Luck is playing on the side of the Irish as St Patrick’s Day falls on a long weekend and festival organisers hope to host almost half a million people. While St Patrick’s Day has always been a holiday, this year the Irish government has declared March 18 too as a public holiday in recognition of everything that the people went through during the pandemic. Irish people from across the country and the world are excited to come together and celebrate.
The theme for this year is ‘Connections’. “The connection will be people coming into Dublin and being able to celebrate in person together, for the first time in three years,” says Festival Director Anna McGowan. After online celebrations for last two years due to the pandemic, the Irish are yearning to form connections offline. Even the online mode brought people together and kept the aura of the festival alive, although in a subdued manner.
Apart from the iconic National St Patrick’s Day parade, a new event has been added to the festival called Festival Quarters. A day to night urban Festival for all, the Festival Quarters will be organised at Collins Barracks at the National Museum. This will also host an Irish Food and Craft Village which will create a space to be a part of Irish culture, taste the delicious food and drinks produced in Ireland and form bonds over the same. Apart from this, the Festival Quarter will also host events every night for adults. There is an exciting line-up of artists from Ireland including Lyra and Dublin folk singer, Damien Dempsey. The quarter will also play host to a Céilí Mór, a massive traditional Irish music and dance session. Tickets will be on sale from February 11.
While the Irish clearly know how to party, the festival also aims to focus on wellness. Breathe Festival will take place at the grounds of the Law Society. For people who are unable to visit, SPF TV, the festival’s virtual television station will be active on the festival website. To make sure guests are constantly entertained, there will be many St Patrick’s Festival supported live events and club nights across Dublin.
Even outside Dublin, visitors can witness parades in every single city in the country and get a gist of local celebrations. The Dublin Parade starts attracting crowds from early morning and people even get ladders to get a better view. If one wants a better view, grandstand tickets are available at EUR 77 (INR 700). The parade would last for two hours, after which many people begin the job of celebrating with the first pint of Guinness. Post this, they can head down to the various events happening at the Festival Quarter. Dublin is all set to be shut down for four days and become a carnival zone.
Ireland has had a massive impact on the culture of this world and with St Patrick’s Day approaching, one can also expect to see parades and celebrations in other countries such as the USA. Lesser-known celebrations take place in countries including Montserrat, Argentina, Japan, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Russia. Last year, 690 sites across the world turned green with the assistance of light effects as a part of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative. Ireland Tourism is glad to have the Festival back as it usually kickstarts the tourist season in Dublin. Ireland is reliant on its tourism sector and is trying to revive the same as the pandemic dies down.