City launches St Patrick's festival

Published Saturday, 23 February 2013
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Belfast City Council has announced a bumper programme of events for the city's first ever four-day St Patrick's Day Festival next month.

City launches St Patrick's festival
Belfast Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson launched the St Patrick's Festival. (© Pacemaker)

The annual celebrations have been extended and will run between Friday, March 15 to Monday, March 18, featuring the annual parade and free concert in Custom House Square on St Patrick's Day.

Headlining the free concert on March 17 will be X Factor singer Amelia Lily. Also taking to the stage will be David Julien from the BBC's The Voice, folk group Blackthorn and Ulster-Scots group Rightly On. Tir na N'Og Irish Dancers and Ballysillan Highland Dancers will also be performing.

City Hall will host a variety of activities including talks and exhibitions, music workshops, dance, traditional craft demonstrations, children's arts and crafts, and storytelling there'll also be a waste workshop to create a giant shamrock out of waste and recycled materials.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to get up close and personal with a snake and find out more about the creatures which form a central part of the St Patrick story.

As well as showing some of the live rugby and GAA action over the St Patrick's weekend, the big screen at City Hall will show films including classics The Quiet Man and Into the West.

The Ulster Hall will host a ceili with the Cathal McAnulty Ceili band and the McPeake Family alongside singers, musicians and Irish dancers. There will also be a tea dance, music and poetry workshops, and a photographic exhibition, as well as film screenings of The Commitments and Darby O'Gill and The Little People.

St George's Market will have live themed music and family entertainment throughout the weekend as well as Irish dancing.

Belfast Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson said the festival would be a vibrant and exciting time for the city.

He said: "The city is going to be buzzing. The carnival and concert have become an important part of the city's annual celebrations and this year we have even more on offer.

"There really is something for everyone with some fascinating events planned that will explore the story of St Patrick. City Hall will be the focal point but events will be happening at venues across the city and I'd encourage everyone to come along and enjoy the free events on offer."

The concert at Custom House Square is a non-ticketed event and entry will be on a first come, first served basis with gates opening at 12 noon. This year a special 'kids' zone' will be created over at the 'Big Fish' to allow toddlers and younger children to soak up the buzz and atmosphere away from the crowds.
© UTV News
Comments Comments
Just a Thought in Belfast wrote (704 days ago):
Just a few points for all those Protestants like myself out there. If you read the article it states 'Ulster Scots Group Rightly On will be performing' and also 'Ballysillan Highland Dancers'. Both of which are Protestant. I applaud the City Council for trying to do something right in making this a festival for ALL. Now all we need is to get rid of the Anti Protestant section of the crowd who watch the parade and sing IRA songs and wave Tri-Colours to make a political point. Then we could ALL enjoy the celebrations. And before anyone starts I personally have no problem with the Irish Tri-Colour. It isn't my flag just like the Union Flag isn't everbody's. Neither should be used to polically point score or rub the 'other side' up the wrong way.
Ulysses32 in Belfast wrote (705 days ago):
Jesus wept, the PUL crowd expressing fury at someone being in your face about flegs....that gets a double facepalm from me....
martin in belfast wrote (705 days ago):
Anti British? Nearly every major British City has a St Pats parade, are you suggesting that the British public are anti British? Laura you really do need to try and think of an argument before you decide to make it. I do agree that this event should not be hijacked by drunken youths and that a zero tolerance on public drinking should be enforced. Hopefully these four days can be a time for everyone to enjoy!
HAPPY FACE in FALLS ROAD wrote (705 days ago):
Why does every thing lead back to discusion of flags. The council are putting on something that could be a start of better things to come, But there is always a clampet out there who will rock the boat.How about some positive comments for a change, The people of the six counties catholics and protestants deserve it.You know the old saying, if you cant find anything nice to say, then your better saying nothing at all.I like many others want peace, and be ableto livealong side with my protestant neighbours.
Jay in London wrote (705 days ago):
@Laura in Belfast, Anti British event? We have a big parade in London. Everyone is welcome. The English and Irish have a great time on St Patricks day. You people are just obsessed with Britishness and the fleg. You need to get a life. Im English first, British, well half the world can claim to be British you can keep it. NI are the only ones that go on about being British, the Scots are Scottish just like English in England. Maybe because you live in Ireland were people are Irish you feel the need to make noise and shout about being British. Life is to short, have a Happy St Patricks day.
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