Tomorrow is St Patrick’s Day, and although we can't all get to Ireland this year, there are cool ways to celebrate this quintessential Irish festival at home
Millions across the world mark St Patrick’s Day as both a holy day and as a secular celebration of Irish heritage and culture. The Irish and the want-to-be Irish put on their best green clothing, watch parades, go to parties, enjoy a taste of Ireland and toast the luck of the Irish. Sadly, most St Patrick’s Day parades around the world will not take place this year, but that does not mean the day will go unmarked.
Every year, the Global Greening - when iconic buildings, historic sites and even rivers go green for St Patrick’s Day - is a huge source of pride for Irish people worldwide. This year, more than ever, seeing international landmarks bathed in green will help to bring positivity and hope. This year, eight Taj hotels - including the Taj Mahal Palace and Taj Land Ends in Mumbai, Taj Mahal and Taj Palace in Delhi - will go green.
And people will be celebrating at home, wearing the green, and connecting online with the huge array of events being planned. To get yourself to the heart of the action even away from the Emerald Isle, log into www.stpatricksfestival to immerse yourself in a rich and dynamic programme of events created by a number of artists, musicians, performers, makers, arts and live events workers, and community organisations across Ireland. Expect to see music, theatre, art, performance, poetry, storytelling, traditional arts, tours, art installations and more, all of which connects 80 million people across the planet who claim Irish heritage.
The Man Behind The Festival
Little is known about St Patrick, patron saint of Ireland; much of what is known is shrouded in myth and legend. He has been credited with curing the sick, raising people from the dead, and many other miracles. It is believed that he drove all the snakes out of Ireland. Many of the legends surrounding Ireland’s patron saint blend Christianity with characters and beliefs from ancient times, with perhaps the most famous example being the Celtic cross, created by combining the sun, a powerful pagan symbol, with the cross to form an iconic symbol of Ireland. Yet, Patrick was not Irish. He is thought to have originally come from either Wales or Scotland, from where he was abducted and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16, and forced to herd sheep. After escaping back to Britain, he had a vision and returned to Ireland to spread the word of God. He remained in Ireland converting, preaching and building churches until his death – on March 17 – in 461 in County Down.
The Celebrations Continue
Even after March 17, you can continue to celebrate St Patrick with a series of online TradFest Temple Bar concerts featuring some of Ireland’s greatest performers. Fresh from a series of streamed concerts from historic Dublin Castle, the organisers of TradFest, one of Ireland’s top music festivals, are preparing another stunning set of events to celebrate St Patrick’s Week 2021.
From March 18 – 21, St Patrick’s Week@Home will present an additional four nights of music featuring a selection of Ireland’s leading performers, recorded in the Georgian splendour of Newbridge House and Farm, County Dublin.
The series kicks off on March 18 with leading Irish actor Stephen Rea’s tribute to his late friend and renowned poet Derek Mahon, described at the time of his death last October as “the greatest living writer in English”. On Friday, March 19, legendary fiddler Frankie Gavin, founder of the globally renowned De Dannan folk group, will join accomplished Galway musicians Edel Fox and Catherine McHugh, as well as SibeÌÂÂal, specialist in the centuries old Irish style of sean-nós singing. Saturday, March 10, will bring a night of songs made famous by The Dubliners. Remember Ronnie and The Dubliners will be performed by the son of the beloved Ronnie Drew, whose vocal sound was unforgettable. Backed by his own superb band, Phelim Drew is an acclaimed musician in his own right. The series wraps on Sunday with The Best of TradFest@Home from Dublin Castle, a rousing concert featuring many of the artists who performed during the TradFest January concert programme. Look out for the Hothouse Flowers, Tolu McKay, Dervish, Altan, Aoife Scott, Maighread & Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill and many more. One further TradFest Temple Bar event, entitled Ireland in Music, will be available to stream outside Ireland only at 8.00pm on the same day. Tickets for St Patrick’s Week@Home will be on sale at www.tradfest.ie, with the tribute to Derek Mahon streaming free.
So go on, celebrate St Patrick’s Day your way at home: wear green, sip on Guinness or Jamesons, watch some Riverdance, and get your Irish hat on!
See also: 5 fun things to do in Dublin, Ireland