St. Patrick's Festival Parade enjoyed by over 500,000 spectators.
17th March 2014: Five hundred and three thousand people turned out to enjoy this year’s St. Patrick’s Festival Parade in good weather conditions, a large increase on 2013 figures. The streets of Dublin were awash with colour as the 2014 Parade, themed ‘Let’s Make History’, was brought to life by Ireland’s leading pageant companies who dazzled with their artistic flair and creativity. Over 3,000 performers participated in this year’s Festival Parade, with Irish sporting hero, cyclist Stephen Roche holding the honorary position of Grand Marshal.
For the first time in its history and using this commemorative era as inspiration, St. Patrick’s Festival has adopted a three-year theme and narrative for the Festival Parade of ‘Past, Present and Future’. The 2014 Festival Parade theme, ‘Let’s Make History’, has drawn on the ‘Past’ as its inspiration and represents the first step on this exciting, creative journey. In 2015 the Parade will explore our present which leads us into 2016 where it will look to the future and the Festival will pose the question, ‘who do we aspire to be in the next 100 years?’
This year’s Festival Parade featured thought provoking and awe inspiring creative presentations from Irish artistic groups including Buí Bolg, Spraoi, Brighter Futures, Artastic, City Fusion, Inishowen Carnival Group, Macnas and Dowtcha as they demonstrated their interpretations and adaptations of this year’s Festival Parade theme.
The energetic musical score for the Parade was provided by musical ensembles from European countries including Estonia, Germany and our own Clondalkin Youth Marching Band, from Dublin. Eight U.S. marching bands from eight states across America; Massachusetts, Virginia, Iowa, Texas, California, Louisiana, Illinois and Oklahoma, who brought their individual flavour and style to this year’s Festival Parade.
Also this year, two new partners have been welcomed into the St. Patrick’s Festival family. MINI Ireland joined as a new car partner with their new MINI Hatch model featuring as part of the Festival Parade while Irish Ferries came aboard as a foundation partner of St. Patrick’s Festival.
Speaking about the Parade, CEO of St. Patrick’s Festival, Susan Kirby said; “Every year we continue to be impressed by the vision of artists seen through their parade creations and performances, and this year is no different. The Festival Parade is true testament to the artistic talent we have here in Ireland, talent that is showcased on a global stage today as the Parade is viewed by millions the world over. The Parade is the highlight of what is now a multi-day national celebration enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors alike. I would like to commend and thank all of the pageant companies, artists, bands and groups that worked so hard to deliver such a fantastic performance. Many thanks to all of those who came along to enjoy the day, we were thrilled to see such a huge turn-out.”
The awards for the Marching Bands today went to:
Overall Best Band: Owasso High School Marching Band, Oklahoma USA
Sectional Award Youth Band: Acton Boxborough High School Marching Band, Massachusetts USA
Sectional Award Adult Band: Guggemusik Simsegrabsler Hofstetten, Germany
Spirit of the Parade Award St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2014: Cloandalkin Youth Marching Band, Dublin
St Patrick’s Day Parade Dublin 2014 Discretionary Award: Fort Madison Marching Bloodhounds, Iowa USA
The St. Patrick’s Festival celebrations were kicked off in style at The Festival Céilí on March 14th at St. Stephen’s Green which was brought to life with the sounds of traditional Irish music as Irish Dancing superstar Dearbhla Lennon of Riverdance fame was joined by a whole host of professional dancers at this outdoor celebration of traditional Irish music and dance.
Still to come this evening, as part of the Festival’s ‘I Love My City’ cultural programme, Trad Trio, an uplifting performance of Irish traditional music and song from top-class musicians, Phil Callery, Gerry Harrington, and Peter Browne at 7.30 in the Kevin Barry Room at the National Concert Hall. Also this evening, three of the country’s top solo performers will take their turn filling the vaulted ceilings of the Chapel Royal at Dublin Castle, as Iarla O Lionaird, Sean Mac Erlaine & Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh present the sounds of Solo Space, 5pm and 7pm.
To find out more about St. Patrick’s Festival 2014, visit www.stpatricksfestival.ie.
For further information, please contact:
Kevin Moore, FleishmanHillard on 0868252611 or Kevin.firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria McGrath, FleishmanHillard, on 0861653055 or email@example.com
NOTES FOR THE EDITOR:
About St. Patrick’s Festival
St. Patrick’s Festival principal funders are: The Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport, Fáilte Ireland, Dublin City Council and The Department of Arts, Heritage & The Gaeltacht.
The principal aim of St. Patrick’s Festival, since its inauguration, is to develop a major annual international festival around the national holiday over which the Irish people would stand proud. It sets out to reflect the talents and achievements of Irish people on many national and world stages, and it acts as an exciting showcase for the manifold skills of the people of Ireland, of every age and social background. As the one national holiday that is celebrated in more countries around the world than any other, St. Patrick’s Day is the day when everyone wants to be Irish.
Why was it started?
• To offer a national festival that ranks as one of the greatest celebrations in the world
• To create energy and excitement throughout Ireland via innovation, creativity and grassroots involvement, and marketing activity
• To provide the opportunity and motivation for people of Irish descent (and those who sometimes wish they were Irish) to attend and join in the imaginative and expressive celebrations
• To project, internationally, an accurate image of Ireland as a creative, professional and sophisticated country with wide appeal.
The first St Patrick’s Festival was held over one day, and night, on March 17th 1996. The live audience for the day was estimated to be 430,000.
Preparation for the first St Patrick’s Festival used to take only 5 months, but with the growth of the Festival, it now takes 18 months to plan for Ireland’s biggest annual celebration.
The 2013 St. Patrick’s Festival added €122 million to the Irish economy.