St Patrick's Day

London St Patrick's Festival

Londonwide
Not ticketed (Free)

Come and enjoy the craic as we celebrate the Irish community and culture across London in March.

There’ll be art and talks at City Hall, history trails through central London, music and poetry on the Underground, Irish film screenings, and of course, the parade and festival in Trafalgar Square.  

Keep checking here for news of our headline act and special guests soon.

Browse the event programme

 

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Event information

Watch highlights from St Patrick's Day 2016 (video)

Over 125,000 people marked St Patrick's Day by watching the parade or celebrating in Trafalgar Square. Watch the video to see how much fun was had - and get excited for the three day celebration in 2017!

Watch our 2016 St Patrick's Day celebration

London St Patrick's Festival finale, 19 March, Trafalgar Square

Jarlath Regan, one of the most prolific Irish stand-up comedians of the past decade will be your host for St Patrick’s Day celebrations. The packed line-up includes performances by West End stars, a Big St. Patrick’s Céilí and exciting new Irish acts. There’ll also be a festival house band, plus special guests and community choirs from London and Dublin.

Keep checking here for news of our headline acts and special guests soon. 

Tea Tent 

If you need to take some time out, pop in for tea and cake wrapped up in warm Irish chat!

Community Stalls

Learn about the work community and sports organisations do in London to support Irish people and showcase Irish sport and culture.

Street Food Market 

Did you know St Patrick’s Day was traditionally known as the day of feasting? That means it’s a great excuse to try some delicious food and drink from Ireland.

To whet your appetite, last year’s mouth-watering array of tasty treats included Irish black pudding, Scotch eggs, Irish fried chicken sarnies and American-style Irish beef-burgers! Top Irish chef John Relihan was the star culinary attraction in 2016. This year promises to be even bigger! 

 

Girl holding the Irish flag on St Patrick's Day in Trafalgar Square

St Patrick's Parade, 19 March, central London

Every year, we encourage people to line the streets from Piccadilly to Trafalgar Square at midday to cheer on the annual parade.

If you’ve not been before, it’s a sight to behold. There’ll be everything from London Irish sports clubs and dance schools to marching bands, community groups and pageantry. This year, we’ll also be welcoming master storytellers Macnas. They’re renowned for putting on big, bold visual spectacles. So don’t miss it!

The Shadow Lighter by Macnas

Want to take part in the parade? Apply now

We welcome entries from people on their own through to walking groups. We also accept vehicle entries from motorbike clubs to cars, buses and trucks!

Your entry may include:

Walking

  • Individual people in fancy dress
  • Walking groups (coordinated costumes, themed, using banners and props)
  • Dancing/marching groups (choreographed routines able to change pace on request)

Vehicles

  • Trucks
  • Open top buses
  • Cars (branded, classic, convertibles)
  • Motorbikes/cycles

How much does it cost?

  Walking group Float
Charity or community group £0 £0
Private sector £150 £300

Fees include VAT but don’t include costs for vehicles / other materials. These are your responsibility.

Please note applying doesn’t guarantee entry to the 2017 parade. All entries will be assessed first. We will notify successful applicants by the end of February. 

Application process

You must apply by 15 February. We will send you more information about the day briefing, check and driver guidelines (where applicable) once you’ve been accepted.

Download the St Patrick's Day Parade 2017 Entry Form

Irish walking tours, 17 - 19 March, central London and Camden

Enjoy one of our very special free walks to celebrate Ireland’s national patron saint. These specially commissioned tours will be led by Tony McDonnell, London Blue Badge Tour Guide.

To book your place call Tony on 07850 184790.

Walk 1: Terrible Beauty

Friday 17 March, 2pm

From the 1916 rebellion in London to independence and empire, this tour has it all.  After Dublin, London was the city most connected to the Easter Rising. Not just as the seat of government from which the rebels fought to break free but through the deep connections many held with this city. This lively tour will turn the walk from Trafalgar Square to Whitehall into an amazing journey through the changes released by the rebellion. This is the London side of the story. Come and relive the excitement of those times.

Meet at South side of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square.

Walk 2: Where the String Broke

Saturday 18 March, 2pm

From dancing and drinking to finding somewhere to doss, Camden is probably the capital of Irish London. Find ballrooms, pubs, churches, hostels and the characters who gave this place its vibrant Irish reputation for so long. Come and hear about lumpers, impresarios, navvies, writers and musicians on this fascinating walk. 

Meet at Camden Town Tube station (Kentish Town Road exit).       

Walk 3: The Emerald City

Sunday 19 March, 2pm

This stroll takes in Ludgate Hill, along Fleet Street, into the Temple and ends in Covent Garden. Come and discover some amazing Irish connections and meet some of the great names of the Irish past. Stopping at pubs, churchyards, statues, courthouses and theatres – this walk will bring Irish London to life. Prime Ministers, politicians, press barons, poets, playwrights, revolutionaries and aristocrats - all play their part in this amazing story.  

Meet at main steps of St Paul's Cathedral.  

Irish music and poetry on the Underground, 17 March

Enjoy Irish-themed musical performances and poetry at Victoria, Waterloo, Tottenham Court Road and Covent Garden Tube stations on 17 March.

Watch singers perform at Tottenham Court Road in 2016.

Family treasure trail, 19 March, central London

A free adventure trail for the whole family.

With a special map and clues from Irish characters you'll meet along the way, this St Patrick's Day quest will take you from Half Moon Street to the National Portrait Gallery. This Trail is approximately 1.5 miles long and takes 1.5 hours to complete.

Irish art exhibition, 13 - 31 March, City Hall

Don’t miss this exhibition between father and son, John B and Lorcan Vallely on level 2 at City Hall, curated by Barbara Stanley.

John B Vallely

One of Ireland’s leading artists, and also a musician. Born in 1941 in County Armagh, he sold his first painting in 1958 at the age of 17. In 1968, The Irish Times called him "one of the more exciting Irish painters under the age of thirty". He has produced 4,000 individual pieces over his career. In 2000, there was a large retrospective of his paintings in the town of his birth. His subject matter remains linked to the past, but his feeling for paint is very modern. Themes include rural Ireland, its traditions, music, sports and mythology. 

Magical Days at the old Fleadh 6'x7' oil on canvas

John B, Vallely (b.1941), 'Magical Days at the old Fleadh'

Lorcan Vallely

Born in Armagh in 1979. After studying at Bath School of Art, he later went to Chelsea College of Art in 2004. In the past 11 years his work’s been shown in London, Glasgow, Bath and Oxford, in Italy and throughout Ireland. In summer 2014, he returned to Armagh to set up a studio and continue working as a full-time artist. He mainly uses charcoal, and acrylic to emphasise light and shade. This tonal quality gives his work an almost three-dimensional effect.  His unique style is instantly recognisable. 

Lorcan Vallely (b. 1979), Cross Country Race

Lorcan Vallely (b. 1979), 'Cross Country Race'

www.irishartinlondon.com

London primary schools: parade banner design competition

We’re inviting children from London’s primary schools to design a banner for London’s St Patrick’s Day Parade. The winning banner will be carried in this year’s St Patricks Day Parade on Sunday 19 March as it travels through central London.

The parade is now in its 15th year and more than 50,000 people watch as it passes by. With pageantry, floats, marching bands, sports clubs and Irish dancing schools, it’s a wonderful sight.

The procession makes its way down Piccadilly, on a 1.5-mile (2.4km) route. It takes in some of London’s most famous landmarks, including The Ritz, Piccadilly Circus, and Trafalgar Square and onto Whitehall. 

  • The overall winner will see their banner made up to full size and carried in the parade on 19 March. Winners can also help carry the banner on the day.
  • All winners will receive a prize. A range of art materials will be given to different age groups. Other prizes may be awarded for groups winners. A minimum of 10 prizes will be available. There will be no alternative to the prizes.
  • The work of the winners will be collected and photographed, then shown at City Hall from 13-30 March. Original works should be collected by winners / their parents / teachers.

TV presenter Dermot O’ Leary will head the judging panel.

The closing date is 1 March 2017 and entries are subject to the terms and conditions

 

Enter now >>

Other events - more details soon

Irish Film Screenings 

Watch the latest and greatest Irish films and animation, with a London St Patrick's Festival programme specially curated by Irish Film London.

Lecture Night, 13 March, City Hall

In 2016, Professor Mary McAlesse was interviewed on the theme of ‘Modern Ireland’s Changing Faces’ at the Irish Cultural Centre, Hammersmith. Watch this space for details of this year’s event at City Hall.