St Patrick's Day: Ireland in the Spotlight
On 17 March each and every year, millions of people around the world from Argentina to Malaysia celebrate Ireland and Irish culture in the spirit of St Patrick’s Day. No other country’s national day of celebration has such far-flung impact as St Patrick’s Day, which is celebrated on all six inhabited continents – and even hundreds of miles above the surface of the planet on the International Space Station.
The United States, Canada, Argentina, Montserrat, Japan, Korea, Russia, South Africa and many more countries hold St Patrick’s Day parades and events in their cities. So why do these celebrations happen in countries so far from Ireland? The answer is simple: we get around! Since 1700, around 10 million Irish people have emigrated from the island and now more than 70 million people around the world claim Irish descent.
Because of this vast diaspora, St Patrick’s Day celebrations aren’t simply confined to one island but instead take place across the globe. This year, the acclaimed production by Druid Theatre Company of The Beauty Queen of Leenane, a Connemara-based play by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths), will bring a little piece of the west of Ireland to China with performances at the Hong Kong Arts Festival.
Musicians Aoife Scott and the Seamus Begley Trio embark upon a tour of Australian festivals; Macnas, Galway’s renowned street performance troupe, will headline a three-day festival in London’s largest-ever St Patrick’s Day event which also includes performances by Kíla, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Lisa Lambe, Jack L, Moxie, Rusangano Family and many more; ever-popular trad bands Dervish and Téada will embark upon extensive tours to the US and New York’s Irish Arts Center will host its annual Irish book day by giving away free Irish-authored books on the city’s streets.
Special showcases featuring some of the best of Irish cinema will take place in festivals and venues across the United States as well as in Denmark, Hong Kong, Serbia, Russia, Argentina, Germany and India, in celebration of St Patrick’s Day too.
Find out where you can catch some of the best of Irish arts and culture at a venue or festival near you at Culture Ireland.