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Lá Fhéile Pádraig

Another year and another St. Patrick’s Day festival! The St. Patrick’s parade has always been the highlight of the annual four day festivities. The theme this year is ‘celebrating now’, a continuation of the three year narrative that was established last year. The parade this year will see performers from across Ireland “drawing inspiration for their artistic creations from Ireland’s present, embracing ‘nowness’ and savouring the moment.”

The 2014 theme ‘Let’s make history’ highlighted Ireland’s great and turbulent past. This year’s theme is set to show how far we have come as a country. With next year’s theme coinciding with 1916 anniversary, it is certain it will look at Ireland’s future, posing the question ‘who do we aspire to be in the next 100 years?’

It was announced on the 16th February that Brendan O’Carroll – famous for his show Mrs Brown’s boys – will be the St. Patrick’s day 2015 Grand marshal. As the crowds gathered for the announcement, there was much speculation as to who would be this year’s special guest.

Speaking at Monday morning’s launch O’Carroll said, “I attended the Dublin parade in all weathers for over 50 years, from sitting on my sister’s shoulders to having my own children sitting on mine. I cannot believe that I’m going to get a moment to lead this wonderful gathering.”

The parade will take place on the 17th of March, with sister parades happening worldwide. Susan Kirby, St Patrick’s Festival CEO, said “St. Patrick’s Festival prides itself on a continued commitment to artistic excellence. We are excited to see the second step on the three year Festival Parade narrative when this year’s theme ‘Celebrate Now’ is sure to allow for creative interpretation and colour on the streets of Dublin on March 17th.”

The festival is a big boost for tourism also. Over 500,000 people attended last year’s parade, with the possibility of even more people this year.

Photo: The Liberty

 

“We in Ireland are incredibly lucky to have an event such as St. Patrick’s Day, which consistently succeeds as an attractive magnet for publicity and visitors,” said Ciara Sugrue, Head of Trade and International Media marketing at Fáilte Ireland.

“This year’s four day festival will provide us with the perfect opportunity to invite key overseas media to come to Dublin and to film, write and blog about one of the most popular festivals in the world. In essence, the festival provides a timely window on Ireland just as our tourism season gets into gear” she added.

Mary Lynch, a community officer for the Liberties area said, “We don’t have much going on for the festival. Being on the periphery of the parade route, means that people move out of the area to go to the events within the city centre.”

However, she goes on to say that some will feel the effects, “ The storehouse has and always will have visitors on St. Patricks day. Street traders also welcome the influx of people into the city.

In the next few years we are hoping to develop some events within the liberties. However, these are in the earliest stages of planning.”

The first St. Patrick’s Day festival was held in 1996 and attracted almost 430,000 people. The parade has grown since then and has become a worldwide event with more countries hosting a festival than any other national holiday.

As part of the festivities, the Colosseum, Niagara Falls and many other world famous landmarks will turn green for the day.

Because of this, the celebration has become a valued part of the Irish economy. In 2013, the festival brought in €122 million. This year’s parade is set to bring in an estimate of over €100 million.

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