Armagh streams six-day Home of St Patrick Festival to the world

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Armagh, the home of St Patrick, sets the stage to celebrate the national holiday online from 12th March, writes Shauna McCrudden

Armagh City’s magnificent Cathedrals will be lit up to commemorate St Patrick, the bringer of light. Both St Patrick’s Cathedral (Roman Catholic) and St Patrick’s Cathedral (Church of Ireland) will be adorned in green for the ‘Lighting Up for St Patrick’ event commencing Friday 12th March – 17th March from 4pm – 11pm

We face another year of not being able to celebrate our national holiday, St Patrick’s Day, with spectacular parades and spending time with friends. However, this year promises something different, but equally as entertaining. Armagh, known as the ‘real home of St Patrick’ has unveiled details of a packed six-day schedule of online events to celebrate the famous patron saint with the world this month.

Starting on Friday, 12th March and concluding on St Patrick’s Day (Wednesday, 17th March), this fully online ‘At Home with St Patrick Festival’ will take you through a showcase of rousing events themed with snakes, shamrocks, history and culture, traditional music and dance, along plenty of inspiring food and drink ideas.

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From Navan Fort – one of Ireland’s most iconic archaeological sites and steeped in myth and legend – to its famous orchards, cathedrals, theatres and libraries, there is so much to see in the city that St Patrick made his home.

Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, Cllr Kevin Savage, said, “Built, shaped and steeped in St Patrick, Armagh remains the true home of Ireland’s first citizen.  We’re proud to celebrate his iconic legacy from a remarkable city that will bring laughter, enjoyment, reflection and hope to the world in this challenging year.

“Famed for its orchards, its warm hospitality, friendly people, history, culture and outstanding food and drink, Armagh will continue to surprise many for its must-visit destination appeal. We really hope that this local and global celebration will inspire and engage many people of all ages to experience this place for real when all of us can.”

With 19 free-to-attend events planned, the festival line-up includes:

  • Irish dance masterclass from Riverdance’s Jason O’Neill: Irish dance sensation and Riverdance lead, Jason O’Neill, takes centre-stage to present a high-energy dance masterclass from Armagh’s Market Place Theatre. Jason is joined by two inspiring local female dancers, 12-year-old world champion Blaithin Mohan from Armagh City and Ciara McGivern from Markethill who is placed ninth in the world.
  • The Story of St Patrick and Daire: An exciting online dramatisation at Navan Fort which will uncover St Patrick’s early life and his discussions with lord chieftain and legend, Daire, as he searched for a site in Armagh to establish his first church.
  • The Staff, The Snake and The Shamrock: A talk by Dr Rachel Moss of Trinity College Dublin will be providing an illustrated presentation that gives insights into the iconic symbolism and arts linked with St Patrick.
  • Réalta – Live from The Market Place Theatre: Réalta takes a lively, exciting and respectful approach to Irish traditional music at this must-visit event. Reared on a staple diet of The Bothy Band, Planxty and other such classics, this big-name band captures the timeless aspects of the tradition and presents it in its raw form – fresh and beautiful.
  • St Patrick’s Day Breakfast Cook-Along with Simon Dougan and May McFettridge: Simon Dougan from Yellow Door cooks up a storm with leading theatre entertainer May McFettridge to share a hearty Ulster breakfast using the finest ingredients from across the region’s food heartland.
  • All Folk’d Up – Live from The Market Place Theatre: One of Ireland’s most popular groups who play a mix of classic sounds from folk and country music traditions, while still sprinkling their own unique, modern twist.
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Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, Cllr Kevin Savage, added, “From our home to your home, our ‘At home with St Patrick Festival’ will safely delight and excite everyone from near and far. Let us awaken your senses!”

All events are free to attend, however, some events require registration in advance. To download the full programme of events, visit visitarmagh.com/stpatrick

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Shauna McCrudden

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