20 Feb, 2013

Handfuls of Free Fun at St. Patrick’s Festival 2013

Festival welcomes greatest ever number of international participants. 20 February 2013: Vibrant Festival characters and children joined the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar, TD in Dublin this morning to launch St. Patrick’s Festival 2013, which will take place this March 14th- 18th. A fantastic five-day programme of free events, celebrating the very best in Irish and International talent, will mark our national holiday. In the year of The Gathering, the Festival Parade will explore the theme “Great Things Happen When We Get Together”.

The greatest ever number of overseas participants will take part in the 2013 St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  For the Gathering Ireland the Festival has introduced a new element to the parade, The People’s Parade.  Participants from around the world from Mexico to Malaysia will join the festivities and march through the streets of the capital cheered on by thousands of spectators as they make their way past some of Ireland’s most historic landmarks.

Minister Varadkar said: “This year’s St Patrick’s Festival has embraced The Gathering by inviting thousands of visitors from around the world to take part in the main parade which promises to be an unforgettable experience. The St Patrick’s Festival is one of the biggest events planned for the Gathering, and is already playing a central role in promoting Ireland around the world. Whether you’re from Dublin or Dubai, the fact that most of the Festival is free of charge is another bonus.”

Edelle Moss, Acting CEO of St. Patrick’s Festival commented “We are delighted in the year of the Gathering Ireland to be offering the opportunity for so many overseas visitors to be active participants in our world renowned Festival Parade.  It will certainly be a memorable experience for all and with participants from over 45 different countries it’s bound to be a truly international celebration.  The fantastic five day programme is packed with street theatre, pageantry, music, culture, family events and lots of surprises ensuring that regardless of age or tastes there is something for everyone to enjoy.”

The I Love My City programme which, due to its success in 2012, will now run over four days Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th will showcase Dublin’s rich and vibrant cultural heritage at Festival time and consists of a series of FREE ‘headline’ events which have been developed in collaboration with cultural institutions and partners.  Established and emerging artists from a variety of disciplines including poetry, dance, visual art, filmmaking, history, literature, music and theatre will feature.  The ‘Sacred Harp’ in Trinity College’s Library, ‘Resound’ in the National Gallery,  and ‘Night Lights’ in the Boys School, Smock Alley are but a few of the specially curated events in this year’s series.

Kick starting this year’s Festival celebrations is the Trad Stage in the heart of Dublin city. On Thursday, 14th March, Meeting House Square in Temple Bar will come alive with the sounds of this rousing gig when Liam O’Maonlaí presents the best of Irish Culture and Music. Other Festival favourites, such as the Festival Céilí are back in the line up for 2013. On Friday, 15th March, visitors will be immersed in Irish culture and craic at this outdoor celebration of traditional Irish dancing. The Festival Céilí offers a unique and fun-filled way to spend an afternoon dancing in the streets of Dublin. Expert callers will lead the crowd through dances such as the Siege of Ennis, the Walls of Limerick and lots more.

The SuperValu Big Day Out (Saturday 16th March), set in the heart of Georgian Dublin, Merrion Square, will come alive with the sights and sounds of a bustling, colourful street carnival on Festival Saturday. Street theatre, quirky performances, open-air shows, music, fun zones, workshops, SuperValu zone, arts and crafts, the science zone, games, Irish language events and much more will keep young and old entertained throughout the day.

Céilí House Live in Concert (in association with RTÉ Radio 1) on Saturday evening, 16th March in the National Concert Hall will be headlined by Irish Fiddle virtuoso Martin Hayes with guitarist Dennis Cahill and a specially assembled All-Star Céilí Band from Co. Mayo. They will be joined by other special guests on the night to complete the stellar line-up. Céilí House presenter, Kieran Hanrahan, will host what promises to be an atmospheric musical evening. Tickets are available priced from €18- €35 at the National Concert Hall box office (01 4170000 or

Another Festival favourite, the Festival Treasure Hunt takes place on Monday, 18th March.  This free fun filled team challenge involves an exciting trail through a collection of Dublin city’s landmark buildings and venues, some well known and others that are hidden gems. Participants are encouraged to dress up, and, with the theme ‘Explorers’ for 2013, expect to spot Indiana Jones, Tom Crean or even Christopher Columbus navigating their way around the city on bank holiday Monday.
To date there are over 3,200 confirmed Gatherings for 2013 with the people of Ireland reaching out to our many millions of friends, family, loved ones and connections overseas, inviting them to Ireland this year to celebrate with us. To see what’s planned, visit

St. Patrick’s Festival 2013 will take place from 14th- 18th March. See


For further information, please contact:
Maria McGrath, Fleishman-Hillard, on 01 6188420/ 0861653055 or
Kevin Moore, Fleishman-Hillard on 01 6188499/ 0868252611 or

The principal aim of St. Patrick’s Festival, since its inauguration, is to develop a major annual international festival around the national holiday over which the Irish people would stand proud. It sets out to reflect the talents and achievements of Irish people on many national and world stages, and it acts as an exciting showcase for the manifold skills of the people of Ireland, of every age and social background.

As the one national holiday that is celebrated in more countries around the world than any other, St. Patrick’s Day is the day when everyone wants to be Irish.

Why was it started?
• To offer a national festival that ranks as one of the greatest celebrations in the world
• To create energy and excitement throughout Ireland via innovation, creativity and grassroots involvement, and marketing activity
• To provide the opportunity and motivation for people of Irish descent (and those who sometimes wish they were Irish) to attend and join in the imaginative and expressive celebrations
• To project, internationally, an accurate image of Ireland as a creative, professional and sophisticated country with wide appeal.

The first St. Patrick’s Festival was held over one day, and night, on March 17th 1996. The live audience for the day was estimated to be 430,000.

In 1997, we dropped the word “Day” from our title and it became “St. Patrick’s Festival”, a three day event. The Festival has since grown to become a 4-5 day Festival and in 2001 was enjoyed by 1.2million people.

Preparation for the first St. Patrick’s Festival used to take only 5 months, but with the growth of the Festival, it now takes 18 months to plan for Ireland’s biggest annual celebration.

Previously, St. Patrick’s Festival has added €43.7million to the economy annually in spending by tourists with the number rising to a staggering €50.5million when the spend by Dubliners attending was included.


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