THE Saint Patrick’s Festival celebrations will burst into life in Limerick with a programme of family fun activities, two parades and a feast of action at the heart of the Bank Holiday weekend.
The “Discover Limerick” theme will be to the fore of this year’s parade on Friday, March 17 with Viking warriors staking their claim to be the first overseas visitors to discover the Shannonside city.
More than 1,500 people will take part in the parade including old favourites Buí Bolg who are collaborating with Limerick Youth Festival to help celebrate their 50th anniversary.
Lumen Street Theatre return along with Limerick Youth Dance Company, Cloughjordan Circus Club, the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance with stilt-walkers, musicians, clubs, bands and groups adding to the colour on the day.
The weekend festivities will continue on Saturday, March 18 with an afternoon of comedy, high-energy acrobatics, mind-boggling manoeuvres and jaw dropping antics at the Street Show Saturday event.
Street performers Wobbly Circus, Hakuna Matata Acrobats, Fanzini Brothers, Stephen McGinley’s crazy circus, and magician Jack Wise will perform on Thomas Street and Bedford Row from 12 noon to 3pm.
The city will host its 51st International Band Championship from 12 noon on Sunday, March 19 with 20 bands from the US, Europe and Ireland viewing for honours. This year’s event has a new award on offer, with the “best pipe band” category up for grabs.
The parade will end at Arthur’s Quay Park, where there will be a free concert ahead of the announcement of the winners.
The activities don’t stop there as GAA fans can head to the Gaelic Grounds to see All-Ireland champions Limerick host Wexford in the national hurling league at 1.45pm, following by the national football league meeting between Limerick and Kildare at 3.45pm.
Other family-friendly events taking place over the weekend include: St Patrick’s Unlocked at Limerick Milk Market from March 12 to 20; St Patrick’s Weekend at the Hunt Museum from March 17 to 19; Limerick History Tour and Leprechaun Hunt at the People’s Museum on March 17; St Patrick’s Tide at St Mary’s Cathedral from March 12 to 19.
The action is not just confined to the city with ten local parades being organised throughout the county.
A digital guide outlining the full programme of festival events is available here