Limerick St. Patrick’s Festival celebrations will burst into life as the much anticipated St. Patrick’s Day parade makes a welcome return after being postponed for two years due to the pandemic.
Visual artists Buí Bolg will join Spotlight Stage School, Artastic, the Hit Machine Drummers and hundreds of local participants in a carnival of colour, music and spectacle celebrating this year’s theme, Belonging and Identity.
To celebrate their back to back All-Ireland senior hurling titles, members of the Limerick Senior Hurling Panel are this year’s Grand Marshal. They will be joined by the Liam MacCarthy Cup as they lead a 250-strong procession from Limerick GAA.
The expected tens of thousands of spectators will be thrilled by colourful and high energy entries as they make their way down O’Connell Street from Roden Street on 17 March from 12 noon. The route turns left onto Cecil Street, before making a right turn onto Henry Street, as the parade continues its way to Rutland Street.
In what is a first for the festival, Limerick City and County Council has partnered with ASD Ireland to host an area along the route specifically for people with sensory issues.
A special autism friendly area will be located along the route at the Crescent, and will include a sensory room, covered marquee and seating area. Access to this area will be limited with special wristbands being provided by ASD Ireland.
For more information on this area and to apply for access, please check out ASDIreland.ie.
Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Daniel Butler said: “I’m delighted that we are seeing a return of the Limerick St Patrick’s Festival to the streets of Limerick after a two-year break. The excitement is growing among participants, and it will be great for us celebrate our national holiday and our culture in such a unique way.”
“I’m also pleased that those with sensory issues will be able to enjoy the festival, as the Council in partnership with ASD Ireland are providing a special area for people with autism and their families. This is another way that Limerick is reflecting the theme of this year’s parade of Belonging and Identity.”
Dr. Pippa Little, Arts Officer with Limerick City and County Council said: “This year’s St Patrick’s Festival brings a host of events from our culture and creatives and our communities for everyone to enjoy from the parade to the Band Championship, the Festival Fire and Aerial Extravaganza, the Scavenger Hunt in the People’s Park and plenty more.”
“We are delighted that our festival highlights, the parade and band championship are truly inclusive for all. We are working with ASD Ireland to ensure that all members of community can enjoy the events equally.”
Limerick has the edge on other cities as it hosts the country's only International Band Championship, now celebrating its 50th edition.
A total of 15 bands will be taking part in the championship with hundreds of musicians travelling from America and Europe as well as local and other Irish bands.
The sight of all these marching bands along the route is will be something to behold on Sunday 20 March from 12 noon.
The route for the Limerick International Band Championship is also changed this year.
Starting from Hartstonge Street, participants will march down O’Connell Street, turn left onto Cecil Street, before turning right onto Henry Street. The parade route will end at Arthur’s Quay Park, where there will be a free concert ahead of the announcement of the winners.
This year, the prize-winners for the best Limerick band will be given the Sammy Benson Best Local Band Award in commemoration of one of Limerick’s greatest proponents of marching bands, Sammy Benson.
Similar to the St Patrick’s Day Parade, the special room will again be provided at The Crescent for those with sensory issues to allow them to enjoy the competition. To reserve a place in this area log on to asdireland.ie.
Among the other family-friendly events taking place for Limerick St Patrick’s Festival include:
St. Patrick’s Festival Fire and Aerial Extravaganza – Potato Market, Merchant’s Quay – 19 March
Fidget Feet Aerial Dance Theatre join Ireland’s premier fire performance company ROGU to light up stage and sky with a spectacular fusion of flights and fire! Numbers are limited and pre-booking essential.
Panoramic Wheel - Arthur’s Quay Park - 04 March - 21 April
Soar above the city and take in the stunning 360 degree views across Limerick’s skyline on the spectacular 38 metre panoramic wheel. Sky-high fun for all the family.
Beat on the Street - Hunt Museum Garden - 18 March
Drum Dance Ireland welcomes you to the world of drumming where the star of the show is you! Children aged 5 to 13 are invited to play bass drums, congas, shakers and bells resulting in a fully interactive fun-filled percussion performance! Pre-booking essential.
St. Patrick’s Festival Scavenger Hunt – People’s Park, Pery Square - 18 – 20 March
Join Lumen Street Theatre on a magical journey of discovery on a self-guided scavenger hunt throughout the People’s Park. This project is funded through the Local Live Performance Scheme, Dept. Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport & Media.
St Patrick’s Festival Street Show Saturday – Bedford Row – 19 March
Join us on the streets of Limerick for a day of performance, science and spectacle with antics from Strong Women Science, Monsieur Gusto, Galway Community Circus and Master Magicians Steve Spade and Jack Wise!
St Patrick’s Weekend at Limerick Milk Market – 17-20 March
Enjoy the delicious buzz of Limerick’s celebrated market across four fun-filled days of food and family friendly festivities.
All events being organised on behalf of Limerick City and County Council during the festival will be subject to the prevailing COVID-19 public health guidelines at the time of the event. For the latest health guidance please see gov.ie.
Grooveyard is producing this year’s Limerick St Patrick’s Festival on behalf of Limerick City and County Council along with partners Analog Devices, Mr Binman, Maldron Hotel and Fáilte Ireland.
Media Sponsors are Limerick Leader, Live 95, Limerick Post, Spin South West and I Love Limerick.
To apply to take part in the parade, complete the application form on Limerick.ie. Closing date for applications is Monday 28 February 2022.
A special Digital Guide has been created outlining the events taking place in the Limerick St Patrick’s Festival. Download the Digital Guide here.