Mayor announces London is Open for St Patrick’s Day celebrations
Event: London’s St Patrick’s Day Festival
Dates: Friday 15 – Sunday 17 March (Parade and stage line-up on Sunday 17 March at 12pm)
Location: Across London
Media seeking accreditation for the festival need to register here: https://www.london.gov.uk/events/2019-03-15/london-st-patricks-day-festival-2019/press-accreditation-form
The Mayor of London has announced that the best of Irish arts, culture, food and music will be showcased next month as the capital marks St Patrick’s Day with a weekend of celebrations.
Spanning three days, from Friday 15 March to Sunday 17 March, London’s St Patrick’s Festival brings together Londoners and visitors to the capital to celebrate the contribution Irish people have made to the city.
The festival will culminate on Sunday with the world-renowned St Patrick’s Day parade, which will be led by this year’s Grand Marshal, actor James Nesbitt. Now in its 17th year, the parade attracts more than 50,000 people for a colourful procession of Irish marching bands from the UK, US and Ireland, energetic dance troupes and spectacular pageantry.
The parade ends at Trafalgar Square where there will be a world-class line-up of Irish culture and music on the main stage, compered by RTE and BBC TV presenter Angel Scanlon. Visitors to the square will see a showcase of London Irish talent of all generations including Enfield-based Feith an Cheoil school of Irish music, song and dance, Don Mescall who recently released his ‘Lighthouse Keeper’ album, as well as ‘Sample Answer’ the singer-songwriter from Dublin now based in London, and the London-Irish stalwarts Hungry Grass.
In addition, there will be a special family zone with games, arts and crafts and walkabout performances based on mythical stories from Ireland including characters like Pirate Queen Gráinne Mhaol and the giant Fionn MacChuaill. There will also be the best of Irish fare with fresh produce and traditional dishes such as Irish-style smoked fish and chips and Clonakilty black pudding on offer at the Irish Street Food Market.
New to the festival this year is a ‘pop-up’ Gaeltacht run by Conradh na Gaeilge i Londain, where people will be able to learn more about the Irish language. There will also be Irish dancing workshops and ‘have-a-go’ sessions for hurling, playing the bodhrán, the Irish drum and the uilleann pipes.
London’s Irish community will be central to the celebrations with the Irish Cultural Centre, the London Irish LGBT+ Network, the Council of County Associations and the Gaelic Athletic Association hosting stalls at Trafalgar Square.
Events across the three days also include an Irish Film Festival running at Regent’s Street Cinema, featuring a programme inspired by the theme #LondonisOpen. On Sunday bands and artists from the Irish community will be performing and busking at London Underground stations.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The Irish community has done so much to enrich London over many generations, making our capital a livelier, warmer and more vibrant place to live, work and visit.
“London's St Patrick's Day celebrations are not just a time for our city's Irish community, they also see Londoners from all backgrounds and visitors to the capital coming together to celebrate the contribution of the community.
“That's what occasions like this are all about - people from all communities embracing and celebrating each other’s cultures, showing that London is Open – open to people, open for business and open to new ideas.”
Julie Wakley, Tourism Ireland – Head of GB, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted to support the St. Patrick’s Festival in London, which is a celebration of the unique and close relationship shared between Great Britain and Ireland. This year we’re inviting people to fill their hearts with Ireland with the amazing Irish food, music and cultural activities that are part of the Mayor of London’s St. Patrick’s Festival, or even better they can take a flight or ferry and experience it for themselves on the island of Ireland itself.”
Mal Rogers, Editor Irish Post, said: “The Irish Post is delighted to be the main media partner at the St Patrick's Day festivities in London. Our Patron Saint's day is marked in Ireland, Britain and throughout the world, and we are honoured to play such a crucial role in the celebrations."
Notes to editors
The full programme will be updated at https://www.london.gov.uk/events/2019-03-15/london-st-patricks-day-festival-2019
To find out more about the St Patrick’s Film festival London, visit https://www.irishfilmfestivallondon.com/
Londoners are also being invited to take part in a photo call on Trafalgar Square to mark the annual celebrations, those wanting to take part or to find out more should visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/photo-call-to-celebrate-st-patricks-day-tickets-55273759302