St Patrick’s Day: festival organisers hoping 2024 theme will spark joy and banish spectre of November riot

Spréach, the Irish word for ‘spark’, is the theme for this year’s festival and parade, as the programme was unveiled in Dublin’s Mountjoy Square

The theme of this year’s St Patrick’s Festival in Dublin will be “spréach” – the Irish word for “spark” – which, the organisers said, “represents the unique essence of Ireland and of Irish people”.

The St Patrick’s Day parade, which will snake through the city centre on March 17th, will be propelled by “values of joy, community, diversity and sustainability”, with the organisers promising it will be “the most ambitious ever, featuring more pageants, more participants, bringing more laughter, spectacle and joy to those watching”.

Some of Ireland’s foremost creative pageant companies including Bui Bolg, Spraoi, Inishowen Carnival Group and the Outing Queer Arts Collective will take part, as will the Dublin North East Inner City partnership.

The Olympic Federation of Ireland will be involved as part of a celebration of 100 years of Irish participation in the Olympic Games, which take place in Paris this summer.


The St Patrick’s Festival Quarter at the National Museum of Ireland in Collins Barracks will also make a return, with music, entertainment and a new artisan food space and a games area included.

As part of a curated programme in collaboration with cultural partners around the city, there will be live events from organisations including the Abbey Theatre, CoisCéim Dance Theatre and Thisispopbaby along with walking tours and an after-dark programme.

The lord mayor of Dublin Daithí de Róiste highlighted the importance of the festival to the city.

Recalling the riot in the city last November, which saw shops looted and cars, buses and trams burnt out, Mr de Róiste said that was the “very worst of the city”. Since then he had seen the “very, very best of the city”, he added, with communities, businesses and artists coming together to highlight what Dublin has to offer.

At the launch event in Mountjoy Square, festival chief executive Richard Tierney acknowledged the “phenomenal amount of work from artists, arts workers, makers, creators, live events teams and community organisations” behind the event.

Addressing fears over the impact of last November’s violence on the city’s international reputation, Mr Tierney said: “All we can do is provide a really good platform for people to come and enjoy themselves, and show them that Dublin is open for business.”

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast