Jacqueline shares her pick of what’s on this St. Patrick’s Day weekend!


Have a day filled with fun at Exploris Aquarium in Portaferry this St. Patrick’s Day.   Join the craic and banter  with underwater and reptilian friends.  Enjoy snake demonstrations led by a team of Aquarists, daily animal demonstrations, themed arts and crafts and a mer-mazing face painter who will be joining the fun this St. Patrick’s Day.  Normal admission charges apply – pre-book online for discount. Last admission 4.00pm


Celtic Footsteps, St Patrick’s Saints of Oriel, is a unique guided tour celebrating the connections between St. Patrick and two of Ireland’s first female Irish Saints, Bridget and Moninne of Oriel.  Ring of Gullion Ambassadors Ann Ward and Venora Hovelt will lead this special tour. Venora is a guide and storyteller. Ann also a guide and meditation coach; she has deep spiritual connections with this part of Slieve Gullion as her mother was born on the mountain just below the holy well and her grandfather helped to build the shrine dedicated to St Moninne in 1929. The tour includes a two-course lunch at Ann’s second world war hut in Meigh; this includes homemade bread with onion, lentil and rosemary soup followed by an award winning lemon curd dessert with tea and coffee.


This year’s St Patrick’s Day festival in Enniskillen will start at 1:30pm on the Broadmeadow with a host of traditional and modern entertainment acts including Full Moon Fever. There will be a range of free activities including bouncy castles, balloon modellers, face painting and wandering mascots for all your selfie needs. Freebies on the day again courtesy of Lilley’s Centra sees chocolate fountains, green candy floss and of course their famous themed gelato in abundance.  On Lough Erne will host the Wakeboarding Leprechauns and St Patrick himself will be making his spectacular arrival via Castle Island before doing a meet and greet in the area. The parade itself will start from the Lakeland Forum at 3.30pm and ‘Snaking’ it’s way around Ireland’s only island town will be a mix of traditional and carnivalesque floats, music and dancing performances. This year has a theme of Go Green In 19, come dressed the part and we’ll be handing out some environmental freebies to help you get into the festival spirit!


The Blackwater Céilí Band hails from the Clogher Valley area of County Tyrone and takes its name from the River Blackwater which flows through the heart of Ulster. The band has competed at All Ireland level over the last 4 years culminating in 2018, where they were crowned All-Ireland Senior Céilí Band Champions in Drogheda. See them perform live as part of the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at Ranfurly House, Dungannon.


This year’s Derry Spring Carnival takes place on the 16th and 17th March. As the dark skies of winter fall away, Derry will welcome the spring with open arms in a cacophony of colour and spectacle.  If you’re young in years or young at heart come along and join local communities take to the streets in a celebration of Youth. This year’s carnival parade will be a celebration of children and young people showcasing myths and legends from both Celtic traditions and the many diverse cultures across the world. See the full programme of events at derrystrabane.com/springcarnivalparade.


What better way to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day weekend?  Experience the steam train which will be operating at Whitehead Excursion Station. Visitors will be able to see at close hand how the magnificent Locomotive works.  You will be able to talk to the Driver and Fireman and to see the footplate.  There is also an additional option to enjoy a visit to the Edwardian Tea Room, or explore the Whitehead Railway Museum and discover the secrets of the RPSI’s 100-year-old Midland Railway buildings, together with the more recent additions.  Train rides will be running from midday to 4.00pm, every 15 minutes or so. Adult £2.50, Child £2, payable on the day.


Make your way to St George’s Market to experience an authentic St Patrick’s Day.  Get set for a real taste of Ireland and sample some of the culinary delights on offer. You will be able to enjoy lots of entertainment including live traditional music, toe-tapping Irish dancing and workshops.  So pop in, relax and join in on the unmissable St Patrick’s Day celebrations. 

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