We’ve landed smack bang in the middle of the St. Patrick’s Festival, albeit one very different to those of yore. No heading into town to join the hordes of revellers at the Festival Parade, no annual pilgrimage for fans of marching bands, no spectacular pageants or street performances. “Was it for this?” you may very well ask, but a year on from the cancellation of the 2020 St Patrick’s Festival and the corresponding images of the deserted Dublin streets that populated our insta feeds last March, festival organisers and Indie bands alike have been beavering away to curate a tidy selection of online treats for our delectation.
All the indications show that there is some hope of separating our national holiday from the hum-drum lockdown fatigue of all the others we’ve endured so far. So instead of moving mobile platforms navigating a pathway from the Liberties to O’Connell Street, 2021 sees the launch of a virtual one, courtesy of SPTV, an online mobile platform showcasing many aspects of our culture, enveloping everything from yoga and the history of Irish food, to storytelling, visual art, spoken word and music.
Beyond the official festival programme, other musicians and performers will be adding to the craic via their own online channels and the power of social media. In short, some welcome cultural balm for our weary, national souls.
We’ve selected six highlights worth checking out, while signposting you towards a jam packed programme of events over at www.stpatricksfestival.ie.
This unique collaborative print drop sees thirty Irish artists release one-off works as part of a global print drop to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day around the world. All prints, curated by Robyn Carey for Dublin-based studio Damn Fine Print, will be sold as part of a limited run that only exists online for the length of this year’s St. Patrick’s Festival, March 12-17.
Artists taking part in the project come from the world of painting, graphic design, illustration and print with established names like David Booth, Leah Hewson, Grace Enemaku, Rionagh McNamara and Ashwin Chacko already involved.
Their works, created especially in response to this year’s festival theme of Dúisigh Éire (Awaken Ireland), will be available to purchase anywhere around the world before being printed in Dublin at the end of the festival and shipped globally.
Limited edition risograph prints from these talented creatives cost €40, with €5 from every print sold going to ALONE, an Irish charity doing amazing work to support and empower older people who might be lonely or isolated during the pandemic.
Wed March 17, 9.00pm
As Covid decimated the music industry last year, the first band out of the blocks were The Mary Wallopers. The three Cooley giants self-built a pub/studio in their house, as the enterprising Dundalk men became one of the first bands in the world to host a livestream on St. Patrick’s Day 2020.
Connecting people through the chat room and speaking directly to camera, the Wallopers succeeded in creating a space where Wayne’s World meets Irish ballads. Over forty-thousand people watched it in the first 24 hours alone, and in the months since, they have made their show unmissable to those trapped in lockdown or overseas. We look forward to seeing them raising our spirits once again this year, as we drink ours, with their inimitable hot take on trad and balladry.
And while you’re waiting, here’s one from the archives, when we met them back in 2019 to talk to them about their pursuits as TPM.
Transport yourself back back to the magic of old school club nights with this brilliant new mini-doc focusing on what queer spaces are and what they mean to the LGBTQ+ community.
Directed by Joe McGovern, and filmed at Lost Lane, this specially commissioned documentary is followed by tunes from the Mother DJs celebrating Irish artists alongside footage from their festival and dance floor adventures.
The guest lineup includes Philly McMahon, Rory O’Neill, Una Mullally, Veda Lady, Rocky T Delgado, Cormac Cashman, Buzz O’Neill, Anziety, Paige Behan, Viola Gayvis & Babs Daly. Watch back here. We will dance again!
Those who love a good rebel song can look forward to a cracking night out in the company of poet poet Annemarie Ní Churreáin and singer Nell Ní Chróinín as they explore the theme of revolution through the prism of poetry and traditional singing.
Hosted in Richmond Barracks as part of St Patrick’s Day festival, Abair- The West’s Awake, can be viewed globally on SPF TV, an online TV channel at stpatricksfestival.ie, as well as at RTÉ’s dedicated culture website rte.ie/culture and on TVs across Ireland on Oireachtas TV, which can be found on all TV provider platforms.
Wednesday 17th: 6.30 pm GMT / 2.30 pm EST
A rousing evening of cutting edge and exciting contemporary Irish music, featuring three North Dublin native artists, each with their own unique style, yet effortlessly complementing each other to showcase the sounds of modern Ireland.
Shot in the round at The Guinness Storehouse, in addition to some brilliant tunes and performances, you can look forward to some spectacular visuals featuring incredible lighting displays as well as 360 degree and overhead footage.
A History of Irish Food journeys from wild food to modern Irish cuisine, tracing Ireland’s culinary history from prehistoric times to the present day. Guided by curious chef and Food Studies graduate Tadgh Byrne, the series explores how our past has affected the way we eat today, while also shining a light on a range of people doing some very interesting and innovative things around food in 2021.
Produced by The Reelists, the series sees the Wicklow based chef visit some iconic historic locations around Ireland sampling plenty of delicious food, while checking in with a range of guests including historians, food scientists, foragers, chefs and farmers. Watch the series on stpatricksfestival.ie/sptv
For more see St Patrick’s Festival.
Online programmes are available to view until Sunday March 21st
Feature Image: Little Adam Weldon aged 3, from Dublin, getting ready for the RTE St Patrick’s Festival Virtual Parade on March 17th 2021.