Barry McGuigan to lead London's St Patrick's Day celebrations

13 March 2015

Barry McGuigan will be the Grand Marshall at this year's St Patrick's Day celebrations being organised by the Mayor of London on Sunday 15 March.

The boxing legend will head the colourful procession of Irish marching bands, energetic dance groups and spectacular pageantry, which will begin forming at Green Park and pass iconic locations from Piccadilly to Whitehall.

Over 70 community groups are taking part and the public are being urged to line the streets and cheer them on from midday.

Trafalgar Square will once again be going green, with a festival of traditional and contemporary Irish music, dance and performance, all celebrating the traditions and cultures of Ireland.

Smash hit West End musical The Commitments will be bringing its feel-good show to Trafalgar Square in what is promised to an unmissable performance.

Also taking to the stage will be the worldwide phenomenon that is Lord of the Dance, who will be showcasing their electrifying new show 'Dangerous Games' following a hugely successful West End run in 2014.

Irish rap artist Lethal Dialect will bring an urban edge to the main stage, joined by Cross Harbour and Jack L – plus some very special guests.

The house band of RTÉ's Late Late Show will be also be providing music throughout the day, along with guests. Four London artists will also perform on the main stage having taken part in the first St Patrick's Day talent competition.

Performers entering the competition needed to be of Irish descent, or bring an Irish inspired performance. The overall winner, as chosen by the audience on the day, will also win a prize of £500.

Visitors will be treated to the flavours of Irish cuisine at the food market, this year's vendors include: Broderick's, The Burren Smokehouse, The Jelly Bean Factory, Keogh's Farm, Kerrygold, Nomadic, The Foods of Athenry and Your Irish Shop.

This year marks the 150th anniversary since the birth of W.B. Yeats – widely considered to be one of the 20th century's greatest poets. To celebrate his life there will be readings from his work on the main stage by Irish ambassador to the UK, Daniel Mulkall, and Young Poet Laureate for London, Aisling Fahey.

To bring the festival to a close at 6pm, Nelson's Column will join other landmarks around the world and be lit green for St Patrick's Day.

The Mayor is also supporting the St Patrick's Day film festival, a free event which will take place at the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square from midday to 5.30pm on Sunday 15 March.

It is a unique chance to see a wide range of short films focused on Irish life and culture. Following the success of the first St Patrick's Day Ballroom Dance in 2014, Westminster Cathedral Hall will once again be providing the dance floor for people of all ages and abilities to dance the afternoon away to the sound of live Irish music.

Like all of the St Patrick's Day events, entry is free. It runs from 2pm to 6pm. City Hall will also host a public lecture on W.B. Yeats, presented by one of Ireland's best known historians, Professor Roy Foster on Tuesday 10 March at 7.30pm.

Extracts from Yeats' poetry is also being showcased as part of TfL's Poems on the Underground, as well as work by other Irish poets.

Irish themed walking tours are taking place on Sunday 15 and Tuesday 17 March, one beginning in Camden, focused on the Irish community in north London, the other starting from St Paul's Cathedral, focusing on luminaries such as Shaw, Wilde, Parnell, Yeats, Wolf-Tone and others.

City Hall will also be welcoming the Second Skin exhibition from the National Craft Gallery of Ireland from 16-25 March.

It is one of the key touring exhibitions in the Irish Design 2015, showcasing the quality of Irish design and internationally acclaimed Irish fashion designers.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: 'It's a pleasure to once again be supporting one of the greatest St Patrick's Day celebrations anywhere in the world. Our free event in the heart of the capital is a terrific opportunity for Londoners and visitors to embrace the traditions of Ireland, and celebrate everything the Irish have given to the city and continue to do. Have a terrific St Patrick's Day. Lá Fhéile Phádraig Shona Duit!'

The Mayor of London's St Patrick's Day celebrations are being organised in partnership with the Council of Irish Counties Association.

The presenting partner is O2, with support from Bord Bia, Kerrygold, Tourism Ireland, The Irish Post, RTE International iPlayer and The Rugby World Cup.

María Fernández Cuevas, Channel Marketing Manager for presenting partner O2, said: 'We are very happy to be returning sponsors of the St Patrick's Day Festival in Trafalgar Square. From the parade to the live music, it's a cracking day for all things Irish. O2 brings great benefits to festival goers as they can call Ireland from just 1p. Look out for our stand on the day to enter our lucky dip competition, take a memento home from our Irish themed photo booth and pick up an O2 International Sim. We're looking forward to celebrating St Patrick's Day with some great acts and sampling the best of Irish culture in London.'

The Mayor of London’s St Patrick’s Day message can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2mBeaOAAXw&feature=youtu.be

TIMINGS

Event: Mayor’s St Patrick's Day Parade and Festival

Date: Sunday 15 March 2015

Time: Parade starts midday – Hyde Park Corner, Piccadilly, Haymarket, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall Festival in Trafalgar Square – midday to 6pm

Entry: FREE

Information: www.london.gov.uk/stpatricksday

Mayor's St Patrick's Day celebrations 2015 Organisations on the parade include: • Ballindaggin Pipe Band x 22 • Irish Wolfhound Dog • Barry McGuigan Grand Marshall and dignitaries • London Wexford Association • Fermanagh Association London • Lord of the Dance • London Irish Centre • Cork Association London • Pandemonium Drummers • Ceremonies Crew • Southwark Irish Pensioners Project • McCarthy O'Rourke Academy of Irish Dance Dancers • Trolley Birds • London Irish (Rugby) • Kerry Association London • Kerry Association • Scartaglen • Kerry Association London • Greenwich Police Cadets Marching Band • Roscommon • Cavan Association London • Anerley Across Charity • Mullens and the Cirencester Jivers • Haringey Irish Centre • M Moss Repairs Ltd • Singer : acoustic duo • London 1916 Centenary Commemoration Committee • Connolly Association • SERTUC (South East Regional Trades Union Congress) • Kilburn Gaels Hurling Club • London Fire Brigade Emerald Society • Galway Association London • South London Irish Dancers • K & S Accordion Band • Meath Association of London • Kilkenny • St Patrick • Mayo Association London • Cappagh • Drumenagh School of Irish Dance • Irish Chaplaincy in Britain • Caporales San Simon Londres • Limerick Association • St Patrick's College London • Tir Chonaill Gaels Gaelic Football Club • Donegal Association London - St Peters Band Mountcharles • Donegal Association London • Donegal Association London - Buion Ceoil Rann na Feirste • London Tipperary Association • Carlow Association London • Scoil Rince Rochford • Circus • St Joseph's School • Corner Boy Band • Flynn family • Wallace family • Bayrem • Emma Richards • Tom Hunter • Sarah • Amelia Richards • Derry McDermott • Family • Irem Koca • West London Comhaltas Traditional Irish Music • Theresa O Donoghue School of Irish Dance • Police Emerald Society UK • Cochabamba-Bolivia • Peacocks x 2 • Brothers and Shalloe Pearse GAA Club • Monaghan Association London • London Irish LGBT group • GOAL UK • Killoughery Group • GJ Killoughery Ltd • All Ireland Hurling Champions Kilkenny & GAA Supporters Club • Waterford Ass London • Essex Caledonian Pipe Band • F M Conway Ltd • Glen Rovers GAA Club • Morenada bloque KANTUTA • Morenada bloque KANTUTA • Harrier Grabs Ltd • Hare Krishna hand pulled float • Hare Krishna • Pirates • Caporales San Simon Londres • Innisfree Housing Association • Leitrim Association London • Mc Govern Brothers • Bolivian Heritage • Mc Govern Brothers • Father Murphy’s Ladies Gaelic Football & Camogie Club • Clare Association with Banner • Elephant • M Moss Repairs Ltd • Tyrone County Association • ACCC Bolivia • Friends • University College London • Vintage Car (Gamble) • Talentos Group • North London Shamrocks Youth Gaelic Football • John Shields Utilities • Recoverymen ltd

Notes to editors

1. The Mayor of London's St Patrick's Day celebrations are being organised in partnership with the Council of Irish Counties Association. The presenting partner is O2, with support from Bord Bia, Kerrygold, Tourism Ireland, The Irish Post, RTE International iPlayer and The Rugby World Cup. 2. The food market vendors will be Broderick's, Burren Smokehouse, Glenilen Farm, Jelly Bean, Keogh's Farm, Kerrygold, Nomadic, The Foods of Athenry and Your Irish Shop.