St. Patrick’s Festival launches Biggest Ever Festival Programme for 2017

16th – 19th March 2017: www.stpatricksfestival.ie

Celebrating our national holiday, St. Patrick’s Festival will bring together 3,000 artists, musicians, dancers, poets and performers in a stunning programme with over 30 events spanning four days and nights.  The theme for St. Patrick’s Festival 2017 is Ireland You Are and it looks to celebrate Ireland as a culturally diverse, complex and brave society, notwithstanding its challenges, yet with strengths and characteristic traits. From cathedrals to classrooms, the city will reverberate with an evocative programme of mesmerising music, powerful performances, intriguing walks and inspiring talks.

The Festival has commissioned Stephen James Smith, a Dublin poet and playwright central to the rise of the vibrant spoken word genre, to write a new poem, entitled ‘My Ireland’ in response to the theme. An overarching, edgy, yet celebratory narrative of Ireland, the poem is accompanied by a short film by Director Myles O’Reilly, arranged and mixed by Conor O’Brien (Villagers), music by Colm Mac Con Iomaire and Loah, Saint Sister, Eithne Ní Chatháin aka Inni-K and Ye Vagabonds accompanying. View the video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqEZBOzC3e4.

Attracting over 100,000 overseas visitors, the four day Festival is funded by Fáilte Ireland, Dublin City Council and Department Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. Without doubt one of the highlights of the national celebrations, the Festival Parade at 12 noon, 17thMarch, manifests the vision and talents of artists, designers and performers of all ages in response to the Festival theme. Community groups and pageant companies from across Ireland will present the rich textures of Irish heritage through a variety of performances and street theatre around such subjects as Ireland’s magical faerie stories, ancient mythical tribes, trailblazing pirates and the splendid living landscape. It will wind through the heart of Dublin City bursting with colour, whimsical theatrics and lively musical scores from Irish and international bands alike.

Susan Kirby, St. Patrick’s Festival CEO said “During this important decade of commemoration St. Patrick’s Festival prepares to create a snapshot of contemporary Ireland through our programme of creative cultural events. Ireland’s rich history has been reflected upon in recent years and has shown our resilience, humour and compassion as a people. Being Irish today extends beyond these shores through our diaspora and through the new and emerging cultures in our country today. We want the 2017 programme to showcase an authentic picture of contemporary Ireland with an inspiring myriad of events that capture this moment in time.”

Take the opportunity at the time of our national holiday celebrations to explore our capital city and join over 4,000 other explorers on this year’s Treasure Hunt (Saturday, March 18th) traversing the Liffey and visiting places of historical and contemporary interest.  Still outdoors enjoy the unique experience of a free outdoor film screening of the Oscar nominated In America, in the beautiful surrounds of the newly renovated medieval Swords Castle in partnership with Fingal County Council on Thursday 16th March. Enjoy the finest of our island cuisine up the road in Howth Village, at the Dublin Bay Prawn Festival from Friday 17th to Sunday 19th March.

Sunday, 19th March will see Merrion Square come alive with a vibrant day-long  street carnival; the Festival Big Day Out  is set to burst with street theatre, music, aerial performances, arts and crafts, circus, science in the Science Foundation Ireland Science Zone … AND a 50FT giant whale and real-life mermaid! Enter a world of fantasy, sword fighting and monster making, where the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature’s Citywide Read ‘Knights of the Borrowed Dark’ takes up residence.

As Ireland has evolved in many incarnations in recent years so too has St. Patrick’s Festival. This year for the first time in 9 years the Festival has a new brand identity that reflects the confidence of a contemporary Ireland inspired and informed by its past and looking positively towards its future and its place and people in an international context.

The full programme of events for St. Patrick’s Festival is available on www.stpatricksfestival.ie