St Patrick’s 2024 Festival Events In Downpatrick

Festival events in Downpatrick over St Patrick’s Day festival and more

It’s that time of year when snowdrops and daffodills pop up after the winter chills and St Patrick makes his perrenial appearance in Downpatrick to herald in better times ahead as we move towards the Easter holidays and the warmer summer months.

Each year thousands of people line the streets and pack Market Street, the home of St St Patrick, in the County Town of Down, for what is always a superb parade which showcases the community spirit that St Patrick himself would be so proud of.

The festival will play out across a number of venues in Downpatrick from the St Patrick Centre, the Down Arts Centre and Down County Museum and other venues.

The St Patrick Centre plays a key role in promoting the life and work of St Patrick and the exhibition is open daily through the summer.

Tim Campbell, St Patrick Centre Director, said: “We have a varied programme of events which will entertain everyone over the festive period. There are a few events on before St Patrick’s Day, and on the big day on Sunday 17th March we have a few activities running through the day.

Crowds wait for the St Patrick’s parade to make its way down Market Street in Downpatrick.

“Our centre is the only centre in the world dedicated to our patron saint, Saint Patrick.

“Our interactive exhibition was recently upgraded and we have a constant stream of visitors enjoying the St Patrick experience.”

What’s on around the St Patrick’s Centre.

On Thursday 7th March at 8.00 pm, Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, a Fianna Fail politician, will be ‘In conversation’ with well-known radio and TV presenter Gerry Kelly in the main auditorium in the St Patrick Centre.

On 13th March:  There will be a book launch of The Spiritual Journey of Saint Patrick written by Colm Larkin and welcomed by Canon John Murray from Downpatrick’s St Patrick’s Church. This will be a special event as it should help to encapsulate exactly what St Patrick’s mission and message were.

On Saturday 16th March, as activities hot up, the day starts with an exciting Saint Patrick’s Way Pilgrim Walk (6 miles) with guides Martina Purdy and Elaine Kelly including transfers and lunch at The Barn in Saul (£35) beside the current church built in the Thirties on the site where St Patrick built his first church in Ireland.

Schools, community, youth and sporting groups have been encouraged to join in the St Patrick’s parades in Downpatrick and Newry. (Photo by Jim Masson/Down News).

9am – 3pm 

10-12 Noon There will be Saint Patrick’S Craft Workshops TWO one hour sessions. Booking at the Centre is essential. (028 44 619000).

12-2.00 Carrickmannon Folk will be performing their brand of folk over the lunch time from 12-2pm.

2-4pm Then there will be Story Celling Circle with Sinead McAleavey, a story teller from Hilltown who will take you down through the realms of folklore and mythology in Ireland’s past. Fun for all the family!

17th March:

10.30 – 11.30pm: what better a way to start St Patrick’s Day than with a flourish of Irish Dancing from the Brennan Miskelly McCormick School of Irish Dance where the young dancers will entertain the many visitors to Downpatrick.

11.30 The Doherty Petri School of Dance follow on and the O’Higgins Clan, a Downpatrick Irish music family, will be playing lots of reels, polkas, jigs to gee up the tempo and get your feet tapping through to mid-day.

St Patrick’s Primary School from Saul were one of the many local organisations in the parade recently.

And then as the crowds start to build up around the Downpatrick town centre in anticipation of the main parade to come down Market Street, there will be more music from 12-1pm from Mairead Stewart.

From 12-2pm, there will be more storytelling from, the well know story-teller Liz Weir with the Irish Tales of Celtic Enchantment Storytelling Circle. Families can gather round and listen to her tales from Ieland’s past.

Come along and enjoy the craic in the St Patrick’s Festival Village and enjoy the Artisan Market nearby in the centre of Downpatrick.

Don’t miss the spectacular Trail of Light across four venues in the County Town. See more details here.

At 1.30pm, the long-awaited parade sets off from the Ardglass Road outside the Downshire Estate and will snake its way down Edward Street past the Patrician Youth Centre to Irish Street and down to the top of Market Street to be met with thousands of cheering spectators.

Patrick Kielty Will be gracing the festival parade this year. The presenter of The Late Late Show on RTE ONE and who has a show on BBC Radio 5 Live will add a bit more colour to the festival proceedings.

3-5pm: DJ Duff disco will be sending his vibes through the air waves in the centre of Downpatrick

3.30pm Norey Henderson School of Irish Dancing will then entertain the crowds.

There will be judging of the floats etc after the parade has worked its way down Market Street.

Then later in the day, when the wee ones are tucked up in bed, it’s party time!


Down Arts Centre Puts on Events Over Festive Period

The Down Arts Centre, a cultural hub in Downpatrick, will also be hosting a number of events.

Launching on the 7th March, an exhibition by Aine McKenna, artist-in-residence, will reveal he exciting ceramics in Dogwood and Dollars – not to be missed!

There for one rnight only on Friday 8th March you can laugh the night away at ‘Give My Head Peace,‘ with the well-known comic gang. Don’t miss their quick-fire humour. Your ribs will be aching after this show!

Don’t miss Irish singer/musician Andy Irvine in the Down Arts Centre.

Andy Irvine, the legendary Irish singer and musician will be gracing the stage on Friday 15th March. It will be a great night leading up to the Str Patrick’s parade.

Then on Saturday 16th March, Paddy Raff, the well-know, popular radio presenter will be putting on two gigs and this is sure to be a couple of gegs worth watching!

On St Patrick’s Day, a special event will be taking place. Dramability will be putting on ‘Stages Cafe” which will run from 10-4pm approximately. It is a musical while you get served in the cafe! Very interactive and great fun!

And on St Patrick’s Day there will be street entertainers around to entertain the children of all ages!


Down County Museum Open For The Festivities

Down County Museum will be open over the festive period and its collections and exhibitions are FREE to come and enjoy.

On St Patrick’s Day you can enjoy the Brennan Miskelly McCormick School of Irish Dancing from 11.30-12 noon and from 3.30-4pm.

There will also be a harpist playing lots of Irish music and other craft and fun activities for the children to enjoy.

And if you child is sensitive to large crowds and noise, then you can visit the Sensory Play area with Splat Messy Play from 11.30-4pm.

There will be live music running too and one of the highlights will be the Newtownards Silver Band.

Check out the Down County Museum on the big day here

Have a happy St Patrick’s. Day!


There will be other activities around Downpatrick such as the St Patrick’s Night Party upstairs Murphy’s Bar Downpatrick. Pure Blarney will be proving their blend of Irish music to the crowd of St Patrick’s party goers.

This will be Followed by DJ DUFF – a premier disco show.

Tickets are available from:

From today you can purchase tickets @ Murphy’s Bar Downpatrick


And on 18th March. A gentle come down after the fun of the St Patrick’s Day festivities.

From 1pm -3.00pm, Carrickmannon Folk will be performing in the St Patrick Centre.

So there’s lots to see and enjoy over the St Patrick’s Day festive period.

If you are running an event and it’s not included in the above, message me at: or phone 07855545873 and I’ll include it in the list of events!

Have fun!