St Patrick’s Festival launches biggest programme for 2017

By: | Published: February 22, 2017 4:03 PM

Celebrating Ireland's national holiday, St Patrick’s Festival will bring together 3000 artists, musicians, dancers, poets and performers in a programme with over 30 events spanning four days

The four-day festival attracts over 100,000 overseas visitors

Celebrating Ireland’s national holiday, St Patrick’s Festival will bring together 3000 artists, musicians, dancers, poets and performers in a programme with over 30 events spanning four days and nights. The theme for this year’s edition is ‘Ireland You Are’ which looks to celebrate Ireland as a culturally diverse, complex and brave society. From cathedrals to classrooms, the city will reverberate with programme of music, performances, walks and talks.

The festival has commissioned Stephen James Smith, a Dublin poet and playwright central to the rise of the spoken word genre, to write a new poem, entitled ‘My Ireland’ in response to the theme. The poem is accompanied by a short film by director Myles O’Reilly, arranged and mixed by Conor O’Brien, music by Colm Mac Con Iomaire and Loah, Saint Sister, Eithne Ní Chatháin aka Inni-K and Ye Vagabonds accompanying.

Attracting over 100,000 overseas visitors, the four-day festival is funded by Fáilte Ireland, Dublin City Council and Department – arts, heritage, regional, rural and Gaeltacht affairs. One of the highlights of the national celebrations, the Festival Parade at on March 17, manifests the vision and talents of artists, designers and performers of all ages in response to the festival theme. Community groups and pageant companies from across Ireland will present the textures of Irish heritage through a variety of performances and street theatre around subjects such as Ireland’s magical faerie stories, ancient mythical tribes, trailblazing pirates and the living landscape.

Susan Kirby, CEO, St Patrick’s Festival, said, “During this important decade of commemoration St Patrick’s Festival prepares to create a snapshot of contemporary Ireland through our programme of creative cultural events. Ireland’s rich history has been reflected upon in recent years and has shown our resilience, humour and compassion as a people. Being Irish today extends beyond these shores through our diaspora and through the new and emerging cultures in our country today. We want the 2017 programme to showcase an authentic picture of contemporary Ireland with an inspiring myriad of events that capture this moment in time.”

Tourists can join over 4,000 other explorers on this year’s Treasure Hunt on March 18, traversing the Liffey and visiting places of historical and contemporary interest. They can also enjoy the experience of a free outdoor film screening of the Oscar nominated In America, in the surrounds of the newly renovated medieval Swords Castle in partnership with Fingal County Council, on March 16. Food ethusiasts can enjoy the fine island cuisine up the road in Howth Village, at the Dublin Bay Prawn Festival from March 17 to 19.

March 19 will see Merrion Square come alive with a day-long street carnival; the Festival Big Day Out is set to feature street theatre, music, aerial performances, arts and crafts, circus, science in the Science Foundation Ireland Science Zone and a 50-feet giant whale and real-life mermaid.

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