Riverdance and The Commitments top London's free St Patrick's Day gig

Riverdance and The Commitments top London's free St Patrick's Day gig

LONDON Mayor Boris Johnson is making a right song and dance about this year’s St Patrick’s Day festival.

And rightly so, for this year’s free city centre event features a long line up of international and musical acts organisers promise will dazzle.

“I urge Londoners and tourists alike to join in the biggest St Patrick's Day festival outside of the Emerald Isle itself,” Mr Johnson said.

“What better way to celebrate the contribution generations of Irish have made to our capital than with a day of singing, dancing, feasting and general merriment.”

Dancing phenomenon Riverdance will kick-off its anniversary tour with special performance at the Trafalgar Square festival on Sunday, March 16.

The world-famous production will headline festivities with a milestone set - six months ahead of their 20th anniversary tour.

Also hitting the main stage will be stars of the West End musical The Commitments and Irish folk group Kíla.

boris johnson-n Boris Johnson is encouraging Londoners to join the capital's celebrations

The London Irish Comedy Festival Marquee will host an afternoon of laughter from some of Ireland’s established and emerging comedians.

These include Aisling Bea, winner of The Gilded Balloon's So You Think You're Funny award at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and stand-up comedian Jarlath Regan, who is also an Irish Post columnist.

Kerrygold is bringing the flavours of Ireland to the festival with an Irish Food Market featuring a selection of fare from Burren Smokehouse salmon and Clonakilty Black Pudding, to Broderick's Cakes and Irish farmhouse cheeses.

People are also encouraged to line the streets from Piccadilly to Trafalgar Square at midday, to cheer on the annual parade - a showcase of London Irish sports clubs, dance schools, marching bands and community organisations.

Emergency Exit Arts, a British participatory arts company, will be bringing a five metre tall fire-breathing bird and a 10-metre tall St Patrick.

The St Patrick's Day Film Festival will also take place throughout the afternoon at The Prince Charles Cinema near Leicester Square, featuring the award-winning short film The Missing Scarf and Oscar winning black comedy, Six Shooter.

St Patrick's Day Parade through London begins at midday on  Sunday 16 March and the Festival takes place in Trafalgar Square from midday to 6pm.