Fun and festivities to celebrate St Patrick’s Day

Jumping for joy ahead of the Spring Carnival.
Jumping for joy ahead of the Spring Carnival.

There’s set to be plenty of fun and festivities across Derry and Inishowen this weekend, as hundreds celebrate the Feast of St Patrick.

Derry’s 2019 Spring Carnival celebrations are set to be a vibrant and colourful celebration of children and young people as Derry City and Strabane District Council announced plans that will include music, dance, food and culture.

This will all climax with the Spring Carnival Parade on Sunday, March 17 at 2pm when over 600 street performers and dancers will weave their way through the historic city centre.

The theme of the parade will be Tír na nÓg (The Land of Youth) in celebration of Council’s Youth 19 programme - a year dedicated to young people aged 12 – 24 where Council will work with young people and partners to promote their voices, needs, priorities and rights.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor John Boyle, will lead the parade in St Patrick’s Day and he encouraged local people to get involved in the celebrations.

“There is a strong focus on celebrating the diverse multitude of cultures that exist in our Council area and I feel the celebration that everyone in our City and District can get involved in.

“Congratulations to the Festival and Events team at Council and their community partners for developing another varied and packed programme of events and I would encourage the public to familiarise themselves with the programme on Council’s website and plan a weekend to remember.”

The parade, delivered by the North West Carnival Initiative, will look back at the story of Tír na nÓg and feature depictions of youth in myth and legend both in the Celtic tradition and in the many diverse cultures across the world.

The programme will also feature the Ubuntu Global festival, a celebration of diversity and inclusion through traditional music, song and dance from around the world.

Ubuntu is supported by the Good Relations Team in Derry City and Strabane District Council which is funded by The Executive Office (TEO) District Council’s Good Relations Programme.

Other highlights include street theatre, Try Your Luck Arts and Crafts in the Guildhall and On Street Trad in The Diamond and Waterloo Place.

Spring Sounds in Guildhall Square will feature live music and dance from 12pm – 5pm while, for the first time, the Forever Young stage inside the Guildhall will host a traditional Irish céilí.

The music for both stages has been programmed by Greater Shantallow Community Arts in preparation for our city hosting Fleadh Cheoil Dhoire in May.

For those seeking a more relaxed environment, the Peace Garden will feature an enchanting performance of ‘Away with the Fairies’ by the In Your Space Circus troop.

Other activities taking place over the weekend are a 5k Road Race in aid of Foyle Hospice, the Apprentice Boy’s St Patrick’s Celebration and themed activities in An Cultúrlann and the Waterside Shared Village.

Full details of the Spring Carnival are available at www.derrystrabane.com/springcarnival.

Meanwhile, in Inishowen, Moville’s festivities kick off this Saturday, with a traditional night of music and dance in the Trawlerman Bar at 10 p.m. All musicians and singers are welcome.

The big parade will bring colour, fun and lots more to the town and begins at 2.30 p.m. sharp, with bands, floats and a bouncy castle. Floats are welcome from anywhere and everywhere and there is no entry fee.

The assembly point for motorised floats is Glencrow, below the Co-Op, and bands and walking participants should assemble at the Corner Bar, at the end of Quay Street.

And the festivities won’t end there, as the ever-popular David Craig and Band will provide entertainment in the Square before and after the parade, from 2-5 p.m.

In Buncrana, the fun-filled parade begins at the Convent at 3 p.m., before it will make its way over St. Mary’s Road and through the Main Street. Organisers are calling on everyone to get involved and get out their best fancy dress - adult and children alike. Entry for floats is free and there will be cash prizes in all categories.

A number of well-loved cartoon characters will be on Buncrana on the day and there will also be great music on the street afterwards.