NI set for St Patrick celebrations

NI set for St Patrick celebrations

A host of festivities are set to take place across Northern Ireland this weekend in celebration of St Patrick's Day.

In Belfast the annual carnival parade will kick-off on Sunday 16 March at noon from City Hall.This year's theme is 'St Patrick to the future' and will re-imagine the patron saint as a time-travelling adventurer on a colourful journey to the future of Belfast, all with the help of numerous floats, performers and music.Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said: "We have taken the future as a theme because it is important that we concentrate on that and how life can be better for all of us. Belfast has really gotten into its stride being seen across the world as a forward thinking, attractive city with many advantages - particularly its young population."Let's show the world that we can put on a show and celebrate with the best of them," he added.The parade will conclude at Custom House Square in the city, where visitors will be treated to a free concert headlined by former X Factor winner Shayne Ward.The concert will also feature performances from the Tir na nÓg Irish Dancers and the South Asian Dance Academy.It is going to be fun fantastic day, full of colour and excitement and I hope our residents and visitors alike will enjoy the craic on the day.Belfast Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó MuilleoirIn Derry, music lovers can soak up the atmosphere as three outdoor stages will host the best in Irish Traditional artists and performers across the city on Saturday 15 & Monday 17 March from 1-7pm.Mayor Councillor Martin Reilly said he is delighted that music features heavily in this year's St Patrick's Day festival.He added: "As we focus on delivering our Music City 2014 programme as part of the three year legacy promise from 2013, it is great that Derry-Londonderry will fulfill its namesake as a city of music this weekend.The city's annual Spring Carnival Parade will be departing from Queens Quay Car Park on Monday 17 March at 2.30pm and this year it celebrates 'Music, Myth and Magic' and features over 600 talented local performers.Outdoor music stages are synonymous with a variety of our festivals throughout the year with St Patrick's Day being one of the most anticipated events in calendar which accommodates all members of the family.Derry City Mayor Martin ReillyDownpatrick is set to mark St Patrick's Day by staging a re-enactment of the his arrival in Ireland.The event on Monday will depict St Patrick's journey up the River Slaney, before coming ashore near the Co Down town.The re-enactment, which has been organised by Down District Council, will involve more than 60 people and feeds into the main parade through Downpatrick.Michael Lipsett from the council said: "On St Patrick's Day morning at 11am you'll be able to see the re-enactment, you'll be able to see Patrick arriving and coming up into the village."If you want to experience that you can go to the Down District Council offices and there's a free shuttle bus from there that will take you down to where St Patrick actually landed."Those more inclined to the outdoors will embark on the annual walk to the peak of Slemish Mountain in Co Antrim, with buses leaving The Ballymena Eco Centre and Buckna from 9am.It is believed St Patrick worked as a shepherd on Slemish Mountain for six years after being brought to Ireland as a slave.And the annual RNLI Duck Dive will take place at The Herring Pool in Portstewart, Co Londonderry from 1pm on Monday.Brave fund-raisers in fancy dress plunge into the often freezing Atlantic Ocean in aid of the charity.


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