Your guide to what’s happening on St Patrick’s Day across Northern Ireland
March 13, 2023
Colourful floats, dancers and musicians will help celebrate Ireland’s patron saint.
Events are taking place across all six counties, with some of the biggest parades in Belfast and Armagh.
Here, we round up the best of the festivities.
St Patrick’s Eve concert: The Duncairn Arts Centre will be presenting a family-friendly concert from 5-8pm in Custom House Square on Thursday (March 16).
Dublin singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan will be headlining, while other performers include trad supergroup Jiggy and singer-songwriter David Keenan.
There will be free face painting, circus performers, balloon artists and buskers to keep children entertained.
St Patrick’s Day parade: The theme of this year’s parade is ‘Voices of Belfast’ and celebrates the city’s vibrant music heritage, from pop to punk and traditional to disco.
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The parade starts from Belfast City Hall at 1.30pm, weaving its way through the city centre via Chichester Street, Victoria Street, High Street, Castle Place and Donegall Place, back to the City Hall.
The route will enable good viewing opportunities and people are encouraged to gather on footpaths on both sides of the streets.
St George’s Market: Members of Ards Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann will be performing traditional Irish music in the famous venue from 12-1.30pm on St Patrick’s Day.
Spar Craic 10k 2023: A St Patrick’s Day race beginning at City Hall and ending at Ormeau Park is part of the wider Belfast City Council efforts to create an all-inclusive celebration.
All levels of runners are welcome.
St Patrick’s Day Steam: The Whitehead Railway Museum is offering special St Patrick’s Day train rides.
Enjoy some entertainment on the platform with Irish dancing from noon. There will also be a chance to hunt for sacks filled with gold.
Seasonal food is available in Platform 3 cafe, with live music from 12-2pm.
St Patrick’s Lecture 2023: On the eve of St Patrick’s Day, Church of Ireland and Catholic Primates Archbishop John McDowell and Archbishop Eamon Martin will speak about what the patron saint means to them and their service in a modern world at Market Place Theatre at 4pm.
Shambles Yard concert: Taking place from 5.30-8.30pm on March 16, the event offers a fantastic line-up of live music, with singer and flautist Rioghnach Connolly headlining.
Also performing on the evening will be Celtic trad rock band More Power To Your Elbow, local talent Pearse Larkin, the Qua Family Band, and there will be Irish dancing from the Lorraine Scallon School of Dance.
St Patrick’s Eve vigil walk: An annual activity in the city’s Home of St Patrick’s Festival, the torchlit walk is led by the two Primates. The vigil starts from the Church of Ireland cathedral at 9pm and finishes at the Catholic cathedral at 10pm. It is a symbolic reflection of St Patrick’s own journey to unite through Christianity.
St Patrick’s Day community parade: The community parade makes its way through the city centre, starting at the Christian Brothers’ School at 2.30pm. It proceeds onto Cathedral Road, past the Shambles Market, before finishing in the grounds of Cathedral Road Recreation Centre at 3.30pm.
Newry parade: Led by St Patrick himself, the parade will offer a feast for the eyes and ears as swirling dancers, community floats and costumed characters entertain the crowds.
The parade will depart from The Quays Shopping Centre at 1pm and follows the main traditional route via Merchants Quay, Sugar Island, Kildare Street and The Mall.
Downpatrick parade: The parade will start at Downshire Estate, Ardglass Road, at 1.30pm and follow the main route into town, finishing at Rathkeltair car park in Lower Market Street. Festivities across Downpatrick will run from noon to 4pm. There will be a number of church services and also a full programme of events in the Down County Museum and Down Arts Centre from 11am.
Enniskillen parade: This year’s theme is ‘Back to the Future’ with entertainment beginning at 1.30pm at the Broadmeadow presented by the DJ Bob. The parade will be led off at 3.30pm by 2023 Grand Marshals and will feature a range of traditional and carnival-style floats, vintage and futuristic vehicles, acrobatics, live music, as well as the opportunity to meet T-Rex, the interactive dinosaur, and her baby Rex, plus much more.
St Patrick’s Day spring carnival parade: The theme this year is ‘Recycle & Renewal’ and it will depart from Bishop street at 3pm. Communities will come together in a parade that will use the main elements of nature — fire, air, earth and water — to creatively highlight the significance of recycling and reusing, reducing waste, and the positive impact this can have on our environment for future generations.
Buskathon: As part of the celebrations, from 6pm on Friday a 24-hour buskathon will be hosted by local performers in Guildhall Square in aid of mayor Sandra Duffy’s chosen charity, First Housing Aid and Support Services.
Strabane St Patrick’s Day parade: The parade will kick off at Holy Cross College at 2pm. The all-singing, all-dancing event will make its way through Melmount Road, Bridge Street, Market Street, Abercorn Square, Railway Road and finish in Dock Street.
Dungannon: St Patrick’s Day celebrations will be hosted on The Hill Of The O’Neill from 1-4.30pm. There will be live music, face painting, Irish dancing, amusements, arts and crafts, and more.
Headlining the event will be the Blackwater Céilí Band, widely recognised as one of the finest exponents of Irish traditional music.
Omagh: The St Patrick’s Day celebrations will take place from 12-4pm, featuring everything from music to dance, drama, amusements, and family entertainment.
Market Street/High Street will host most of the events, with outdoor performances from All-Ireland champions The Forge Ceilí Band; St Eugene’s Brass and Reed Band; Barry Kirwan; Clogher & District Pipe Band, traditional group Blaisín and Urban Motion.
Ulster American Folk Park: On St Patrick’s Day the park is offering the opportunity to make traditional Irish crafts, taste freshly made champ and bring home a shamrock to remember the patron saint. There will also be a traditional music from 4-6pm.