Lá Fhéile Pádraig is among us and while we’re in for another unconventional day for the second year in a row, there is still lots to celebrate. Despite cancelled parades and closed pubs, there are still plenty of people working hard to bring us a grand ol’ celebration of our patron saint and the national day of this emerald isle. Events, performances and workshops will be available online, so consider this the official rundown.
“There are over 100 events taking place, all of which are accessible online.”
Thinking back to 2020, St. Patrick’s Day probably wasn’t the most memorable of all days. Or maybe it was particularly memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. This year, we’ve warmed to the idea of virtual living. With that said, this Paddy’s day, organisers know what to expect and deliver in the hope that this year’s festival will reawaken our spirits and bring a bit of light to the current lockdown gloom. The theme of this year’s festival is Dúisigh Eire! (Awaken Ireland!). With a year’s experience in the art of computer-generated fun, there are over 100 events taking place, all of which are accessible online at stpatricksfestival.ie throughout the week beginning on the 12th of March. Here are some of our top pics.
What’s in store for the music lovers among us, you might ask? We all know that it’s not St. Patrick’s day without a bit of trad music. This year’s programme features Seoda:Celtic Connections, a celebration of traditional music and it’s cultural significance across Ireland and Scotland and Wales, three countries deeply entrenched in folk music. This event will include performances by The Breath singer, Ríognach Connolly and guitarist Stuart McCallum, all of whom will represent Ireland. Presenting Scotland is the award-winning folk musician Bríghde Chaimbeul, and there will be a performance from SuperFurry Animals’ frontman and Gruff Rhys from Wales. If you are looking for a side of history with your music, then look no further than the St. Patrick Show, a musical and visual tale from ancient to modern times. This 45-minute show will take place on the 17th of March at the Saint Patrick Centre. It promises to take us on a journey consisting of stories and legends from St. Patrick’s time right up to the present day. Directed by Belinda Murphy with a talented Irish cast, it is not to be missed.
“One of the best things about these events is the opportunity for the creatives of our country to showcase their talents.”
As the so-called land of Saints and Scholars, you can bet that there is plenty out there for the fans of history, literature and film. One of the best things about these events is the opportunity for the creatives of our country to showcase their talents. If you’re interested in Irish film, be sure to check out Ireland’s Young Filmmakers Programme. It is made up of five 15-minute film collections demonstrating the best short films made by Ireland’s young film producers. With regard to literature, there is a great selection of events in English and Irish. If you consider yourself a bit of a bibliophile, you’ll be sure to enjoy a reading of An Féileacán agus An Rí (The Butterfly and the King) by author Máire Zepf,composed with optional subtitles in English. This is a contemporary retelling of the ancient Irish myth that has been around for over a thousand years. The book itself is beautifully illustrated by Shona Shirley McDonald and well worth the read. Máire Zepf will also be giving young writers some tips on how they, too, can be inspired by mythology to create their own short stories.
As our island is growing ever more multicultural, it is fantastic to see the amount of events on offer in which participants will perform pieces from their native lands, giving us a chance to learn about and celebrate different backgrounds. This wonderful concoction of culture will include Indian Classical Dance performing BharataNatyam, a popular dance tradition in India in which the performer communicates a character being portrayed as an inner character to the audience. This performance will be delivered by Rasajna Marepalli, as she portrays the praising of Hindu God Rama, showing how Lord Krishna kills evil. Other day-enriching performances will include Lithuanian folk dance, Rhythms of Brazil and a performance of La Diablada by the ensemble, Alma Boliviana.
A recent tradition that has proved pandemic-proof is Ireland’s Global Greening initiative promoted by Tourism Ireland. 2021 marks the twelfth year of this project in which cities across the globe light up their landmarks in green to celebrate our national day. From the Convention Centre in Dublin to the Sydney Opera House, this initiative let’s us celebrate alongside millions of people all over the world with roots here in Ireland. It is especially important during a time in which many of us have family abroad that we can’t see at the moment.
Lastly, the pièce de résistance of any St.Patrick’s Day: the parade. This year will be our second, and please God let it be the last, virtual parade. Much like last year, those of us either at home or abroad have the chance to participate in the RTÉ Virtual Parade by attending online and sharing our home parade with the hashtag #RTEvirtualparade. If you want to participate, get out your best green outfit and film your celebrations in your bedroom, kitchen, garden, or wherever. Just make sure to keep it local and keep it safe.
“Hopefully we can all look forward to celebrating together on the streets across the country as a nation in 2022, but for now let’s respect our frontline workers and all the vulnerable people in our communities by celebrating from the safety of our homes.”
There are so many fantastic events to choose from this year. This list is just a taste of what to expect. Hopefully we can all look forward to celebrating together on the streets across the country as a nation in 2022, but, for now, let’s respect our frontline workers and all the vulnerable people in our communities by celebrating from the safety of our homes. Keep an eye on the website (stpatricksfetival.ie) for more information and the schedules for all of the wonderful events available. Lá Fheile Padraig sona daoibh go léir.