The 2019 National St Patrick’s Festival celebrates Ireland’s rich heritage of Storytelling in a spectacular five-day programme showcasing the very best of traditional and contemporary Irish storytelling. The Festival will feature a host of fun-filled family experiences, breathtaking large scale events, diverse and challenging newly commissioned performances, a myriad of musical treats, the magnificent National St Patrick’s Day Parade and new for 2019, a three-day Festival Village at Merrion Square, Dublin.

St Patrick’s Festival is the biggest celebration of a National identity in the world. Ireland has a deep-rooted tradition of storytelling, reaching back over thousands of years. From spellbinding Irish myths, to defining moments in our history with heroes and villains, to our classic and contemporary stories, the tales are vibrant and dynamic. Through them, life’s rich stories are passed from generation to generation. Using spoken word, music, visual art, literature, film, theatre, street performance and circus, this year the festival will celebrate our world-renowned connection with Storytelling and bring to life ancient tales and contemporary narratives.

We’ve picked out some highlights but for the full lowdown, visit

The first St Patrick’s Festival was held over one day and night, on March 17th 1996, it has since grown to a 4-5 day celebration.

St Patrick’s Festival Parade

Ireland has a deep rooted connection with this year's theme, Storytelling. Street theatre and pageant companies, gear up to dazzle with their artistic interpretations of the 2019 theme. Their worldly performances and magnificent creations are set to intertwine seamlessly with Dublin's streets, as the capital poses as a backdrop for the extravaganza. Irish and International bands will deliver rhythmically captivating musical scores that will echo through the streets of the capital. St Patrick's Festival Parade is a monumental occasion for Ireland and boasts an unforgettable atmosphere that cannot be missed. The Festival and its procession are on track to charm a record breaking number of attendees this year.


Festival Village

Merrion Square will be transformed into a bustling Festival Village, with three days of fantastic events, fun adventures and glorious food, featuring a Gaeltacht area, Céilí Mór, circus and science shows, children's readings and discos, live music, village hall talks, street theatre, world food stalls and much more. Experiment with the enchanting world of science with workshops, explosive shows and enthralling exhibitions in the Science Foundation Ireland Science Zone. Join leading STEM presenter Dr. Ken Farquhar, and find out about card tricks, the height of a Diabolo throw, juggling patterns and other astounding stunts and marvellous trickery in this mind-bending show. Get hands-on with cellular and molecular biology in Cell Explorers Workshop. Fancy electrocuting a doll on a Van Der Graff generator or shooting giant smoke rings at each other with fabulous Smoke Cannons? Join Junior Einsteins to find out more! Dig for ancient treasure at the Village Big Dig. Put your hard hat on and get your hands dirty to experience life as an archaeologist. Over at the Lifetime Lab, explore large scale maths exhibits that encourage the wonder of discovery and investigation. No Irish Village is complete without a Gaeltacht! Whether you're a Gaeilgeoir or keen to learn the cúpla focal, you're sure to be entertained with a series of fun and informative shows in the Irish language.


Greening the City

In celebration of Ireland's national holiday, buildings, venues and spaces across the city illuminate green for the Festival. After the sun sets, take a stroll through the streets of Dublin's fair city to enjoy these iconic buildings bathed in light, a cityscape transformed. 2019 Greening locations include: 3Arena, Arnotts, Brown Thomas, Civic Offices, dlr Co. Council Town Halls, 1 George's Quay, Guinness Storehouse, Jervis Shopping Centre, The Mansion House, National Gallery of Ireland, National Museum of Ireland, Natural History, Merrion Street, Collins Barracks, National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, St Patrick's Cathedral, PWC, and many more!


St Patrick’s Festival 5k Road Race

The hugely popular St Patrick's Festival 5k Road Race is back! This fast and flat course will take you right through the heart of historic, beautiful Georgian Dublin. An ideal race for families, fun runners and dedicated athletes. Expect a fun and lively atmosphere along the route as spectators cheer on the participants. Racers can relax afterwards at Race HQ in the Round Room at the Mansion House, where there will be some well–deserved refreshments and prize giving.


City at Play: Funfair

From waltzers and bumper cars to old time carousels, there's something for everyone at the City at Play: Funfair! Dare to be suspended upside down or whisked through the air at amazing speed! A firm Festival favourite, the Funfair will light up the city with colourful carnival fairground attractions. Suitable for all the family, enjoy the thrills and spills of the Funfair experience!


Céilí Mór

Céilí Mór, is a free large-scale outdoor, bilingual, participative event which celebrates traditional Irish dance, language and music. Learn the steps, enjoy the live music from the mainstage and soak up the atmosphere. Hosted by former Riverdancer and champion Irish step-dancer Dearbhla Lennon, with world-class accompaniment from the Matt Cunningham Band. Céilí Caller, Jerry O'Reilly will lead participants through the dances, with demonstrations by the dancers of Brooks Academy both on stage and in the audience. Suitable for beginners and enthusiasts alike!


Candlelit Tales

Candlelit Tales are a troupe of musicians, dancers, storytellers and performers that have a passion for injecting new life into the old and sometimes forgotten stories. Saint Patrick is said to have converted the Pagan Irish to Christianity. But what did the Pagan Irish have to say about that? Come and hear the stories of what happens when pagan warrior poets and Christian monks talk philosophy, when goddesses decide to settle down and build convents, and when the Devil herself gets run out of town. Candlelit Tales is a storytelling and theatre company started by sibling storytelling duo, Aron and Sorcha Hegarty.


Other Events...

The Guinness Supper Club

St Patrick's Festival and the Guinness Storehouse are uniting once more again to present an extraordinary evening of beer and food. The hugely popular Guinness Supper Club returns to the Guinness Storehouse as part of this year's St. Patrick's Festival programme. Great beer deserves great food so Sean Hunter, Head Chef at the Guinness Storehouse and Ian Colgan, Guinness Storehouse Beer Sommelier have worked together to create a menu that celebrates bold flavours and creativity. The menu will feature the very best Irish meat and seafood, paired with bold and characterful Guinness brews, all served up with great conversation, live music and all the magic that can be expected from the Home of Guinness and St Patrick's Festival.


Lavender Walk: Tour of Historic Gay Dublin

Join the ultimate walking tour of historic LGBT Dublin hosted by well-known civil rights activist and historian, Tonie Walsh, as he trawls the socio-cultural and political life of the city. From St Patrick's proposition by a band of randy sailors in the 5th century, to decriminalisation of male homosexuality, the advent of marriage equality and adoption of trans rights in the 20th century. Expect two hours of education, illumination and possibly a little titillation. *Tonie Walsh is an activist who has been tireless in the pursuit of LGBT rights. He was the founding editor of GCC and he is the independent curator of the Irish Queer Archive, now held at the National Library of Ireland. Through moonlighting as a DJ and club promoter (notably with the Horny Organ Tribe and Powderbubble) he has left an indelible mark on Irish queer cultural life.


The Words That Bind Us

The Words That Bind Us is a project that brings together poets from Ireland and Scotland to collaborate with a new generation of young writers. Students from Trinity Comprehensive School in Ballymun have been working with the renowned poets Stephen James Smith (Ire) and Leyla Josephine (Scot) and weekly guest poets, to create new work through participative workshops that explore the themes of belonging and identity. Leyla Josephine has also been working with a group of young girls to produce Creative Sisters, a female only creative space celebrating the power and potential of young women growing up in Dublin today. Irish poets Felispeaks, Stephen James Smith and Dagago Hart travel to Edinburgh on March 13 as part of an international exchange with Neu! Reekie! & St Patrick's Festival presenting an evening of poetry in the renowned Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh. The culmination of the young poets work will be beautifully presented on Saturday 16th on the axis stage featuring special guest appearances Laureate na nÓg Sarah Crossan, Felispeaks, Dagogo Hart and John Cummins. Running concurrently with the live show, will be a new installation of the work created during the workshops, displayed through sound & photography throughout Axis.


Sing Out Loud – A Choral Trail in the City

Take to the streets for an inclusive, celebratory programme in partnership with Age & Opportunity's Bealtaine Festival and Tesco finest*, with a choral trail featuring older persons and inter-generational choirs including, The Forget Me Nots, and Forever Young choirs, performing at Dublin's most iconic landmarks sharing their stories through song. Bealtaine has been celebrating choral singing through its Dawn Chorus events since 2009, where choirs around the country are invited to sing outdoors, at a scenic location on a morning in May. In 2019, for the first time, a Bealtaine Festival Choir will represent the festival at a number of events. This choir embodies the spirit of Bealtaine and will preview their Dawn Chorus performance as well as the specially commissioned work, The Little Waves of Breffny, by composer Tom Lane, along with other favourites at this very special St Patrick's Festival event. Join the choral trail on Saturday for a fun pop up sing-a-long. Bring the kids, the grandkids and Sing Out Loud! Or, come along to the parade on Sunday to get a flavour of the Dawn Chorus, which promises to be an uplifting and joyful performance by the Bealtaine Festival Choir.


New Irish Works: Contemporary Photography From Ireland

Enjoy a selection of photographic projects by Irish artists presented at The Library Project, Temple Bar. Organised by PhotoIreland Foundation, visitors will discover recent works by Irish and Ireland based artists, demonstrating the diverse range of practices coming from Ireland. PhotoIreland's talent selection, New Irish Works 2019, will display works by Aisling McCoy, Cian Burke, Dorje de Burgh, George Voronov, Jamin Keogh, Phelim Hoey, Robert Ellis, Roisin White, Sarah Flynn, and Zoe Hamill. New Irish Works is a triennial project run by PhotoIreland Foundation to represent and promote the growing diversity of contemporary photographic practices in Ireland, with the aim of enriching the Irish ecosystem with much needed new voices, facilitate much deserved new opportunities, and invigorate the Irish Photography scene. In its first iteration in 2013, New Irish Works presented 25 projects, in 2016 there were 20 projects selected. Now in 2019, the selection of 10 projects will be officially launched at the Museum of Contemporary Photography of Ireland next July. This is your opportunity to see these works first!


EPIC: Across the Waves – The Seafaring Irish Exhibition

Across the Waves: The Seafaring Irish Exhibition. Have you ever wondered what life was like aboard a ship for nineteenth-century emigrants, or how seventeenth century Irish merchants began their trading in wine, salt and wool? This new exhibition will explore the history of the Irish at sea and their stories of adventure, opportunity and tragedy. Epic: The Irish Emigration Museum, has a fascinating program of events taking place throughout the weekend inspired by the theme of Storytelling, including 'Across the Waves: The Seafaring Irish', a panel discussion with History Ireland Hedge School, family craft and interactive story workshops with award winning writer, Sarah Webb, and a songs, stories and performance event entitled Gnás: 'Thousand Are Sailing', which explores the theme of emigration which runs through the Irish folk arts.


St Patrick's Festival

Highlights from the 2018 Festival