Belfast Telegraph

Guide to St Patrick's Day fun in Northern Ireland

Sarah Rainey reports on the places to be St Patrick’s Day fun

Towns and cities in Northern Ireland are set to go green tomorrow as a host of St Patrick’s Day festivities kick off across the province. From carnival parades to community celebrations, street markets and traditional entertainment, the celebrations will get both young and old in the holiday spirit.

Belfast

The annual parade will set out from the City Hall at noon. With colourful floats, daredevil acrobats and music from world famous pipe band St Laurence O’Toole, the carnival will continue with a free concert at Custom House Square from 1pm featuring X Factor finalist Stacey Solomon and popstar Lemar.

Entry to the concert will be on a first come, first served basis. Gates open at noon and under-16s must be accompanied by an adult. Legendary Celtic folk group Horslips will perform at the Waterfront Hall in a special St Patrick’s Day concert at 8pm.

The band will play a set from their albums The Book Of Invasions and The Tain in collaboration with the Ulster Orchestra. For complimentary tickets, visit www.bbc.co.uk/ni/tickets.

Also in Belfast, stars from hit television series The Commitments will perform in a 20th anniversary concert at the Odyssey Arena at 8.30pm. Tickets £36 or £40 from www.odysseyarena.com/the-commitments.html, or the box office on 02890 739074.

For information on all events, a map of the parade route and a list of traffic diversions, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk

Downpatrick

A pilgrimage from St Patrick’s Church, Saul, to Down Cathedral, Downpatrick, will start at 10.30am. During the day traditional music, dance and storytelling will be held in a free event in St Patrick’s Square, with a full programme of events.

A shamrock steam train will run a special St Patrick’s Day tour between noon and 5pm on the Downpatrick and County Down Railway. St Patrick’s Square will host a free concert headlined by Queen tribute band Flash Harry from 1pm, while the annual cross-community carnival parade will start at 2.30pm on the Ardglass Road.

For more information contact the festival office on 02844 612233 or www.downdc.gov.uk for full listings.

Derry

The St Patrick’s Day spring carnival will take place in the Guildhall Square, Londonderry, from 1pm to 4pm. A parade, which is free, will leave the council car park on the Strand Road at 2.30pm. The event will be an alcohol-free zone with fundraising for Children In Crossfire.

A family fun day will be held at Clondermott Old School from noon to 4pm. Traditional crafts, a ceilidh dance and Irish stew will be on offer. For more information, tel: 02871 329144. In the evening, Celtic rock band The Grin and the Cantanus Choir will perform in the Craft Village.

For a full programme of events, visit www.derrycity.gov.uk/ stpatricksday.

Ballymena

The annual walk up Slemish mountain will take place throughout the day. Shuttle buses operate from the Ecos Centre in Ballymena and from Buckna car park, Broughshane, to the car park at Slemish from 9am to 2pm.

Free entertainment including storytelling, balloon modelling and face-painting will be on offer at the Ecos Centre from noon to 4pm.

For more information on all events or to book tickets, visit www.gatewaytotheglens.com or contact the tourist office on 028 2563 5900.

Armagh

A carnival parade will march from Palace Demesne to the city centre from 2pm. Events will continue in Market Square, where a programme of song and dance with acts including The Miracles and Catherine Grimley will be held from noon to 6pm.

All events are free to attend and suitable for families. Other celebrations include a funfair at Shambles Market, lectures at St Patrick’s Trian and the Armagh Observatory, and live music across the city on the night.

The festival continues until March 19, with a cathedral concert, Celtic night and busking competition on offer.

For full listings, visit www.armagh.co.uk or contact the tourist office on 028 3752 1800.

Newry

Street entertainment, market stalls and the official St Patrick’s Day parade all form part of the celebrations planned in Newry.

The parade will leave The Quays Shopping Centre at noon, with musical acts and others performing in Margaret Square and Marcus Square.

A special Music Against Racism concert, which will be headlined by X Factor finalist Lloyd Daniels, will be held on March 16 at 6pm in the Town Hall. For complimentary tickets, phone 028 3031 3180.

For more information, visit www.newry.com or contact Donna McConnell on 02830 250303 or donna@newry.com.

Strabane

Festivities for the St Patrick’s Day parade will start at 2pm at the Melmount Chapel car park, winding through the town to the Score Site, Dock Street.

For more information contact Michael Cunningham on 07900 494917.

Omagh

Traditional music, dance and family fun will be some of the attractions on offer in Omagh as part of the annual St Patrick’s Day festival.

The parade will march down the High Street from 1pm, with entertainment from award-winning Scottish band Bodega throughout the day.

For information, contact Coleen McCann on 02882 245321 or visit www.omagh.gov.uk.

Enniskillen

St Patrick will arrive by Viking boat in Enniskillen as part of a special water parade at Broadmeadow from 1pm to 3pm.

The festivities will continue with a land parade from The Forum to Enniskillen Museums at 3pm, featuring live music.

A range of activities is also taking place at Enniskillen Castle, with a fun day including archaeological digs, medieval food and bouncy castles.

The event starts at 1pm and runs until 6pm.

Visit www.fermanaghlakelands.com for more information on all events.

Cultra

Celebrations at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum start at 10am with events happening in Ballycultra town and the surrounding rural area.

A music and craft festival, including a St Patrick’s Day quiz, storytelling and film screenings, will be held across the museum site.

For a full programme of events or to book tickets, visit www.nmni.com or phone 0845 6080000.



The celebrations worldwide

Dublin

Walking tours, bands and street performers will take over Dublin with a host of events throughout the day.

Celebrations continue from noon in Parnell Square with the famous carnival parade, bands and entertainment for all the family.

Visit www.stpatricksfestival.ie. for more information and listings of what’s on.

London

From Irish music at St Martin-in-the-Fields to medieval banquets in Mayfair and London Eye being lit |up in green, visit www.london.gov.uk/stpatricksday for details.

New York

The 250th St Patrick’s Day parade in the Big Apple will take place on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan from 11am local time.

Chicago

Celebrations in Chicago took place last weekend, with an extravagant parade and the annual dyeing of the Chicago River to commemorate the city’s Irish roots.
Visit www.chicagostpatsparade.com for more information on events due to take place on March 17.

Boston

The parade takes place on March 20 at 1pm with three hours of events planned.

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