Belfast preparing for return of St Patrick’s Day celebrations
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The new look programme, which will build on the success of last year’s approach, will see Custom House Square host a free concert on Thursday 16 March, organised by The Duncairn Arts Centre.
Headlined by award-winning singer/songwriter Lisa Hannigan, the family-friendly, alcohol-free event will also see performances by trad supergroup Jiggy who mix Irish traditional music, world rhythms and cutting-edge dance grooves, ethnic dance group Shamrock Bhangra and internationally acclaimed folk singer David Keenan.
There will be free face painting, circus performers, and balloon artists and buskers to keep little ones entertained, as well as a selection of food vendors on site.
And, on St Patrick’s Day (17 March), the annual parade organised by Beat Carnival will snake its way through the city centre – a colourful pageant of costumes, music, dance, circus and theatrical performances.
Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Tina Black, stated: “I am so looking forward to everything that’s in store for St Patrick’s Day this year; the city is going to be buzzing. As a UNESCO City of Music, not surprisingly music will be at the heart of our celebrations; with musicians from across the island of Ireland taking part in Féile’s trad trail in venues across the city. And, our St Patrick’s Eve concert looks set to be a fantastic evening and one that all the family can enjoy.
“I’m really excited about leading the St Patrick’s Day parade and seeing the city come alive with colour and performances. The parade is always a huge hit with hundreds of people lining the route and soaking up the atmosphere.
“I would encourage everyone to come and join in the fun and be part of this vibrant celebration of our city.”
The theme of this year’s parade is ‘Voices of Belfast’ and it will celebrate Belfast’s vibrant musical heritage including folk, disco, punk and electronic. The parade will leave City Hall at 1.30pm on Friday 17 March, through Chichester Street, Victoria Street, High Street, Castle Place, Donegall Place and back to City Hall.
Féile’s Trad Trail will take place from 10-19 March in venues across Belfast’s Gaeltacht Quarter and city centre.
St George’s Market is also getting in on the craic this year, with a St Patrick’s Day themed market on Friday 17 March with live traditional Irish music performances from members of Ards Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann; and 2 Royal Avenue will host a free concert by Celtic Storm on Saturday 18 March.
Meanwhile, community groups from across the city are participating in an oral history project delivered by MayWe Events, which will culminate in an oral histories showcase at 2 Royal Avenue during March.
Tickets for the free concert at Custom House Square on Thursday 16 March will be available via Visit Belfast’s website from Monday 6 March at 10am.
For more information on the full programme of St Patrick’s Day events, including ticketing info, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/stpatricks