Tourism NI has put together a list of just 10 of the exciting things to do during the St. Patrick’s Festival taking place in Armagh, Downpatrick and Newry (March 10-20).
• St. Patrick’s Carnival Procession, Armagh City Centre, March 17. Celebrate Saint Patrick in Armagh with a spectacular display of colour, music, dance and entertainment for all to enjoy. The theme for this year’s procession is Feasts and Wild Beasts so expect the fun, the furry and the fantastical as the parade makes its way from Palace Demesne at 1.30pm, through the city centre and ending up in the grounds of Cathedral Road Recreation Centre.
• Beoga in Concert, The Great Hall, Downpatrick, March 16. Beoga (Gaelic for ‘lively’) have become one of the most exciting and influential groups in modern traditional Irish music, whose unique sound features the twin duelling accordions of Damian McKee and Seán Óg Graham, pianist Liam Bradley, four times all-Ireland bodhrán champion Eamon Murray and Niamh Dunne on vocals. They will be joined by renowned Irish Dancers including home grown sensation Celtic Storm who have toured the world in various shows.
• Following in the Spiritual Footsteps of Saint Patrick, Armagh and Downpatrick, March 19. An opportunity to follow in the spiritual footsteps of Saint Patrick, starting at Navan Centre and Fort, through Armagh City to Slieve Patrick, Saul and Downpatrick. There will be a screening of the film, “Footsteps of St. Patrick” during the day as well as a night of traditional music from Cathal Hayden, Donal Murphy and Seamie O’Dowd. Begins at 10.45am with a bus departing Downpatrick at 9.15am. Pre-booking is essential through either Armagh or Downpatrick Visitor Centres.
• The Ulster Orchestra, St. Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh, March 19. In this special concert, the Ulster Orchestra makes a very welcome return to Armagh, under the baton of Robert Houlihan with two special guest soloists. The evening’s music has been specially chosen to celebrate the relationship between the spiritual and the earthly as reflected in our human experience. Show begins at 7.30pm.
• An Evening with Patrick, Market Place Theatre, Armagh, March 15. Armagh Cathedral Partnership invites you to an evening of music, story, poetry and prayer at the Market Place Theatre. During the evening, a guest speaker will invite the audience to reflect on Patrick and Ireland Today. It promises to be a very special evening as part of Armagh’s St. Patrick’s celebrations. Admission is free and light refreshments will be served. Show begins at 8pm.
• St. Patrick’s Landing and Food Banquet, Inch Abbey, Downpatrick, March 13. The re-enactment of St. Patrick’s landing will take place at Inch Abbey, using the River Quoile where visitors will have the opportunity to purchase food from the medieval banquet. Begins at 2pm, with free park & ride available from Down Business Park at 1pm.
• St. Patrick’s Family Fun Day, The Shambles Yard, Armagh, March 17. Let your creativity flow in the wild beasts craft corner, be entertained by the talent on the community stage or take part in family activities pitting your wits against the last man standing in this fun afternoon for all the family. From 2.30 – 5pm.
• Celebrate Saint Patrick: Festival Choral Event, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, March 12. This reflective and celebratory event honouring St. Patrick will combine some of Ireland’s greatest choirs with actors, singers and some special guest artists. It is sure to be an atmospheric evening with some world class music. Begins at 8pm.
• Artisan Food Market, St. Patrick Square, Downpatrick, March 17. The market will offer excellent food produce of local provenance in a traditional style marketplace setting. Make sure to visit and enjoy a tasty treat. From 10am – 6pm.
• St. Patrick’s Day Concert, Armagh City Centre, March 17. Crowds gathering in the city centre will be entertained by a full programme of music including popular country-blues band, The Nooks, with broadcaster Lynette Fay as MC for the afternoon. Show begins at 12.30pm.
Please note some of the events require pre-booking. For more details on these and other events click on www.discovernorthernireland.com/events, visit your local tourist information centre or log onto www.facebook.com/discovernorthernireland.