St Patrick to bring 7 'glorious' days of pageantry


This year's St Patrick's festival promises to bring seven days of fireworks, pageantry and dancing to the streets of the capital.

Organisers claim to have scoured the State for the most creative acts and they expect hundreds of performers from abroad to entertain at this year's festival. Over 3,500 participants are booked to take part in Wednesday's showcase parade.

St Patricks Festival
A performer at the launch of the St Patrick's Festival celebrations today.

This year's theme "Glorious" is said to reflect the colours, the stories, the music and the costumes of the event - but alas not the weather if today's launch is anything to go by.

City centre partons are warned to be on the lookout for giant tropical fish, bouncing mermaids, a 20ft lion, disco monsters and a magical dragon.

Leading this procession of oddities will be Ireland's Miss World winner, Ms Rosanna Davison.

Announcing this year's programme, Ms Maria Moynihan, chief executive of the Festival, says, "The quality and the breadth of this year's festival programme will portray Dublin at an all-time high in terms of colour and vibrancy."

Ms Moynihan said: "The festival is going from strength to strength, with traditional favourites coupled with some new events of a more contemporary flavour".

Events kick off this Saturday with the 7UP Skyfest at 8 p.m. on the banks of the Liffey.

This year's pryotechnics are to be synchronised with music to create what organisers describe as a "spectacular pyromusical performance of fire and dance".

On Sunday, Merrion Square will play host to the Big Day Out carnival - a funfair of street performers, musicians and face painters from 12 noon.

Later on, a number of Irish and international musical celebrities will perform a free concert. The acts include Girls Aloud, D-side, Picturehouse, STAND, Rubyhorse and Laura Isibor.

On Monday, the 2004 St Patrick's Festival Symposium 'Talking Irish' in the Mansion House will consider what it means to be Irish. Discussions will be lead by distinguished business, political and cultural figures, including Dr Edward de Bono, Mary Davis, George Hook, Gerri Moriarty, John Waters and Philip King.

Following Wednesday's parade, Hector Ó hEochagáin will host the annual Céilí Mór at Earlsfort Terrace featuring the North Cregg Céilí Band, Four Men And A Dog, and the Kilfenora Céilí Band.

Throughout the week, there will be a number of ongoing events including an exhibition of visual art entitled Irish Visions.

The luminarium - a maze of bright lights and spacious domes - will inhabit a portion of Merrion Square from tonight.

One of last year's success stories was the French Market which will again take its place among the festivities. The market - in Wolf Tone Square - will run from Saturday to Saturday promises to bring with it the most fabulous French cuisine .