual traditional song and storytelling project ABAIR, funded by the Arts Council, will see performances and chats with Donegal Tarantella featuring Grammy winning Francesco Turrisi (Rhiannon Giddens) and Anna Cinzia Villiani from Italy and Rónán Galvin and Ellie Nic Fhionnghaile from Donegal; family storytelling from Candle Lit Tales sibling duo Aron and Sorcha Hegarty; The Megaphone Project – a pop-up traditional singing series inspired by Johnny ‘The Singer Man’ Martin, a charismatic street singer from the 1950s who tramped the fairs and markets of Ireland singing through a large horn; Yoik and Nyahh featuring a traditional Sami joik artist Ánde Somby (Samiland) and Irish Traveller singer Stephen Dunne; Comedian and storyteller Hugh Cooney joins forces with Dublin balladeer and entertainer Seán Fitzgerald ; Ukraine and Ulster: Songs in Conflict featuring Seán Mone (Armagh balladeer) and Olesya Zdorovetska (Ukraine).
One City Festival Programme
Thursday 16th – Sunday 19th March
As part of a curated programme of events in collaboration with cultural partners around the city, there will be many St. Patrick’s Festival supported live events and club nights throughout Dublin over the period of the Festival. Enjoy everything from art exhibitions to yoga classes, orchestral performances to brand new theatre pieces, walking tours to skiff racing.
This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the city while also supporting our workers across the arts, culture, heritage, festivals, entertainment, tourism, hospitality and accommodation industries, locally, nationally and internationally. New for 2023 is the Festival After Dark, a series of events in Nightclubs post 11pm. More details to follow on www.stpatricksfestival.ie
Speaking of the Festival programme announcement, Lord Mayor of Dublin, Caroline Conroy said: I’m really looking forward to this year’s St. Patrick’s Festival, not only the parade through our Capital’s streets on March 17th but also the fantastic Festival Quarter, back for its second year at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks. I congratulate the St. Patrick’s Festival Board and team for once again creating such a wonderful celebration packed full of so much fantastic Irish talent.”
Of the Programme announcement, Richard Tierney, CEO, St. Patrick’s Festival said: “I am especially looking forward to St. Patrick’s Festival 2023, my first at the helm of this fantastic festival celebrating the best of Irish culture today. It takes a huge amount of artists, arts workers, makers, creators, live events teams and community organisations, drawn from across the nation, as well as the core Festival team to bring the magical national festival to life each year. There is so much to enjoy from the 16th to the 19th, from song, story and performance, to film, theatre, tours, food and so much more. I’m especially looking forward to our new Suntas programme. We are incredibly thankful to all our funders, partners and sponsors who have made this year’s Festival possible and can’t wait to welcome everyone from near and far to Dublin this March.”
Catherine Martin T.D, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media commented: “It is said that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day and we welcome that inclusion warmly. It is a day to celebrate our heritage and our history and we invite the world to join in the 2023 celebrations. The festival has grown and flourished through the years and is full of the best of Irish culture, creativity and heritage of which we are all very proud. I have approved support of €600,000 from my Department for this great festival and I look forward to the full and eventful line up which has been organised for this year’s festival.”
Orla Carroll, Director of Product Development at Fáilte Ireland said: “St. Patrick’s Festival returns to Dublin this year, with a spectacular parade and an amazing line up of music, arts and entertainment that celebrates our culture, our people and our places. This year’s festival will be the largest ever St. Patrick’s Day celebration and will give visitors from at home and abroad the opportunity to experience the very best of our capital city, while kick-starting the tourist season by showcasing Ireland as a fantastic tourist destination to people around the world. In particular, we welcome the many marching bands that have travelled to join the festival and really add to the atmosphere of celebration. Festivals and events play a key role in delivering brilliant visitor experiences, providing a unique reason for visitors to choose a destination and increasing footfall for local businesses, supporting jobs and revenue generation.”
Lynn Scarff, Director of the National Museum of Ireland adds: “National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts and History, Collins Barracks is delighted to welcome the Festival Quarter back to Collins Barracks this year with an incredible line up of talented musicians, performers and artists.
Seeing Clarke Square animated with such an extensive and eclectic cultural offering lifts the heart and demonstrates how our cultural spaces can support a multitude of artistic talent while engaging diverse communities.”
St. Patrick’s Festival is made possible through the continued support of the Government of Ireland, the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Fáilte Ireland, Dublin City Council, and many generous partners and funders.
The Festival Programme is available now at stpatricksfestival.ie and will continue to be updated as more events are announced and tickets for Festival Quarter Nights are on sale now.
See www.stpatricksfestival.ie for details and tickets.
To be the first to hear all the news, join the Festival mailing list on the website and follow St. Patrick’s Festival on all social media channels.