St Patrick Comes home to Armagh & Down
The Home of St Patrick Festival promises to be the biggest, best, and most-diverse celebration of Patrick’s life story, values and achievements to be found throughout Europe. An unrivalled mix of Irish and international music, theatre, spoken word, art and comedy will showcase the stunning locations where he walked and worked, providing an unforgettable experience for all who attend.
Taking place over 17 days, this landmark festival presents a central focus on the number 17 and its relevance to St Patrick and his death on March 17th, with 17 major events catering for a broad range of interests, including live music, traditional Gaelic sport and spiritual elements.
While the spirit is lifted by music, the Home of St Patrick Festival will also provide food for thought with a series of guest lecturers, speakers and thought leaders. Memoirs and Confessions is a series of talks and panel sessions providing insight from Scottish writer, broadcaster and daughter of Magnus Sally Magnussen, and former punk rocker and Sid Vicious cohort Viv Albertine, among others, about how they have dealt with adversity, along with stories from their varied careers and advice on life in the modern world.
St Patrick in a modern context is the subject of inspiring St Patrick’s Lecture on March 16th, when the Primates of the two principal churches in Ireland will explore the theme of Patrick the Exile. This will be followed by a special St Patrick’s Vigil which will reflect his own journey of unity and which links the Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic cathedrals.
Members of the public are encouraged to walk in the footsteps of St Patrick with both A Way for Seeing and St Patrick in the Landscape events providing guided tours that will showcase key locations that inspired and witnessed the life and work of Patrick.
Relive Patrick landing in Ireland with the re-enactment of St Patrick’s Landing at Inch Abbey and along the River Quoile. A free Park & Ride service will be provided from Down Business Park while the Shamrock Steam Train travels direct from Downpatrick to Inch Abbey.
Music fans have a cacophony of choice to enjoy, including solo performers such as Grainne Duffy, Belfast’s own Grainne Holland and opera singer Ruby Philogene MBE who has performed in London, Berlin, Brussels and with the San Francisco Opera Company. There are groups and bands covering all genres and styles of music including Cork-based Blues and roots band One Horse Pony, the folk-gothic, all-female, five-piece Wookalily.
Town centres will come alive with colour and noise as fantastic carnival processions make their way through Armagh, Newry and Downpatrick. Bringing communities from across the region together in a celebration of local talent, dance and entertainment, visitors and residents will create memories to last a lifetime with spectacular cavalcades of floats and fancy dress.
For more information and the full programme of events visit www.saintpatrickscountry.com.