St Patrick’s Festival to return this March after two-year absence

Parade will return on March 17th and festival quarter to be set-up in Collins Barracks

After a two-year absence due to Covid-19 the St Patrick’s Festival in Dublin will return this March, and is expected to be the largest in scale to date.

The programme for the festival, which will take place from March 16th to 20th, was unveiled at Collins Barracks in Dublin city on Monday morning.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “connections” as the festival invites everyone to “reconnect in Dublin after the unparalleled challenges of recent years”.

The parade will return to the streets of Dublin on March 17th, while a new "festival quarter" at the National Museum of Ireland in Collins Barracks will be home to a day-to-night urban festival for a week.


Speaking at the launch of the programme on Monday, artistic director of the festival, Karen Walshe, said everyone was excited to return to an in-person festival after three years.


"We wanted to bring more creativity and inclusivity into the parade. We've invited new groups including Pride Festival, and Catapult events will take on the theme of heroes which will be led by Adam King, who's filling his entire entourage with frontliners. It's going to be a really uplifting parade."

Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin said this year's festival "sends the message out loud and clear – Ireland is open again for tourism and we cannot wait to roll out the green carpet and welcome visitors from near and far."

“Whether you are a local, a tourist or someone connecting virtually, you can engage with a multifaceted programme that harnesses Ireland’s heritage, culture and creativity,” she said.

Samba dancer Rosa Silva, who has performed at the parade every year since 2012, said she "can't wait to have lots of people around, shouting and cheering".

Ms Silva performed online during the pandemic but “missed the energy of the public”.

“In 2013, I was six months pregnant and I still danced. It was unforgettable every time, but this year it will be better than ever,” she told The Irish Times.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Allison Gilliland said the festival was "packed full of fantastic Irish talent" and that there was a greater effort this year to have events for families.

“There can be an awful lot of emphasis on the night economy on St Patrick’s Day but this year we have a lot of events that will be lovely for families, and of course we’re back physically with the iconic parade,” she said.

On the theme of connection, the festival has “involved many communities from abroad that have now chosen Ireland as their place to live so they can showcase their culture too,” Ms Gilliland said.


The national St Patrick's Day parade will take place on Thursday March 17th, winding its way through the streets of Dublin, from Parnell Square to St Stephen's Green. The parade will also be broadcast live on RTÉ.

A day programme at Collins Barracks will include family friendly performances, theatre, games and science shows, as well as film screenings and live readings from Irish authors.

The night programme, which is strictly over 18s, will include performances in comedy, cabaret, theatre and dance. Singer Lyra will be joined on the main stage by electronic musician Soulé and comedians Neil Delamere and Grace Mulvey are also on the ticket.

A wellness event, Breathe, will take place at The Law Society, while City Funfairs returns to Custom House Quay.

Festival-goers can also feast on contemporary and diverse Irish cooking at the Irish Food and Craft Village for the week.

Those who cannot attend in person can watch the live streamed events online.

The Festival programme is available now and a small number of paid events will go on sale this Friday, February 11th at 9am.