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Family Fun over St. Patrick’s Weekend in Cork

St Patricks Day

Family Fun over St. Patrick’s Weekend in Cork
Cork City Council announces line-up for 2016 Cork St. Patrick’s Festival

Cork City Council has announced their exciting line-up for the annual Cork St. Patrick’s Festival 2016.

The 4 day family event, which runs from 17-20 March, will be visual feast with a kaleidoscope of colour and pageantry in celebration of the National holiday.  It is expected to attract over 80,000 people to the City over the weekend. 

Each day will be bursting with family fun, kicking off with the carnival-like Parade itself on St. Patrick’s Day, which will feature jaw dropping street theatre, pageantry, and up to 3000 community and voluntary groups.   Celebrating this special centenary year, the theme of this year’s parade is 1916-The Legacy and there will be many 1916 commemoration events happening in venues throughout Cork over the weekend.   

The streets of Cork will be awash with talented mime artists, jugglers and magicians from around the world, and there will be a fantastic line-up of live music on the stage at Grand Parade over the 4 days. 

There will also be creative workshops in Bishop Lucey Park, a local food and crafts market on Grand Parade, and a traditional commemorative music concert on St. Patrick’s night AISEIRI 1916.

Commenting on the launch of the festival, The Lord Mayor of Cork, Ard Mheara Cllr. Chris O’Leary said, “This year’s Cork’s St. Patrick’s Festival is going to bigger, better and greener than ever before. It once again focuses on free family entertainment and offers a fresh alternative to the other festivals.  I am so proud to invite visitors home to our magical city to experience the very best in local, national and international talent.”

The Cork St. Patrick’s Festival is organised by Cork City Council and proudly supported by Cork Airport and Cork’s RedFM. 

Highlights of this year’s festival include...

The Cork St Patrick’s Day Parade

The Parade kicks off at 1pm on March 17 at South Mall Street and travels onto Grand Parade, St. Patrick’s Street before finishing at Merchant’s Quay.

The theme of this year’s parade is 1916 – The Legacy in line with the yearlong celebrations of the 100 year anniversary of the 1916 rising.

Up to 3,000 community arts, sports and music groups from the city, county and beyond will take part in the parade.   

They will be joined byfive specially commissioned giant art pieces, created by renowned street theatre companies, who will bring the colour of carnival and mardi-gras feeling to Cork.  Their pieces will also reflect on the past 100 years.

  • o   LUXe – Legacy of Optimism
  • o   Dowtcha – A Padraig Pearce puppet reading the proclamation and ‘Happy Out’, commissioned on the weather.
  • o   Spraoi – Irish Fauna and Ireland through the ‘80s.
  • o   Bui Bolg – Irish Creativity, including an Irish Trad Music and Literary Float.

A wide range of nationalities will take place in the event this year, including the Smoky Hill High School "Hill Regiment" Marching Band, the Massachusetts State Police, The Ridgeview High School Band, Timmins Police Pipes & Drums (Canadian Police Band).

The closing date for parade entries has been extended to February 26th

Live Streaming of the Parade

The Cork St Patrick’s Festival Parade will be streamed live on and for those who cannot attend.  Organisers are encouraging people all over Ireland and the world to send in their St Patrick’s Day message or selfie to be aired on this live broadcast on the day.  Simply take a 10-20 second video on your phone and tweet it to @LivefromCork, tag us on your Facebook post, or email

Live Music

It wouldn't be St Patrick's weekend in Cork without lots of live entertainment. The city will rock with a live music stage on Grand Parade over the weekend. There will be something for everyone with music from The Roaring Forties, Douglas Comhaltas Céilí Mór, Suzie Q, Los Paddys de la Pampas a fusion of Celtic roots with South American rhythm, Soul Reazon, returning to Cork for the first time in many years, the popular Two-time Polka, The Céili Allstars.

An extensive series of free traditional Irish Music sessions will also take place in Cork City Centre pubs featuring masters of traditional music. Check out for updates.
Workshops in the Park:
A number of workshops will also take place in Bishop Lucey Park over the weekend.

  • Wobbly Circus
    Become part of Wobbly Circus by joining in their circus skills workshop.  They will have a huge cache of circus props with expert teachers to show you how.  The workshop is run on a “come and have a go” basis, and all ages can come and learn the tricks of the circus, including tightwire walking, juggling, diabolo and devilstick techniques, plate spinning, poi spinning, and more.   Come join in on Saturday in Bishop Lucey Park from 12noon to 5pm.
  • Chapeau Magique
    All the way from France, Paul Henri Jeannel is a professor and a magician, with his spectacular folding paper workshops that generate hundreds of large scale paper hats.  Join in the fun on Sunday, as Paul Henri sets out his giant squares of paper on the ground, and shows you how to make your very own St Patricks Festival hat.  Then wear it going home!
  • The Greening of the City
    Cork’s most famous buildings, like Cork City Hall and Bishop Lucey Park, will be illuminated in green.

Festival Market:
The festival’s Food and Crafts Market takes place on the Grand Parade and Bishop Lucey Park, where you will find local food stalls that will whet anyone’s appetite. The markets will be open from 10am-6pm on 17, 19 & 20 of March.

Street Theatre: 
The streets of Cork will be a wash with talented mime artists, jugglers, musicians and magicians from around the world throughout the four-day long event, as they put on stunning shows for spectators. The fantastic line-up includes The Funky Pirates, Cork City Samba Band, Wobbly Circus Walkabout, The Variety Show, The Golfers, The Ugly Sisters, The Leprechaun and The Fabularium.

1916 Commemoration Events

Many special events are taking place over the St Patrick’s Festival weekend as part of the 1916/2016 Commemorations.

  • AISEIRI 1916 will be a special evening of music and commemorations on St. Patrick’s Night.  The show will poignantly remember and honour Cork’s finest raconteurs - The Men of Ireland, Mná na hÉireann and the Irish children who lost their lives in the 1916 Rising, in Rebel Song and Verse. The event, which takes place at Cork Opera House, will feature Mary Hegarty & Joe Corbett with Pulses of Tradition and Cork ETB Youth Orchestra. It promises to be an informative, engaging and fitting centenary remembrance.  Presented by Cork ETB, Cork City Counci and Cork County Council, doors open at 8pm and tickets cost €20.
  • An Exhibition telling the story of the 1916 Rising is on Thursday-Saturday from 11am-7pm at St Peter’s Church on the North Main Street. 
  • The Crawford Art Gallery 1916 Art Trail takes place Friday and Saturday from 10am-5pm.
  • Sisters of the Risingby Christiane O’Mahony is showing at The Everyman Theatre on Thursday and Friday at 8pm with tickets pricedat €20/Concession €18/ Students €9.
    Sisters of the Rising is a funny and poignant story and a testament to the many forgotten women who fought for Irish independence.
  • A Great Arrangement at The Gardens Theatre Ballyphehane, Thursday-Saturday 8pm, €20. A Great Arrangement draws from actual letters between Michael Collins and Kitty Kiernan, Collin’s inspirational speeches, Dail Treaty debates and factual newspaper accounts to bring to the stage the true story of a unique couple in a divided country at an extraordinary time.  To book, see or call021 4270022


The Lord Mayor’s Centenary Charity Ball

The Lord Mayor’s Centenary Charity Ball will be held on Friday 11th March.  Tickets and further information available from the Lord Mayor’s Office at 021 4924120 or email

The Cork St. Patrick’s Festival is organised by Cork City Council and proudly supported by Cork Airport, The Evening Echo and Cork’s RedFM.  For further information see, Facebook @corkstpatricksfestival, or Twitter @corkpaddysfest.

Other events taking place over the weekend:


  • The Three Tenors are playing at Cork Opera House on Saturday 19th
  • Cork Lions Club Patrick’s Hill Ball Run, Sunday 20th at 2pm: 10,000 multi-coloured balls down Patricks Hill. Buy balls on line - Fundraiser for Cork Lions Club supporting local causes. 
  • Guided tour: Adam Buck: A Regency Artist From Cork, Sat 19, 2pm
     A celebrated neo-classical portraitist & miniature artist, Adam Buck’s work showcases the interest for the Greek Revival of fashionable London.
  • Conal Gallen - A Laugh and a Half, Sat, 8pm, €22: Ireland's ambassador of comedy is back on stage with his new one man stand up show.
  • Scullion headline Triskel Christchurch this St Patricks Day with songs from their incredible repertoire spanning a four decade career. One of Ireland’s favourite folk outfits. 8pm, €25/€23
  • Andy Sheppard with Shakespeare Songs, Fri 18, 8pm, €20 / €18 at Triskel Christchurch. Savour the honeyed tones of saxophonist Andy Sheppard, performing music inspired by characters from Shakespeare in a sparkling dialogue with French pianist Guillaume de Chassy and drummer Christophe Marguet.
  • A Shy-going Boy by Ronan Guilfoyle, Sat 19 March, 8pm, €15 / €12 .
    Premiere by jazz musician and composer Ronan Guilfoyle, using composition, improvisation and audio to explore the life and times of his Grandfather Joe Guilfoyle, who took part in the 1916 Rising and was a member of Michael Collins’ inner circle during the War of Independence.


Traditional Irish Music Programme:

Thursday 17 March 

3:30pm            The Long Valley (Winthrop St)

5pm                 The Oliver Plunkett (Oliver Plunkett St)

6pm                 Corner House (Coburg St)

6pm                 Charlie’s (Union Quay)

6pm                 The Rock Bar (Gillabbey St)

6:30pm            Sin É (Coburg St)

9:30pm            The Ovens Bar (Oliver Plunkett St)

9:30pm            An Spailpín Fánach (South Main St)

9:30pm            Sin É (Coburg St)


Friday 18 March

5:30pm            The Oliver Plunkett (Oliver Plunkett St)

6pm                 Corner House (Coburg St)

6:30pm            Sin É (Coburg St)

9:30pm            The Long Valley (Winthrop St)

9:30pm            The Ovens Bar (Oliver Plunkett St)

10pm               An Spailpín Fánach (South Main St)


Saturday 19 March

4:30pm            The Oliver Plunkett (Oliver Plunkett St)

6pm                 Corner House

6pm                 Céilí @ The Oliver Plunkett (Oliver Plunkett St)

6:30pm            Sin É (Coburg St)

9:30pm            The Long Valley (Winthrop St)

10pm               An Spailpín Fánach (South Main St)


Sunday 20 March

3pm                 Charlie’s (Union Quay)

5:30pm            Sin É (Coburg St)

7:30pm            The Ovens Bar (Oliver Plunkett St)

8:30pm            Sin É (Coburg St)

9:30pm            The Gables (Douglas St)

9:30pm            Counihans (Pembroke St)


Programme for St. Patrick’s Festival Cork

To follow


2016 Parade Entries

To follow



Douglas Comhaltas Céilí Mór

Join the musicians and dancers of the Douglas branch of Comhaltas as they turn Patrick St into a giant Céilí and a celebration of traditional music.  There’ll be Irish dancers there too to teach you all the steps, so join in what is now a firm festival favourite, and a fantastic tribute to traditional Irish music and dance.

Suzie Q

One of Ireland’s most talented and dedicated bands. Boasting a collective of some of the South East’s most experienced musicians, they play with a passion and flair that has garnered them a reputation for keeping dance floors full, and fans and first-timers screaming for more. Whether you are young or old or whether you like Elvis or Ed Sheeran, the band has the musical maturity and the expansive playlist to guarantee a top class show.

Los Paddys de la Pampas

A fusion of Celtic roots with South American rhythm. This totally unique sound is used as the template to write original songs!   Comparisons have been made to Kila and The Pogues due to the awesome energy of the concerts and wildness of the bands fan base.   The band however have a sound totally of their own. 

The group has a rotating membership with musicians from Ireland, Argentina, France, South Africa and more joining in depending on the particular concert and location.  

Right now the group is headed by longtime Co Clare songwriter Paddy Mulcahy and boasts suburb trad musicians, Adam Shapiro and Kirsten Allstaff with a funky rhythm section comprising of James Sheppard and Angelo Heart. 

Currently the band regularly tours in Brittany and are booked in concert all over Ireland and Europe in 2016.

Soul Reazon

It’s time to dust off those hats and shades folks as Soul Reazon are on their way back to Cork.  This will be the band’s first appearance in Cork for many years and they are not to be missed.

Now into their 28th year, Soul Reazon began life in 1988 and grew into one of Ireland’s top ‘live’ acts during the ‘90’s. Having called it a day in the late ‘90’s, they reformed in 2014 and now they’re back to stay, and drawing big crowds to a series of gigs over the past twelve months.

The current 9 piece line-up, featuring two vocalists, bass, drums, guitar, keyboards and a three piece brass section, includes several members from the band’s formative years but also has some new faces.  Featuring old favourites from the cream of the Stax and Motown eras, including Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Smokey Robinson and The Four Tops combined with music by The Beatles and Van Morrison, amongst many others, Soul Reazon will have your toes tappin’ and your hands clappin’ from start to finish.

Two Time Polka:

Unquestionably one of the most popular bands in Ireland.  Blending Cajun music with bluegrass and old-time sounds, this Cork-based band waltzes, two steps and washboard shimmies its way from the Bayou to Kentucky, Roanoake, Virginia and points south, east and west.

The Céili Allstars

A fresh and exciting six piece traditional Irish music band, they evolve from a group of friends playing on the session trail in Cork City in the late 90’s. The group have similar tastes and styles of Irish traditional music and originally hail from the Sliabh Luachra area near the Cork-Kerry border.  As well as having several regular gigs in some of Corks top venues they are no strangers to the big stage.


Local Douglas in Cork Comhaltas group will entertain people pre-parade on the boardwalk on Grand Parade on St Patricks Day.  Lots of traditional music to be enjoyed.


Liquid Emotion

Liquid Emotion are a funky Cork City outfit that emphasise having fun while getting down to some serious grooving. Song from the likes of Bill Withers, The Band, Vulfpeck and Herbie Hancock ensure an eclectic mix of crowd pleasers and hip shakers, guaranteed to get the audience going.

The Roaring Forties
Ireland’s premier jump jive swing band.  To coin an often used, hackneyed musical phrase. "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing",   This lot, consisting of a motley crew of Cork based Jazz Irish and U.K musicians certainly have that swing, in spades.  Inspired by the jump / swing era of the 40s and updated to a sound more reminiscent of a style popularised in the early 80s by Joe Jackson and his Jump'n Jive Album, The Roaring Forties blaze through a set of Jazz standards and a couple of originals with equal parts technical chops and sheer joyous enthusiasm.  Vocalist George Patterson leads the band through lively and superbly performed versions of familiar numbers, and the playing and arrangements are impeccable.



The Funky Pirates

Invading the streets of villages, towns and cities around Ireland with their funky grooves and interaction, The Funky Pirates are on the way.  But be warned, they’ll take no prisoners!  There’ll be high sea battles and walking of planks to be had wherever and whenever they come ashore.

Cork City Samba Band

A group of 20 musicians who play a lively mix of samba, hop-hop, drum 'n' bass and house rhythms with occasional blasts of vocals as Gaeilge.

Wobbly Circus Walkabout

Based in the South East of Ireland, Wobbly Circus have been entertaining audiences for many years now.  Two new characters will premiere at St Patricks Festival, Mary Poppins style, complete with an authentic chimney sweep on his unicycle.  There’ll also be stilt walkers kings, and a pole spinner extraordinaire.  Loved by young and old alike, these walkabouts bring a smile to everyones face and activity at your festival.

The Variety Show

Join Jones and Barnard, aka Gareth Jones and Matt Barnard, professional entertainers working worldwide in theatre, street theatre, and comedy cabaret. Like all good double acts, there is a fat one and a thin one.   This duo have a totally fresh approach to the presentation of comedy classics, and specialise in making the audience part of, not apart from, the show. The Variety Show is a satirical exploration examining the eccentricities of the collective British character through the universal language of eccentric dance, classic song and variety skill routines, entwined with an original funky soundtrack and intimate comedy.

The Golfers

A theatrically comic dynamic walkabout. Visually voluptuous with jaw dropping skills, the 1930’s master golfer and caddie search for their lost balls and play the fairway of your event in this comic exploration of the golfing dream.

Immaculately presented in plus fours with a selection of tricks and stunts hidden amongst the golf equipment, Jones and Barnard use their comic genius to turn any area into a golf course and involve passers-by along the way. Their characters take any chance they can, to turn the day into a comic event and will leave people wondering who or what they were laughing at. Whatever it was they won’t forget the day their town went golf crazy.

The Ugly Sisters

Two sisters so divine lived once upon a time.  With frilly frocks and luscious locks, these sisters are as ugly as they say, from a land not far away.  Remember Cinders need replacin’, and these ladies will be chasin’...  it could be you on this special day!

The Leprechaun

Clooney O'Fungal is a 500 year old leprechaun who is desperately seeking to find the comedy gold hidden within people of all ages! Using clowning skills and stand up improvisation, Clooney will entertain crowds at St Patrick's Day celebrations all across Ireland.

The Fabularium

'The Town Band of Bremen is a new outdoor family show about four fellow animals who all share a passion for music, featuring storytelling, live music, mask work,and puppetry -  all performed from their medieval cart. 

Meet the amazing-yet-mismatched musical family who are journeying to play the gig of a lifetime in the land of the free, to become The Town Band of Bremen. After a dreadful robbery that left their master penniless and without the means to tend to his animals, the band are now travelling from place to place upon their old trusty cart, sharing stories and singing songs, with many a mishap along the way!‘

A story-telling theatre company that specialise in live original music, masks, puppetry, physical theatre and ensemble devising.



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