St Patrick’s Festival to stream worldwide with six-day TV station

Awaken Ireland! theme will ‘connect our family of 80m’ with more than 100 virtual events

St Patrick’s Festival 2021: the organisers say they are inviting the world to take a front-row seat for this year’s virtual events. Photograph: Allen Kiely

St Patrick’s Festival 2021: the organisers say they are inviting the world to take a front-row seat for this year’s virtual events. Photograph: Allen Kiely

 

A national St Patrick’s Festival running for almost a week in the run-up to St Patrick’s Day will be broadcast for the first time this year on St Patrick’s Festival TV, a free online channel accessible worldwide.

The online festival to celebrate Ireland’s national day, which was announced on Wednesday morning, will feature a series of events being safely created and recorded by hundreds of artists, musicians, performers, makers, creators and community organisations.

St Patrick’s Festival TV, which aims to connect “our family of 80 million”, will broadcast live for six days and nights between March 12th and 17th. Events will be available to watch again until March 21st.

One of the highlights will be an RTÉ virtual St Patrick’s Day Parade. The full schedule of more than 100 events will be announced in early March, but the theme is Dúisigh Éire! or Awaken Ireland! The organisers say they want Irish people across the world to “throw off the long, dark months and rise to embrace brighter days ahead”.

The programme includes several strands:

  • SPF Óg, with performances, workshops and experiences for families and young people
  • Sounds, featuring contemporary and traditional music from Ireland
  • Stories, exploring Ireland through film, poetry, literature, performance and art
  • and Living Ireland, reflecting contemporary Irish life.
St Patrick’s Festival 2021: performers will include Alma Boliviana, who use dance to celebrate Bolivian culture around Ireland. Photograph: Allen Kiely
St Patrick’s Festival 2021: performers will include Alma Boliviana, who use dance to celebrate Bolivian culture around Ireland. Photograph: Allen Kiely

The festival line-up includes:

  • the comedians Foil, Arms & Hog and Michael Fry
  • the poet Pat Ingoldsby
  • writers and broadcasters such as Marian Richardson, Brendan Balfe and Manchán Magan
  • the chef Tadgh Byrne, with a series on the history of Irish food
  • entertainers such as Fanzini Brothers, Tumble Circus and the storyteller Eddie Lenihan.
  • Wellness and mindfulness events feature Bressie and Michael Ryan, with guests including the Happy Pear.
  • Music includes New Jackson, Pillow Queens, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Mary Coughlan, Myles O’Reilly, Gemma Dunleavy, Sorca McGrath, Gareth Quinn Redmond, Matthew Nolan, Lisa Hannigan, Adrian Crowley, DC Fontaines’ Grian Chatten, Matthew Campbell of The Shamrock Tenors, soprano Mary McCabe, The Breath, Moxie, Kíla and Brían and Diarmuid Mac Gloinn of Ye Vagabonds.
  • Also taking part are traditional performers and storytellers including Donnacha Dwyer, Sin A Deir Sí, Ceiliúradh ó Chorca Dhuibhne, Shandrum Céilí Band, Caoimhe O Flaherty, Ronan O’Flagherty, Naoise Mac Cathmhaoil, Nuala Hayes, Jerry O’Reilly, Dermot Bolger, Annemarie Ní Churreáin and Nell Ní Chrónín.
St Patrick’s Festival 2021: events include Tumble Circus presents The MacCarnysons
St Patrick’s Festival 2021: events include Tumble Circus presents The MacCarnysons

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin said the reimagined programme “will allow us all come together virtually to celebrate our national festival safely, but also provide us with an opportunity to reflect on what has been a very difficult year”.

Last year’s five-day festival in Dublin, including the annual parade, a four-day festival village at Merrion Square and multiple other events, was cancelled with just days to go, as the country locked down because of Covid-19.

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