St Patrick's Day Parade and Festival 2013
Sun Mar 17
© James O Jenkins
Time Out says
Thu Feb 21 2013
You don’t see people making a thing of their English roots in the run up to St George’s Day, yet as the annual celebration of Ireland’s patron saint approaches, everyone seems to discover a bit of Irish ancestry. It’s no mystery really. The Irish have always known how to party and they’re inclined to extend a warm welcome to anyone willing to enter into the spirit.
The capital’s Irish community will be joined by a sizable contingent of opportunistic plastic paddies on Sunday to see the annual St Patrick’s Day parade. The floats begin their amble in Piccadilly, heading along Lower Regent Street and Pall Mall and down to Trafalgar Square. There are marching bands, dancers and a variety of community groups – not to mention the 36-metre-long púca, a spectacular inflatable dragon designed by Keith Payne, who numbers the Rolling Stones and Tina Turner among his clients, and brought over from Ireland by Bui Bolg, an outdoor arts group from Wexford. And if the kids fancy being part of the parade, this year you can simply turn up and join the family section.
In Trafalgar Square, there’s all manner of craic. Traditional and contemporary Irish music and dance acts on the main stage include Yngve & The Innocent (2pm), Kayna featuring Damien O’Kane (3.10pm), and Crossharbour (4pm). For the first time, the festival will feature a comedy tent hosted by the London Irish Comedy Festival, and a film tent, screening shorts by Irish filmmakers. There’s a food market selling Keough’s crisps, Cashel blue cheese and lots of other Irish treats, and a children’s area where kids can take part in arts and crafts sessions or have a go at Gaelic football – just a few of the many attractions on offer at the day-long festival.