St Patrick leads the Celebrations in Downpatrick and Newry
Cross-Community Carnival Parades will be the centre of celebrations in Downpatrick and Newry on St Patrick’s Day. Led by Saint Patrick himself, the parades on Tuesday 17 March will offer a feast for eyes and ears as swirling dancers, community floats and costumed characters entertain the crowds.
Events on St Patrick’s day in Downpatrick start at 12noon. Come along to St Patrick Square and enjoy an array of free activities including face painting, walkabout characters, arts and crafts, balloon modelling, a reptile petting zoo, Irish dancing and live performances from local groups. Performing on stage will be Finbarr Keaveney and Celtic Storm. There will also be free children’s activities hosted in Journey Church on Market Street.
Compered by local performer Connor Martin, the parade will depart from the Ardglass Road at 2pm and will continue onto Edward Street, John Street, Irish Street, Market Street and finish at Rathkeltair Car Park. It will bring together a cavalcade of vintage cars along with a host of floats, sports groups and community groups.
More craft workshops and activities will be held in Down County Museum, Down Arts Centre and The Saint Patrick Centre all starting at 10am.
Hill Street is the place to be on St Patrick’s Day in Newry with events starting from 12noon. There will be a wide range of fun activities for the whole family in Marcus Square and Margaret Square, including live music to get those feet tapping from the Oisin McCann Céili Band, the Casino Dixieland Jazz Band, and Sugar Town Road. Face painting, arts and crafts, balloon modelling, a reptile petting zoo and a photobooth will also keep the kids entertained throughout the day.
You can also drop into Newry and Mourne Museum at Bagenal’s Castle, where there will be a children’s workshop from 10am–11.30am and traditional music playing from 1pm–3pm.
The Newry Parade will set off from the Albert Basin at 1pm and follow the route along Buttercrane Quay, Merchants Quay, Sugar Island to Kildare Street.
In addition to the events and parades on the 17 March, there is a wider St Patrick’s Celebrations programme of events planned from 10-21 March including two flagship concerts. Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Charlie Casey said, “We are proud that this district is renowned for being the home of St Patrick and it is fitting that we celebrate his legacy with show-stopping entertainment as the parades move through our streets. The parades in Newry and Downpatrick have grown in stature and spectacle over the years. The programme of events assures visitors of an entertaining day out to enjoy with the family alongside two concerts featuring world-class musicians, singers and dancers. I look forward to seeing you all there!”
The first of the concerts sees veteran Irish songwriter Kieran Goss and singer Annie Kinsella headline in concert in Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick on Saturday 14 March at 8pm. The duo will be playing new material from their new album ‘Oh, the Starlings’ and tickets are available online from www.downartscentre.com and from Down Arts Centre Box Office.
The finale of the St Patrick’s celebrations will be the closing concert - ‘St Patrick’s Miscellany’ in Newry Town Hall on Tuesday 17 March, starting at 7pm. Colin Dunne, a leading figure in the world of traditional Irish dance will perform alongside an exciting line-up of performances. A wealth of local talent will be joined onstage and accompanied by national and internationally acclaimed musicians, including Matt McGinn. Matt is a multi-instrumental singer/songwriter and producer who hails from the foothills of the Mourne Mountains in Hilltown.
The concert has been devised and will be directed by Camlough born, international violinist, Joanne Quigley McParland. Tickets for the event are available from www.newrytownhall.co.uk and from the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre Box Office.
For full event details, including religious services, shows and other events, go to www.visitmournemountains.co.uk/StPatricksCelebrations or call into the Visitor Information Centre in Downpatrick, Newcastle or Newry to pick up a programme.
St Patrick’s Cross-Community Carnival Parades are supported by The Executive Office and T:buc.