Around 20,000 visitors are expected in Armagh for a six-day festival of events to celebrate Ireland’s Patron Saint, St Patrick, and which features a jam-packed programme of more than 25 music, song, dance, comedy, art, literature, theatre and family events across a variety of venues from Thursday 12th to Tuesday 17th March.
Supported by Armagh City and District Council, Ireland’s oldest city and world famous as the ‘City of St Patrick’, this year’s festival promises to be the biggest yet, with first-time performers Mary Coughlan, Stockton’s Wing topping the bill as part of a series of musical events at the Market Place Theatre in the run-up to the big day and the famous St Patrick’s Day Carnival Procession, concert and family fun day on Tuesday 17th March.
As one of the largest St Patrick’s events to take place anywhere on the island of Ireland, this year’s lively weekend of celebrations takes in 20 of the city’s best venues, as well as a busking festival on Saturday 14th March where musicians from across Northern Ireland will gather for the annual outdoor jamboree.
A four-day musical ‘Session Trail’ which features unrivalled live entertainment including traditional music and family-friendly sessions sets a lively tone when it kicks off on Friday, with performances taking place in many of Armagh’s welcoming bars, cafes and restaurants.
Featuring the very snakes which St Patrick tried to banish, Armagh’s historic Navan Fort will become a life-size interactive storyboard with an exciting dramatization, telling the story of the life of St Patrick and his decision to choose Armagh as the site of his first church.
For little festival-goers, Ireland’s foremost storytelling and song duo, Billy Teare and Kathleen O’Sullivan bring the magic of ‘The Story Tellin’ Man and the Songstress’, with their treasure trove of tall tales, myths and songs, to Armagh Public Library for a Friday event that children of all ages will enjoy.
The Market Place Theatre, Armagh City’s flagship performance centre, will be transformed into an official festival venue complete with three unique staging areas to accommodate the finest music, comedy and dance entertainment which includes performances from renowned acts including Ireland’s Mary Coughlan, Stockton’s Wing, PJ Gallagher and Kila, as well as Scotland’s Clanadonia, Celtic Storm and The Whistlin’ Donkeys.
Other highlights of Armagh’s legendary celebrations will also include performances by Belfast’s Arco String Quartet and one of Northern Ireland’s largest ensembles of traditional Irish music sessions by the 300 musicians that make up the world famous Armagh Pipers Club.
For a full list of everything that’s on and what events will require pre booked tickets, visit www.armagh.co.uk/saintpatrick.
Armagh Lord Mayor, Cathy Rafferty, says excitement surrounding the Festival – one of the biggest of its kind in Ireland – is already starting to build.
“We are exceptionally proud to be named Saint Patrick’s chosen city and we love welcoming the thousands of people who come each year to experience the electric atmosphere that always accompanies the festival,” she said.
The official programme for the 2015 event will appeal to all ages and interests and it is always a treat to watch everyone – young and old – get involved to celebrate our famous city’s legacy together.”
Armagh City is a perfect destination for a short break this Saint Patrick’s Festival as the place has something to suit every taste. Visitors have a wide range of accommodation options to choose from, including high quality hotels, bed & breakfast and self-catering accommodation.
Enjoy wonderful restaurants, take in an act at The Market Place Theatre, follow the session trail across the City and enjoy the Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations as you soak up the atmosphere of Ireland’s oldest City!