THE MAYOR of London has today unveiled the plans for the return of St Patrick's Day celebrations, which will showcase the best of Irish arts, performance, culture, food and dance.
The theme for this year's celebration is to bring the community back together, with Londoners and visitors alike being able to look forward to the programme of events happening in the city on 12 and 13 March.
Events include busking on the Underground, the iconic parade and festival celebrations in Trafalgar Square, which have been postponed for the past two years due to the pandemic.
On Sunday 13 March London will see the return of the spectacular annual parade of Irish marching bands, dancers and pageantry, which will start at 12pm and wind its way from Green Park to Trafalgar Square.
This year, to pay tribute to the Irish Londoners who have supported the city throughout the pandemic, 11 key workers will be honoured as Grand Marshals of the famous parade.
Also on Sunday, from 12pm to 6pm, Trafalgar Square will play host to a world-class line up of Irish talent with family-friendly concerts, storytelling, children’s films and youth performances, as well community choirs, schools, dance troupes and more.
There will be children’s workshops featuring camogie games, medal making and face painting, and a great selection of food and drinks stalls including world-renowned chef and owner of the Myrtle restaurant in London, Anna Haugh. The main stage is curated by the London Irish Centre, and hosted by Gemma Bradley, will see acts such as Soulé, Xona, Altan and more perform.
Speaking about the planned events, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he was delighted to see the festivities return to the streets of London, and that "it is fitting this year's theme is one of celebration and bringing the community back together."
"London has the largest Irish population in the UK and St Patrick’s Day provides a wonderful opportunity to honour the spirit of our Irish community and celebrate the enduring strength of relationship between our two countries. Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh!
The Irish Post will also be the media partner for the event, covering the best that the celebrations will have to offer.
Fiona Audley, Managing Editor of The Irish Post, said the paper is "proud to continue to be the main media partner for this important event."
"The Mayor's festival showcases the best of Irish community, culture and heritage in the capital and invites all communities to celebrate that with us.
"We are excited to welcome the parade back and enjoy the festivities in Trafalgar Square and look forward to seeing everybody there."
Ireland’s Ambassador to the UK, Adrian O’Neill said:
"During my time as Ambassador, I have witnessed the strength, cohesion and determination of the Irish community here in London and across the country.
"The challenges of the last two years have proven the resilience of our community, but also shown the ways that we have come together in solidarity—to stay connected with those who were isolated and to support the vulnerable among us."
He said this year's festival will be a "fantastic celebration" for people to connect again in person "and proudly celebrate our history, heritage and culture, as well as our contemporary community in all its rich diversity."