Thousands of fun-hunters will be flocking to the streets of Armagh for the annual St Patrick’s Carnival Procession, one of the top events billed as part of this year’s 10-day St Patrick’s Festival 2016.
A feast for the senses, the carnival procession will provide a spectacular display of colour, music, dance and entertainment which will provide hours of enjoyment for the crowds that will throng the city’s streets.
An annual favourite, the Carnival Procession in Armagh plays a central role in this year’s St Patrick’s Festival, which was officially launched at a major event in the city on Friday 4th March 2016.
Billed as Northern Ireland’s biggest-ever Festival to celebrate Ireland’s famous patron saint, the jam-packed 10-day programme has been welcoming visitors from far and wide to enjoy more than 100 events that perfectly showcase the finest music, theatre, dance, and spoken word.
The result of an innovative and exciting collaboration between Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, the festival incorporates the largest series of events of its kind in the UK and Ireland, taking place in multiple locations and venues.
Under way since Thursday 10th March, the programme of events is already proving to be a huge success and with many more events to choose from before the festival finale on Sunday 20th March.
Cllr Catherine Seeley, Deputy Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, said:
“It has been a thrill to welcome so many visitors from across Ireland and beyond to enjoy such a breadth of amazing activities and events across Armagh City, the district and further afield.
“A solid favourite already, tomorrow’s Carnival Procession will this year prove its worth as an unforgettable annual highlight when the streets will be thronged with revellers of all ages to enjoy a spectacle of colour and sound. This is a lively and successful festival attracting local and tourist visitors in their droves, and this year it’s promising to be bigger and better than ever.”
The St Patrick’s Festival 2016 also celebrates the region’s heritage of local produce, with numerous events designed to celebrate the region’s pride of place as part of NI Year of Food and Drink, while the spiritual significance of St Patrick and his effect on the area is duly noted with numerous spiritual gatherings, choral and musical highlights.
Yesterday the Primates of the two principal Churches in Ireland, Archbishop Richard Clarke and Archbishop Eamon Martin, will speak about what St Patrick means to them as part of this year’s internationally-acclaimed St Patrick’s Lecture event at The Market Place Theatre. In conversation with BBC journalist Tara Mills the two will discuss how St Patrick’s words still resonate and have relevance for many of the challenges we face today.
The Market Place Theatre itself plays a key role in showcasing several of the festival’s signature events, while there are also a series of specially-planned events at the Navan Fort & Centre, the Armagh Observatory, St Patrick’s Square, Downpatrick, Inch Abbey and at Down Cathedral.
Music plays a key role throughout the festival, with key highlights including the Ulster Orchestra, The Arco String Quartet, Duke Special, BBC’s The Voice winner Andrea Begley, Moya Brennan, Brian Finnegan, Beoga and Connla add to the high-calibre of acts scheduled to perform.
A free shuttle bus service will be available to transport visitors between Armagh and Downpatrick for a selection of key events taking place over the course of the Festival.