Irish Olympians and Paralympians join St Patrick's Day celebrations

15 March 2012

Irish Olympians and Paralympians set to join Mayor's St Patrick's Day celebrations

Sports stars join feast of Irish talent, including music from Gemma Hayes and the High Kings and dance from Hammerstep

As the capital prepares to host the greatest show on earth this summer, Irish Olympians and Paralympians will attend London's St Patrick's Day celebrations, which this year take place on Sunday 18 March. Organised by the Mayor of London with support from presenting partner 02, the free event will be a colourful and lively showcase of Irish musical and dance talent, with a line-up that includes award-winning musician Gemma Hayes, the platinum selling High Kings and dance fusion from Hammerstep.

Large crowds are expected to line the streets for the parade as floats and costumed walkers make their way from the top of Piccadilly towards Trafalgar Square, where festival goers will be treated to live music and dance, as well as Irish crafts, food and drink.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'I'm delighted to once again be backing London's St Patrick's Day celebrations. That they are amongst the biggest outside Ireland reflects the longstanding contribution of many generations of Irish people to London life. Not only have they enriched our culture with the craic, they have brought their intellect and imagination to our professions and created wealth and employment - vital assets for our city's prosperity.

'In the year that we host the 2012 Games our celebrations for St Patrick will be even more special thanks to the presence of great Irish Olympians and Paralympians. Looking ahead to a thrilling summer of sport, as our friends and neighbours, they can expect a warm welcome and like athletes from around the world the enthusiastic support from home fans living here in the capital. Lá Fhéile Phádraig Shona Duit!'

Joining this year's celebrations will be Ireland Olympic Chef de Mission and Olympic silver medallist Sonia O'Sullivan, along with home-grown Irish gymnast Kieran Behan, high-jumper Deirdre Ryan and Olympic Silver Medallist boxer Kenneth Egan, who have all qualified to represent Ireland at the London 2012 Games. Paralympians will include cyclist Katie George-Dunleavey; world champion tandem cyclists Catherine Walsh and Fran Meehan; Ireland's rowing team, Kevin Du Toit, Sarah Caffrey, Shane Ryan, Anne Marie McDaid and Helen Arbuthnot; swimmer Ellen Keane; and Boccia World Championship gold medallist Padraic Moran.

Olympic Council of Ireland President Pat Hickey said: 'The Irish Olympic team salutes the Irish in Britain on the occasion of the St Patrick’s Day Festival. This superb event is the start of the team’s journey to the London Olympics in July and it is great that several of our Olympians will participate in the Festival Parade to highlight what will be the sporting event of the year.'

Liam Harbison, Paralympic Council of Ireland CEO and Chef de Mission for the 2012 team said: '2012 is a huge year for Irish sport but also for the city of London. The eyes of the world will be on the city for a stunning six-week festival of sport and the Paralympics in London is a huge opportunity for the Irish Diaspora to become aware of and celebrate the elite abilities of Ireland’s Paralympians. We are delighted to be here supporting the St Patrick's Festival with you in London and we look forward to receiving your support later this year.'

The main stage in Trafalgar Square will be hosted by Irish stand-up comedian Rob Broderick. He will introduce award winning musician Gemma Hayes, whose much anticipated fourth studio album, Let it Break, is to be released in May. Also taking to the stage will be Ireland's folk band of the year, the platinum selling High Kings, the names of whose members - Brian Dunphy, Martin Furey, Darren Holden and Finbar Clancy – highlights their musical pedigree.

Coming out of Boston, Massachusetts, and Sydney, dance group Hammerstep will bring their unique fusion of traditional Irish step, tap, and hip hop dance forms. Also taking to the stage will be The Chakras; country and Irish musical group Crystal Swing from Lisgoold, Cork; and traditional Irish trio the Mulkerrin Brothers, originally from the Aran Islands. Four Men and a Dog, who first came to prominence in County Derry, will be playing their lively and eclectic blend of traditional Irish music, rap, Southern rock, jazz, blues, bluegrass, polka, country swing, and even salsa. The celebrations would not be complete without a few jigs and reels, which will be played by Comhaltas.

The Mayor's St Patrick's Day celebrations are being organised in partnership with the Council of Irish Counties Association. The presenting partner is 02, supporting partners are the Irish Tourist Board and Bord Bia and media partner is the Irish Post.

The celebrations are one of the many free and exciting events the Mayor is presenting in the run up to a summer like no other and beyond. Be the first to find out what's happening. Sign up for updates at: ENDS



Event: St Patrick's Day Parade and Festival

Date: Sunday 18 March 2012

Time: Parade starts midday – Hyde Park Corner, Piccadilly, Haymarket, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall

Festival in Trafalgar Square – midday to 6pm

Entry: FREE

Information: 020 7983 4100


MAIN STAGE (subject to change)

12 noon Festival begins

The Chakras

12:40pm Crystal Swing


1:50pm Comhaltas/Mulkerrin Brothers

2:30pm Four Men and a Dog

3:10pm Hammerstep

3:50pm Gemma Hayes

4:45pm The High Kings



PARADE PARTICPANTS (subject to change)

The following have registered to take part in the parade:

Bill Aulsberry — Pacer


Cavan Association London

Clare Association London

Comhaltas Traditional Irish Music Group

Council of Irish County Associations London

Croydon Camogie Club

Donegal Association London

Dublin All Stars Marching Band

Dublin Association London

Emerald Society / London Fire Brigade

Essex Caledonian Pipe Band

Fermanagh Association London

Fr Murphy's Ladies Gaelic Football and Camogie Club

Galway Association London

Government of Japan

Green Isle Camogie Club

Hari Krishna/Food For All

Haringey Irish Cultural and Community Centre

Irish Community Services

Irish Olympians

Irish Paralympians

Irish Prison Service Pipe Band

Kildare Association London

Kilkenny Association

Leitrim Association London

Limerick Exiles Association

London Branch

London Irish Centre, Camden

London Irish RFC

London Kerry Association

London School of Samba

London Tipperary Association

London Wexford Association

Longford Association London

Mahogany Carnival Group

Mayo Association London

McGovern Brothers Haulage Ltd

Meath Association of London

Metropolitian Police Emerald Society

Michael Cusacks Camogie Club

Monaghan Association London

Morenada Intocables

MPS Emerald Society Pipe and Drums

Munster Rugby Supporters Club,

New Kilkenny Association London

North London Shamrocks Youth

Offaly Association CICA

Offaly Association London

Roscommon Association London


Shannon Academy of Irish Dance

Shannon Academy of Irish Dance

Sligo Association London

Southwark Irish Pensioners Project

St Catherine’s Marching Band, Killybegs, Co Donegal

St Kiernans Gaelic football club

The Cork Association

The Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith

Tir Chonaill Gaels GFC

Waterford Association London

Wicklow Association

And last but not least...St. Patrick himself!

Notes to editors

  1. The Mayor's St Patrick's Day celebrations are being organised in partnership with the Council of Irish Counties Association. The presenting partner is 02, with support from The Irish Tourist Board, Bord Bia and the Irish Post.
  2. The Mayor of London is hosting a huge programme of free events and celebrations to add to the excitement of 2012, including ones especially commissioned for a citywide programme of free events that will add to and complement the London 2012 Festival. They include Secrets Hidden London, with artists and performers transforming hidden and lesser known locations; Showtime, an outdoor arts festival in high streets, parks and open spaces around the capital; and BT London Live, bringing live action from the Games, as well as sporting activities and entertainment to Hyde Park, Victoria Park and Trafalgar Square. News and information about the programme will appear on the website This will also feature events and happenings in the build up to a summer like no other, including the St George's Day and St Patrick's Day celebrations and the Russian Maslenitsa festival. To be the first to know what's happening, sign up or follow us at / /

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Press information is available from Ben McKnight on 020 7983 4071; email [email protected] (press only - not for publication)

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