St Patrick's Day Festival: A guide to the best events

From a cúpla focail to slam poetry, here's the best of what's going on for the next few days

St Patrick's Day Festival: A guide to the best events

[Facebook/St Patrick's Festival Ireland]

While all weather reports indicate it’ll be a bit more fliuch than luck of the Irish come Friday’s festivities, there are still many events taking place around the country to honour the St Patrick’s Day festival.

The range of Irish-themed events is enough to rouse even the most dampened spirits, so here’s Newstalk’s pick of the best and most promising way for all the family to spend the three-day weekend.

Thursday, March 16th

  • The Past is the Present: Our Culture Surrounds Us

Where and when: 1pm at The Little Museum of Dublin, 15 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2

What is it: NCAD’s Lisa Godson will run a series of fascinating lunchtime talks and workshops throughout the entire festival. The topics will explore through Irish writing and music how the country and its society have changed, as reflected in the everyday objects that inhabit our daily lives.

How to attend: Book tickets (max four per person) on the St Patrick’s Festival website, but bear in mind the free tickets do not include access to the museum’s regular exhibits.

  • Festival Céilí

Where and when: The rather exact 4.29pm at Earlsford Terrace, Dublin 2

What is it: Anyone in the mood for a bit of a jig is invited to pull on their dancing shoes and jump into the world’s biggest outdoor céilí. Novices need not fear, even beginners are welcome to come and learn the steps, soaking up the Irish culture and music on the streets of Dublin.

How to attend: It’s a free event, so make your way to Earsford Terrace.

  • Greening the City

Where and when: Across the cities of Ireland from 6pm

What is it: It’s not just the rest of the world that sees its iconic buildings lit up in shades of neon green on Paddy’s Day, with the nation’s most iconic pieces of architecture taking on a patrician pallor too. After the sun goes down, take a stroll through town and see which ones are making the rest not so green with envy.

How to attend: Get out and about and see for yourself.

  • Pop-up Gaeltacht

Where and when: Across a number of pubs on Dame Lane and Dame Court in Dublin 2 from 8pm

What is it: Even if the most you can muster is a somewhat slurred ‘Sláinte’, make the most of the Gaeilge you’ve got by attending this Irish-language pop up event.

How to attend: Make your way, foclóir in hand, to Dame Lane.

Friday, March 17th

  • Discovering EPIC and Dublin’s Docklands

Where and when: From 10am at the EPIC Irish Emigration Museum at the CHQ Building on Customs House Quay, Dublin 1

What is it: Journey through Docklands, explore the original port of Dublin and learn about this fascinating part of the city, its people, history and industry with EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum. Take part in treasure hunts, walks and talks with Turtle Bunbury and Dublin Dock Workers Preservation Society or research your family tree at The Irish Family History Centre.

How to attend: This is a free and ticketed event, so find details here.

  • Patrick’s Day Festival Parade

Where and when: Weaving through Dublin city from Parnell Square, starting at 12.01pm

What is it: Ireland You Are…is the theme for the2017 Festival Parade which will weave its way through the heart of the capital city in a flourish of colour and flair.  Marvel as Ireland’s finest street-theatre companies swirl by with fantastical pageantry and raucous performances. 

Watch as the finest of Irish street theatre companies bring this theme to life with their spectacular creations, pageantry and performance.

How to attend: A free event, but expect crowds. A number of changes have been made to the parade route, find details here.

  • In the Footsteps of St Patrick – A Walking Tour

Where and when: At the statue of Molly Mallone on the corner of Suffolk and Andrew Streets, at 2.15pm.

What is it: Enjoy very special walks in celebration of Ireland’s national patron saint, in the company of professional and enthusiastic guides, led by the renowned Dublin historian and author Pat Liddy. See the places that most tourists and many Dubliners miss! Discover the fascinating truth behind the legend of St. Patrick and the Dublin of his time. The tour takes in ancient sites around the city’s two great medieval cathedrals and includes admission to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

How to attend: Visit to secure a place. Tours are also available in German.

Saturday, March 18th

  • #JJinstarail Goes West – The Mystery Tour

Where and when: Departs from Heuston Station at 9am, after registration.

What is it: Courtesy of the Festival join #JJCOMMUNITY, founders of the largest global Instagram photo community on a mystery adventure to the Wild Atlantic Way. Learn, snap and share with expert photographers Kevin Kuster and Josh Johnson on this JJinstarail day trip away to a surprise location.

Connect with other photo-lovers and most importantly meet new friends as you are brought on a magical visual and aural journey out of the heart of the city to the mystery location. Once you reach your destination, the JJCommunity team and fellow photographers will snap until the sun sets, before either returning to Dublin.

How to attend: Get your tickets for the free event here while they last.

  • Festival Treasure Hunt

Where and when: It kicks off at 10am at City Hall, Dame Street, Dublin 2

What is it: Designed to take 1 hour and 45 minutes, this sprawling exercise in city sleuthing and eagle-eyed vision will see teams of four competing to win fantastic prizes. Answer all the questions, collect stamps from Festival staff and return with all your answers to claim the honour and the glory.

How to attend: Sign-up in advance online here or turn up at City Hall on the day.

  • The St Patrick’s Ciné-Concert at the IFI

Where and when: From 2pm at the Irish Film Institute, Eustace St, Dublin 2

What is it: St. Patrick’s Ciné-Concert is a programme of short silent films inspired by Saint Patrick with live accompaniment from harpist Cormac de Barra and percussionist, whistle and flute player, Éamonn de Barra.

The programme will include a colourful montage of St Patrick’s Festivities from bygone days – pageants, parades and performances in Ireland and from as far afield as New York and Melbourne.

How to attend: Tickets (€6-8) are available on the IFI website.

  • Young Blood: The Beats & Voices of Our Generation

Where and when: In the National Concert Hall, with doors open from 7.30pm

What is it: When the rhythms, the musings and the mutterings of a young Irish generation intertwine, it’s bound to be one of those special nights you just have to witness. See and hear fresh Irish voices including Emmet Kirwan, the Rusangano Family, and many more.

How to attend: Tickets, starting at €18, are available from the NCH website.

Sunday, March 19th

  • GPO Witness History: Object and Artefact Authentication

Where and when: From 10am at GPO Witness History, Lower O’Connell St, Dublin 1

What is it: Have you got any diaries, medals, uniforms or objects related to the 1916 Rising, War of Independence or the Irish Civil War? If so GPO Witness History is offering a rare opportunity to have your items appraised free of charge. Items will be examined and a historical context provided along with some conservation tips and further research suggestions.

How to attend: Find more details here.

  • The Festival Big Day Out

Where and when: Around Merrion Square, Dublin 2, from 11.55am

What is it: Running for six hours, Merrion Square comes alive with a vibrant street carnival, bursting with street theatre, music, aerial performances, workshops, crafts, Irish language activities and more.

How to attend: It’s a free event, so turn up on the day.

  • St Patrick’s Festival 5K Road Race

Where and when: Midday at St Stephen’s Green

What is it: In honour of St Patrick chasing the snakes out of Ireland, chase away any hangovers with a brisk 5k run. The course takes you through the heart of beautiful Georgian Dublin and is suitable for families, fun runners and dedicated athletes. You can be assured of a lively atmosphere as street performers, face painters and musicians will be on hand to entertain, and spectators line the route to cheer you on.

How to attend: For more information, price and route details visit Metro St. Brigid’s Athletics Club’s website.

All of us at Newstalk wish Irish people everywhere a very safe and happy St Patrick’s Day.

[Image credits: St Patrick's Festival website]

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