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What to look out for across the St Patrick’s Festival weekend

After a bumper two weeks of world class music, art, entertainment and theatre, there are only five days left to enjoy the highly acclaimed Home of St Patrick Festival across counties Armagh and Down.

A fantastic line-up of live gigs, spiritual services and thought-provoking events will be taking place until Sunday throughout the region as thousands of visitors and locals come together to celebrate the life and work of Ireland’s Patron Saint.

Highlights will include Beoga’s Music & Dance Show at Downshire Hospital on Wednesday or the Belfast Community Gospel Choir in St Patrick’s Church, Downpatrick on Sunday.

Cork’s own One Horse Pony will bring their energetic blues and roots music to the stage at the Market Place Theatre on Saturday night with some of the world’s most talented traditional musicians for Topos on the same night including world class fiddle player Tola Custy, Paul McSherry is one of the world’s top Irish guitarists and Clare man Karol Lynch, the master of all things stringed.

The festival has brought an unrivalled programme of international acts and guest speakers to locations and venues that were pivotal to St Patrick and the spiritual significance has not been lost on the organisers.

The St Patrick’s Lecture on Thursday will have the two Archbishops of Armagh in conversation with Cardinal Dolan live from New York as they reflect on what St Patrick means in the modern world.

St Patrick’s Vigil will provide a unique and symbolic experience to celebrate community and unity as visitors meet at Armagh’s Church of Ireland Cathedral at 9pm on Thursday for prayer led by Archbishop Clarke. He will then guide the congregation via torchlight to the Roman Catholic Cathedral to be welcomed by Archbishop Martin in this reflection of St Patrick’s own journey to unite the Irish people.

On St Patrick’s Day itself, St Patrick’s Carnival Processions will bring the two counties of Armagh and Down together in a cacophony of music, sound and visual spectacle as community parades and floats make their way through Armagh, Newry and Downpatrick centres as thousands line the street for this annual celebration.

The 17 day festival will draw to a close on Sunday evening, March 19th as the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland brings more than 100 young musicians together to perform in the Voice of the Irish concert at Newry Cathedral. Don’t miss this unique experience of one of the largest orchestral line-ups in the wonderful Cathedral acoustics for the popular songs, movie themes and classics interspersed with performances by some of Ireland’s leading actors and musicians.

For details on the full schedule of events and performances taking place between Wednesday and Sunday this week, visit www.saintpatrickscountry.com.

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