Armagh’s Home of St Patrick Festival runs from Friday, March 6 until Tuesday, March 17.
Ireland’s ecclesiastical capital has announced details of a 12-day festival spectacular to celebrate the life and times of St Patrick, the island’s world-famous patron saint.
Promising a rich, lively and varied showcase of culture, music, song, art, drama, dance, exhibitions and family fun, the Home of St Patrick Festival begins an enthralling extended run on Friday 6 March as part of this year’s celebration.
Renowned for converting Ireland to Christianity centuries ago, it was in Armagh that Patrick began his Christian mission and his legacy lives on in this ancient, unique and beautiful place.
Supported by Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland, this year’s programme is a feast for the senses – some of the city’s most established landmark buildings and attractions are involved in serving up a programme of eclectic entertainment designed to suit the interests of every visitor.
From the two St Patrick’s Cathedrals, The Market Place Theatre, The Shambles Yard, Palace Demesne, Armagh Robinson Library, Navan Centre & Fort, Armagh County Museum and Solitude Park in Banbridge, there are almost 40 events to choose from.
Top highlights this year include internationally acclaimed singer Brian Kennedy in concert – live at the atmospheric and beautiful Church of Ireland Cathedral, a thrilling opportunity to experience a dramatic St Patrick’s Day sunrise at Navan Centre & Fort and a captivating celebration of St. Patrick at the Roman Catholic Cathedral led by composer and presenter John Anderson and a host of visiting international choirs.
The Big Telly Theatre Company also brings its inspiring, eclectic and highly entertaining production ‘The Worst Café in the World’ to The Shambles Yard following a successful debut at the Belfast International Arts Festival.
Welcoming this year’s festival Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, Cllr Mealla Campbell, said: “The real story of St. Patrick starts in Armagh. His legacy, impact and influence on the city have shaped this ancient, beautiful and compelling place and this thoughtful, provoking and entertaining festival programme of events reflect his importance to this city.
“Famed for its Christian heritage, landscapes, its Georgian past, iconic cathedrals and a year-round programme of award-winning festival events, Armagh is a proud and vibrant city which welcomes thousands of international visitors every year and I’m excited by the quality and range on offer at this year’s Home of St Patrick Festival.”
The Market Place Theatre plays a major role in this year’s Home of St Patrick Festival and features a burst of entertainment highlights including a screening of Oscar-nominated animated drama ‘The Breadwinner’ and a new international artistic exhibition, ‘Sweeney Astray’ by Northern Ireland-born artist Desmond Kinney which is based on Seamus Heaney’s version of the medieval Irish work ‘Buile Suibhne’.
With a series of family fun days, children’s events, the parade, workshops, lectures and religious services taking place in St. Patrick’s chosen city, there is every reason – and almost 40 reasons – to visit this year.
“We look forward to welcoming everyone this year to follow in his footsteps and experience the myth and legend in a city that creates epic events,” Lord Mayor Mealla Campbell said.
To download the full programme and for more information on how to get to Armagh, places to visit, stay, eat and drink, log on to www.visitarmagh.com/festivals/st-patricks or phone 028 3752 1800 (or 048 3752 1800 from the Republic of Ireland – amended per jurisdiction).