The 2018 Home of Saint Patrick Festival is now well underway across counties Armagh and Down, with the region coming alive with the spirit of Ireland’s patron saint in a celebration of his life, work and influence.
The global programme has already brought international music, theatre and sport to many of the iconic locations throughout the two counties, and the festival runs until Monday, March 19 with plenty more to entice locals, visitors and tourists.
We have handpicked the top highlights from the festival programme still to appear, all details on all events can be found at www.homeofstpatrickfestival.com
The Rhythms for the Saint will be heard emanating from the Market Place Theatre in Armagh when drums from Asia, the Middle-East, Africa, Latin, North America, Europe and from across the island will celebrate the diverse rhythms of life in this specially curated show by percussionist Mark Wilson.
£10 per adult, £5 per child
The spiritual significance of Saint Patrick is not forgotten, so join the Archbishops of Armagh for the Saint Patrick’s Lecture, during which they will speak about what St Patrick means to them in a modern world and examine how St Patrick’s words still resonate for many of the challenges we face today.
That evening, ‘Saint Patrick’s Vigil’ will welcome guests to the Church of Ireland Cathedral for prayer, followed by a candlelit walk, led by Archbishop Richard Clarke, to the Roman Catholic Cathedral and a welcome by Archbishop Eamon Martin, symbolising the unity of the churches through the missionary work ofPatrick.
Celebrate the first light of St Patrick’s morning with the ancient people of Ulster at Navan Centre & Fort for the Sunrise with Patrick. The event will feature song and story casting an eye back to what life and faith may have been like before the arrival of Christianity. A breakfast is also included for all attendees.
Adults £5, children FREE
Throughout St Patrick’s Day, the areas of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough and Newry, Mourne and Down District Councils will come alive with colour and noise as fantastic carnival processions make their way through the major town and city centres. Armagh, Newry and Downpatrick will host spectacular displays, bringing communities from across the region together with residents and visitors in a celebration of local talent, dance and entertainment.
The festival closing concert will also take place in Newry, with the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland performing in the Town Hall at 7:30pm. Taking its inspiration from St. Patrick writing in his Confessio that it was literally ‘the voice of the Irish’ calling to him to return and introduce Christianity to Ireland, this concert will bring its own inspirational complement of up to 100 young musicians from across Ireland.
The festival programme draws to a close with a dramatic reading of Seamus Heaney’s Station Island at Down Arts Centre. Originally commissioned by the Lyric Theatre for the opening of the Heaney Centre, this production is directed by the Lyric’s Executive Producer Jimmy Fay, and melds the spoken word, film and sound to evoke the poet’s process of self-examination.
Tickets £10, concession £8
Unknown by many, St Patrick is also the patron saint of French fishermen and Nigeria and a new Food & Walking Tour will follow his footsteps around Armagh City, exploring links to fish, Nigeria and Ireland in the 5th Century with specially selected culinary delicacies and beverages. Tours take place at 11:00am and 3:00pm.
For more information and the full programme of events, go to www.homeofstpatrickfestival.com