Limerick gears up for a spectacular St Patrick’s Weekend

Pictured Linda O'Connor (8) from the Redemptorist School of Music with her dog Freddie at last year's parade. Photo by Arthur Ellis

‘Discover Limerick’ is the theme for this year’s St Patrick’s weekend festivities

By Erin Lally

MORE than 1,500 people will take part in this year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade is the main attraction of the three-day St Patrick’s Festival which will run from March 17-19. 

This year’s festival theme is “Discover Limerick,” and there is no shortage of things to see and do this St Patricks weekend across the county.  

Limerick native and award-winning actor Jon Kenny (Angela’s Ashes, D’Unbelievables and The Banshees of Inisherin) will lead the parade as Grand Marshal. 

Other performers include Lumen Street Theatre, Limerick Youth Dance Company, Cloughjordan Circus Club, the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, and various clubs, bands, and groups.  

The parade will begin at the O’Connell Avenue/Roden Street junction and turn left onto Glentworth Street, then make a right turn onto Henry Street before continuing onto Rutland Street. Tens of thousands of spectators are expected to attend the parade and enjoy the festivities. 

The St. Patrick’s Festival Street Show on Saturday, March 18th will feature street performers including Wobbly Circus, Hakuna Matata Acrobats, Fanzini Brothers, Stephen McGinley’s crazy circus, and magician Jack Wise, who will display comedy, high-energy acrobatics, mind-boggling manoeuvres, and jaw-dropping antics on Thomas Street and Bedford Row from 12 pm to 3 pm. 

Spectators can expect to see familiar performances like Buí Bolg, who are collaborating with the Limerick Youth Festival to celebrate their 50th anniversary. 

Diarmuid Wallace age 9 of the CBS pipe band pictured as an estimated 50.000 people lined the streets of Limerick for last year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade. Photo by Brian Arthur

Limerick is the only city in the country hosting an International Band Championship, which takes place on Sunday March 19 at 12pm. 

Now in its 51st year, the event will feature 20 marching bands, including local, Irish, American, and European musicians. 

The International Band Parade will commence on Hartstonge Street, and all the marching bands will march along O’Connell Street, Glentworth Street, and Henry Street, with the parade ending at Arthur’s Quay Park, where the winners will be announced after a free concert.  

The Limerick International Band Championship is introducing a new award category for the “best pipe band” this year. 

Sporting fixtures at the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday March 19 sees Limerick hosting Wexford in the Allianz Hurling League at 1.45pm, followed by a meeting between Limerick and Kildare for the Allianz Football League at 3.45pm.  

Meanwhile, in addition to the city parade, ten county parades have been confirmed for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations across Limerick, including Askeaton, Kilmallock, and Kilfinane. 

A digital guide has been created to provide details on the festival’s events, which can be downloaded at

More stories from our 2023 print edition

Bandmaster’s launches book celebrating Limerick’s rich marching tradition  

From the early temperance movement to the military tradition of the city, marching bands have been an integral part of Limerick’s history.   

Dr Derek Mulcahy, a historian and academic from Mary Immaculate College (MIC), as well as the bandmaster of St. Mary’s Fife and Drum Band, has compiled an extensive history of these bands in his new book ‘By The Left, Quick March – Limerick’s Marching Band Tradition’.

The book explores their origins, from the temperance movement of the 1830s to their evolution into a major cultural institution.   

Dr Mulcahy delves into the political divisions among the bands, competitions, music instrumentation, and the importance of band halls.

He also captures the sense of civic pride that Limerick people have in their bands, making this a fascinating and detailed study of a dearly held tradition in the city.  

The launch of the book took place at Limerick’s City Hall in early March with the Mayor of the City and County Limerick, Cllr Francis Foley, in attendance.

Performers included members of Boherbuoy Brass and Reed Bands, St Mary’s Fife and Drum Band and CBS Pipe Band. 

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