The National St. Patrick’s Festival takes place 12-17 March 2021. Dúisigh Eire! Awaken Ireland! is the theme of this year’s festival, a clarion call to the Irish across the world to throw off the long, dark months and rise to embrace the brighter days ahead. It promises to be a positive and uplifting celebration of our incredible people, our beautiful island, our community bonds, our young people, artists, creators and makers, and our diaspora across the world.
This year, the events are taking place on St. Patrick’s Festival TV (SPF TV), an online TV channel at stpatricksfestival.ie, which launches on March 12 and runs over six great virtual days and nights, and will be accessible globally. Along with SPF TV, people will also have the chance to view the festival at RTÉ’s dedicated culture website rte.ie/culture and on TVs across Ireland on Oireachtas TV, which can be found on all TV provider platforms in Ireland - Saorview Channel 22, Virgin Media Channel 207, Sky Channel 517, eir Vision Channel 504, and Vodafone Channels 201, 207 and 208.
As a nation known for our magical melodies and musical talents, it’s no surprise that St. Patrick’s Festival 2021 plays host to some of Ireland’s best loved musicians and performers. The SOUNDS programme celebrates the contemporary and traditional music of Ireland recorded by our finest artists and musicians. Check out one of the festival’s most cutting edge and exciting contemporary Irish music line-ups to date, Pillow Queens, Gemma Dunleavy & Adam Mohamed performed in partnership with Guinness Storehouse and hosted by 2FM’s Tara Stewart. For electronic fans, enjoy Homebeat presents Transitions, a series of 30 minute vignettes from a slew of Irish acts including Sorca McGrath, New Jackson, Simon Cullen, Polytunnel and Gareth Quinn Redmond.
Join some of Ireland’s finest contemporary musicians on a journey to comprehend love and life from the map left by James Joyce’s pen, as St. Patrick’s Festival 2021 premieres Pomes Penyeach, an innovative musical event featuring the poetry of Joyce, produced by Matthew Nolan and Adrian Crowley in collaboration with Lisa Hannigan, Sean Mac Erlaine, Kevin Murphy and Cora Venus Lunny. Elsewhere, Seoda: Celtic Connections is a celebration of traditional music and cultural connections through performances from leading artists across three locations. From Ireland, The Breath singer, Armagh born Ríognach Connolly and Manchester guitarist Stuart McCallum; from Scotland, award winning folk musician Bríghde Chaimbeul is making her mark on the global stage; and from Wales, SuperFurry Animals' frontman, Gruff Rhys needs no introduction. Host for this unique concert is BBC presenter Huw Stephens.
If you enjoy foot tapping beats, then be sure to check out The Cobblestone Sessions at The Complex. Doireann Ní Ghlacáin from TG4 presents, with performances by acts including the Rowsome Family, the McBride Family, uileann pipe maker Donnacha Dwyer, singer Micheál Quinn, fiddle player Michelle O’Brien and Sean O’Brion on concert flute. Festival 2021 also includes a spectacular programme of performances from some of our best-loved and up-and-coming musicians and filmed in beautiful locations across the country. Performers include Kíla, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Moxie, Pádraig Jack, Lucie Azconaga and Consuelo Nerea Breschi of Varo, Dylan Kennedy, Sin A Deir Sí featuring The Galway Girls and many more.
From Lost Lane The Soundtrack To Ireland’s Future, brought to you by First Music Contact, will showcase an eclectic lineup of 39 emerging artists from all corners of Ireland across St. Patrick’s Festival weekend including Celaviedmai (Galway), Enola Gay (Belfast) and Gemma Bradley (Derry). The Saint Patrick Show - A Musical & Visual Tale from Ancient to Modern Times will be performed and broadcast for the first very time from The Saint Patrick Centre in Downpatrick. Directed by Belinda Murphy of Riverdance, Vikings and Disney’s Disenchanted fame, it is inspired by stories and legends from our patron saint’s time right up to modern day Irish poetry and features Grammy nominated Fontaines D.C. frontman Grian Chatten, Matthew Campbell from the Shamrock Tenors, soprano Mary McCabe, and many other Irish artists.
If you’ve missed clubbing, St. Patrick’s Festival and I.NY Festival bring the dancefloor and beats directly to you, for I.NY House Party presents two 'Round Midnight events - the first sees acclaimed hip-hop photographer and archivist B+ dialling in from L.A and Peter Curtin hosting in Limerick, in a virtual get together that digs deep into their favourite records. For the second instalment DJ Graham Finn dials in from New York, Luke Una joins from Manchester, and Billy Scurry is on the decks in Dublin, spinning the records that have led them to friends, family and communities all 'round the world. Elsewhere Mother, the old school club night for our disco loving LGBTQI+ family and their friends, presents Queer Space: We Will Dance Again, a mini-doc focussing on queer spaces and what they mean to the LGBTQI+ community, followed by tunes from the Mother DJs celebrating Irish artists.
The spectacular Barróg on St. Patrick's Night gathers the best of Irish traditional players and singers. The fire will be on, the instruments on the floor, and the tunes will roll as they bring Whelan's on Wexford Street into kitchens and living rooms from Dublin to Derry, Cork to Castlebar and across the world. Check out toe-tapping performances by Lisa O’Neill, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Caoimhe Ní Fhlatharta, Seamus and Ronan Ó Flatharta, Diarmuid and Brian Mac Gloin, Cormac Begley, Ronan O’ Snodaigh and Myles O' Reilly, Doireann and Siún Glackin and Mohammad Asif Khan.
Many further music events will take place during the Festival, please see www.stpatricksfestival.ie for the full line up of concerts and clubs.
While we look forward to a time when Ireland commences the journey towards reopening, and prepares to welcome the world to our beautiful, vibrant, island, this year St. Patrick’s Festival invites all our people of every age to celebrate from home while enjoying the sounds of Ireland, in support of the tireless work of our healthcare warriors and our frontline workers, who battle every day to protect our people and lead us out of the pandemic.