Hands up who is looking forward to St. Patrick’s Day? Those of you who know me know that I’m mad about St. Patrick’s Day. From the small tractor-heavy village parades dotted around Ireland to the large city spectacles at home and abroad, I’ve visited or participated in many and loved them all. March 17th is one of my favourite days of the year, not least because I can break Lent, and I apply myself to this particular task with gusto. As the saying goes, ‘I’m giving up chocolate for Lent and I’m giving up Lent for St. Patrick’s Day!’
A new website called www.inspireme.ie can help you find parades to attend this year as it lists all of them in Ireland (no mean task as I well know!). From Arvagh in Cavan, to Youghal in Cork, all the parades are listed comprehensively to save hours of research. So all you have to do is pin a shamrock to your lapel, get your flags out and get ready to cheer!
Below is a snapshot of some of the activities happening around Ireland from the folks at www.inspireme.ie this coming weekend.
Westport are celebrating their birthday! They are marking 250 years since the foundation of the town. A full day’s festivities are planned for the 17th, with an open-air traditional session at 1.00pm followed by the parade, an open-air céilí and street musicians. On Saturday, the Harbour at Westport Quay street performers including Arcana’s giant U2 heads will entertain the crowds and there is a spectacular fireworks extravaganza planned at dusk.
Kilkenny are planning a five-day festival with events for all ages, including workshops, the Bulmers music trail, Ceili’s, St Patrick’s Day festival and more. This medieval city will be buzzing with traditional music, with concerts day and night, in various venues.
The Limerick parade is always a fantastic spectacle. But once the parade is over there is plenty more activities to keep you entertained for the weekend. A Trad Trail see musicians perform at various locations around the city from 16th-19th March. The Limerick International Band Championship takes place on Sunday the 19th at 12noon. If that’s not enough, on Saturday and Sunday, there is national hunt racing at Limerick racecourse, with seven races per day. Plenty of chances to see if the ‘Luck o’ the Irish’ has rubbed off on you!
Cork city will come to life for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Friday March 17th. You can also sample tasty treats at the pop up festival market, listen to some traditional Irish music at the Lee Sessions, take a tour, see an exhibition or go to a show. Plenty to do in the city by the Lee…
So you basically have no excuse not to get out there on Friday and hit a few choice parades. And you’d never know, dress up and you might even get invited to join in!