MAYOR of London, Sadiq Khan has praised the ongoing contribution of the Irish community to the capital.
Announcing plans for the 20th annual Mayor of London’s St Patrick’s Festival today, which takes place on March 11 and 12, he said: “London has the largest Irish community in the UK, and for centuries Irish Londoners have made an enormous contribution to the success of our capital city.”
He added: “From running successful businesses and supporting public services, to the huge influence on our arts and cultural scene, Irish Londoners are integral to the fabric of our city.”
The annual St Patrick’s Festival and Parade will take place in London on Sunday, March 12, with a host of events celebrating Irish culture and heritage in the heart of the capital.
The festivities will kick off at 12pm with a spectacular parade of Irish marching bands, dancers and pageantry.
More than 50,000 people are expected to join the annual procession which will wind its way through the centre of London from Green Park through Piccadilly Circus to Trafalgar Square.
From 12-6pm, Trafalgar Square will once again be showcasing the very best of Irish arts, performance, culture, food and dance with Masterchef champion Riyadh Khalaf compering an exciting line up.
Londoners and visitors can look forward to a free afternoon of entertainment with music from Sharon Shannon & Band, Celaviedmai, The Craicheads, Celtic Youth Orchestra, Biblecode Sunday’s, and AIS.
There will also be performances from Maguire O’Shea School of Dance and spoken word artist Leon Dunne, as well as family-friendly workshops run by Irish youth creative programme Junk Kouture, and a great selection of food and drinks stalls.
The Irish Cultural Centre, London Irish Centre, Irish in Britain, Irish Film London and London Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) will also have stalls where those attending can learn about Irish culture and find out about community events in the capital.
And celebrity Irish chef Anna Haugh will be returning to the Festival for 2023 to demonstrate how you can create delicious Irish cuisine at home using fresh produce.
The Mayor is encouraging Londoners and visitors to come along and enjoy the very best of Irish arts, performance, food and dance - a true highlight in London’s calendar – and the celebrations aren’t limited to Trafalgar Square with events happening across London all weekend, from busking on the Underground to a St Patrick’s Film Festival organised by Irish Film London.
Mr Khan added: “I’m delighted that Londoners and visitors will again unite on the streets in honour of this relationship as we celebrate Irish culture and heritage in the heart of our capital, and with events happening across our city there is something for everyone to enjoy.”
Ireland’s Ambassador to the UK, Martin Fraser, who will be celebrating his first St Patrick’s Day in London in his ambassadorial role, it looking forward to the event.
“In my short time as Ambassador, I have witnessed the strength, cohesion and kinship of the Irish community here in London and across the country,” he said.
“The challenges of the last few years have proved the resilience of our community, but also shown the ways that we have come together in solidarity.”
He added: “This year’s St Patrick’s Day Festival in London will be a fantastic celebration of the love that London has for its Irish Community and that the Irish have for London. I encourage you to participate and look forward to a wonderful Festival.”
Hannah Pender, Head of Arts & Culture at The London Irish Centre, who programme the main stage concert in Trafalgar Square, said of the 2023 event: “The London Irish Centre are delighted to be Programme Partner for the London St Patrick’s Festival 2023 for another year.
“This special event acknowledges and celebrates the contribution of Irish communities to London, and we are proud to be part of this story.”
She added: “We will be bringing a diverse programme of Irish arts and culture to the iconic Trafalgar Square, and celebrate the creativity and vibrancy of the Irish community in London.
“We want to thank the Mayor of London and London Authority for working with us. We also want to give a special thanks to the Gallagher Group for their support as Stage Sponsor.”
The Irish Post is proud to be media partner for the Mayor of London's St Patrick's Festival 2023