Dublin St. Patrick’s Festival

Dublin St. Patrick’s Festival
Photo: stpatricksfestival.ie
Saint Patrick’s Day is the equivalent of a national day in Ireland and has been a public holiday for many years. On March 17, many cities across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland host St. Patrick’s Day parades. Of course, the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade takes place in Dublin. It is part of the Dublin St. Patrick’s Festival.

St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated by the Irish as early as the 9th century and became an official public holiday in 1903. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country took place the same year in the city of Waterford. The first official, state-sponsored parade in Dublin was held in 1931. It was initiated by Irish revolutionary and politician Desmond FitzGerald who then served as Minister of Defense.

In 1995, the government of the Republic of Ireland decided to found a national festival designed to showcase Ireland and its cultural heritage. The first St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin took place on March 17, 1996. It quickly became a three-day event and by 2006 it was five days long. The highlight of the festival is the Dublin St. Patrick’s Day Parade that attracts more than 600,000 attendees from all over Ireland and abroad. Overall, the festival draws about 1 million visitors who take part in the festivities.

Over the festival period, many venues and spaces across Dublin host inspiring events presented by established and emerging Irish and international performers and artists. The festival program embraces music, dance, spoken word, film, visual art, design, literature, and everything in between. St. Patrick’s Festival presents several programs including I Love My City, a series of cultural events staged in the city’s historic venues and spaces.

The program also includes a céilí (a traditional Irish social gathering involving folk music and dancing), a treasure hunt, a day-long street carnival, outdoor concerts and theater performances, fireworks, and more. But the main event is the St. Patrick’s Festival Parade that is always held in March 17. It’s a spectacular procession that marches through the heart of the city, spreading joy and holiday cheer.

Each festival parade has a theme that inspires its participants. The procession features vibrant floats, costumed characters, marching bands from Ireland and abroad, dancers, and more. Ireland’s leading pageant companies bring imagination to life with spectacular performance, providing spectators with an unforgettable experience. The parade and the festival showcase the talent of Irish people and the country’s cultural heritage.

In 2021, the event was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dublin St. Patrick’s Festival

Photo: Mary O Toole




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