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Updates on St. Patrick’s Day Festival

St Patrick’s Day is celebrated internationally every year on March 17th. People celebrate with parties, events and parades.

However, this year due to the outbreak of coronavirus in Ireland, the Dublin St Patrick’s Day Parade has been cancelled due to the risk of spreading the virus among the public.

This is not the first time the parade has been canceled. In 2001, the parade was postponed until summer due to the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease.

But while the parade may be cancelled, many smaller events throughout the inner city area will continue to go ahead.

This year’s quieter St Patrick’s Day in Dublin is a reminder that for many years, celebrations here were very restrained. Author Maeve Binchy wrote in the New York Times that Dublin was once “the dullest place on earth to spend St. Patrick’s Day”.

From shortly after Irish independence until 1960, the day was celebrated as a holy day. This meant that alcohol could not be sold.

Other countries celebrated St Patrick’s Day much more than Ireland with parties, parades and festivals, while Dublin remained quiet. It seemed as though emigrants enjoyed our national festival more than the Irish-at-home themselves.

The drink ban was lifted in 1960, and in 1969 the Dublin parade was taken over by Dublin Tourism. It became a general parade with American marching bands and cheerleaders as the main feature. 

In 1996 the parade really changed. It was shaped into a bigger and better event, with extravagant events and acts.

The parade then began to receive government funding, resulting in it becoming a popular tourist event with dance, music, art and culture.

What remains of this year’s festival will run in Dublin from March 13th to 17th. The official festival website states it is “a vibrant and dynamic showcase of Ireland’s rich culture and heritage, both traditional and contemporary.

“Funded by Failte Ireland, Dublin City Council, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the packed 2020 programme will offer hundreds of events throughout Dublin from music, performance, art, spoken word and literature to tours, trails, food. Events, family fun and much more.”

There are many events still on, including talks, shows, storytelling and much more throughout the whole of Dublin, including the Liberties area.

The events that will not take place during the festival are the parade itself, a treasure hunt, a Céilí Mór in Merrion Square, Dublin and the Festival Village, also in Merrion Square.

These events may be cancelled, but many more will continue to go ahead.

The Guinness Storehouse is one of the many places in the area that has an event going on for the festival, on March 14th. St Patrick’s Festival and AMP are running in association with the Guinness Storehouse to present this event.

Internationally renowned DJ and broadcaster Annie Mac is to host and perform at the Storehouse. 

Along with Mac, Irish rapper Kajaque will also perform with jazz beats with dynamic, poetic lyrics, showing life living as a Dubliner.

Soule, who was born in London and raised in Dublin, is an electronic pop artist. She will also be performing, showcasing her heavy electronic pop and soft vocals.

This event will take place Saturday, March 14th. It starts at 8pm and ends at 12:30am. Guests will be one of the first to visit the revamped Gravity bar as well as being invited to explore all seven floors of the Storehouse.

The St Patrick’s Festival is also presenting Colm Mac Con Ionmaire, a violinist from Blackrock, Dublin who has played in Kila and the Frames, for a performance with the Contempo Quartet and his full band for one night in Vicar Street. This gig is on Monday March 16th at 8pm.

These are just some of the many events taking place throughout the city. See www.stpatricksfestival.ie for more information and to learn about what’s on and how to access events. 

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