St. Patrick's Festival 2020 Launch

MacCurtain and MacSwiney to be honoured in St. Patrick's Day Parade

26th February 2020

Cork has a lot to celebrate this year. The Cork St. Patrick’s Festival is an opportunity to embrace all of those things that make us stand out - our identity, our culture, our heart. 2020 is a significant year in Cork’s story and this is being woven into the fabric of the festival, fitting 100 years of rich history into a jam-packed festival line up.

The theme of the Cork St. Patrick’s Day Parade is “A City Rising 1920-2020”. To reflect their ancestor’s importance in 1920, the descendants of the Tomás MacCurtain and Terence McSwiney families will make up the Grand Marshal group.

Speaking of the Cork St. Patrick’s Festival programme, Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. John Sheehan said:

“We are very honoured that our Grand Marshal is made up of descendants of former Lord Mayors of Cork, Tomás McCurtain and Terence McSwiney, who both played a pivotal role in shaping the history of our city.

Cork has a lot to celebrate as our city is marking our past and looking towards our future in this significant year of 2020. Cork is central to the country-wide plans to mark the centenary of the War of Independence. But as well as looking back this year we are looking forward to a city on the rise, a city that is an incredible place for culture, business and diversity. The Cork St. Patrick’s Festival allows us to celebrate all that is great about this city.”

The 2020 programme also reflects the Ireland we are today, a country that is global, where other nationalities are welcomed and inspire a new Irish culture that is constantly evolving as it reflects the people that make it.

Cork will transform for this festival as the city rises to the challenge of presenting a programme that inspires, entertains and welcomes.

St Patrick’s Festival usually shows an abundance of green, but this year’s parade will show all our colours as pageantry, puppetry and performance transform the streets into a spectacle of wonder and delight.

Feed your imagination as Street Art company, Spraoi, celebrate Cork’s proximity to the sea and our port, bringing Lir to travel along our streets, accompanied by creatures from the deep. Cork Puppetry Company will breathe life into Morrigan, the goddess of war, along with the ancient Formorians who will rise to defend the City from the Burning of Cork. And Cork Community Art Link will bring the magic of the silver screen to life as they celebrate the 100th anniversary of Blackpool’s Lido Cinema.

A giant film set will move through the streets and recreate the golden age of cinema, complete with director, make-up artists, technicians and camera crew.

In 1920, the burning of Cork destroyed 5 acres of our beautiful city, but Buí Bolg will remind us of the great rising of Cork from those ashes. From the stonework depicting the strong foundations of Cork, flowers will bloom – highlighting the resilience of this great city.

Cork St. Patrick’s Festival runs from 13–17 March with a packed programme of events celebrating Irishness in all its forms. A wide range of groups representing the rich culture of this city will take part in the Cork St. Patrick’s Day Parade, including the Cork Barrack Street Band, Mexican Community in Cork and Rebel Wheelers. We will welcome international groups too, including the Gillette College Energy City Voices from Wyoming, a vocal and dance ensemble performing pop, rock, country, and jazz. For the first time, the Cork-Cologne Twinning Society will take part in the Cork St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Cork and Cologne are sister cities for over 30 years and have a wonderful shared experience including music and choir exchanges.

The Cork St. Patrick’s Festival runs from 13-17 March across the city, full details are available on The festival culminates in the incredible Parade on St. Patrick’s Day (Tuesday March 17th) which over 40,000 people will attend. The parade begins at 1pm on St Patrick’s Day and will be streamed live on you would like to send a message to the live stream – a greeting from near or far to be read out on air - please email

The Echo and RED FM are the media sponsors of the Cork St. Patrick’s Festival.