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St. Patrick’s Festival: 8 music highlights to catch this weekend

St. Patrick’s Festival: 8 music highlights to catch this weekend


The St. Patrick’s Festival programme continues to build its live programme year-on-year, and 2024 is no different.

Taking place from this Friday March 15th to Sunday March 18th, St. Patrick’s Festival is about more than the Patrick’s Day parade these days, and has become a larger celebration of Irish arts, culture and heritage.

This year’s theme is ‘SPRÉACH’, or spark, and there are plenty of craics of energy on this year’s programme at the St. Patrick’s Festival Quarter at the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts and History in Collins Barracks, which hosts family-friendly free and later ticketed events, across its a 3,000-capacity covered main stage An Halla Mór , Rí Rá Stage (Bandstand), Tigín (Snug), Ruaille Buaille Circus Tent, artisan food space Bia Mall and more.

Here’s some of our highlights:


Denise Chaila

Sunday March 17th

Festival Quarter, Halla Mór at 9.30pm – 10.30pm, Free in

Subtitled, The Sheela na Gig: Denise Chaila, Patrick’s Day in the main stage tent, will see a rare enough performance from Limerick rapper, poet, thinker and philosopher Denise Chaila.

Having gone straight to the big stages, mixtape accolades and Ed Sheeran supports, Chaila is taking her performances and music back to its roots, or perhaps somewhere new? In cases like this it’s best to let the artist speak for themselves in what to expect for the big gig…

Community is more than a buzz word. On the 17th of March 2024, we will bring together a group of like-minded musicians who are both fatigued and determined to use their skills to connect themselves to one another. Whose self sovereignty matters, whose compassion is honed, whose desire is to throw their head back and sing into the wind without shame. Trad songs, Zulu chants, poetry and verse, capoeira songs; resistance and joy in the face of a world that wants to convince us the only option is collapse.

Old songs, new verse, remixes and cultural collage. Music that feels more like memory. A set of spoken word, song, dance, and rhythm that honours the folklore but frees our arms. From trad to rap, then samba and back. We’ll construct a choir of artists (established and new-born) which feels less like making and more like magic. Bodhráns to Chicago bounce, capoeira to cúchulainn. And right back again.

Éire nua.


Mother Presents Cultúr Club

Saturday March 16th

Festival Quarter, 5pm – 11pm, Tickets

Mother is putting on a right hooley called Cultúr Club on Saturday night featuring live music, queer performance and art “in celebration of Irish LGBTQ+ club culture and the transformative power of the dancefloor “

Lined up for the music programme is the DJ headliner, Irish-born DJ & producer, trUst label boss, and co-founder of Body Movement Festival Saoirse for the main stage tent.

Alongside Saoirse, there will be sets from returning electronic producer Elaine Mai with MayKay on vocals, along with Mother DJs Ruth Kavanagh, Ghostboy & Rocky T Delgado, DJs Kelly-Anne Byrne, Puzzy Wrangler, Glamo and more with “dancers, kinksters, and fabulous drag artists.”

Mother’s Géilí Mór’ is Ireland’s largest Queer céilí will be hosted by PJ Kirby, with help from RiverDrag & a live queer céilí band.

Sing Along Social will be bringing their Craic Mechanics to lead a pop singing party, Tent Beag will host drag and cabaret from collectives including EGG, HAUS OF W.I.G, Dance to the Underground, culminating in a Drag Dance Party DJ-ed by Mars MontanaLouise McSharry will be joined by James Kavanagh and Phil Keogh (Victoria Secret) and more to chat all things clubbing and culture and REIC (pronounced ‘wreck’) is a multilingual spoken word event featuring poetry, rap, music, storytelling and more, hosted by Ciara Ní É.


Celaviedmai Presents: Who’s Next?

Saturday March 16th

Festival Quarter, GOAL Global Stage at 3.50pm – 4.35pm, Free in.

Galway’s finest rapper Celaviedmai is adept at creating hip-house meets club rap bangers as heard on her latest EP ISSA NEW ERA! which features a plethora of Irish artists on the tracks.

For this Who’s Next? show, Mai will continue the vibe for a night hosted by the rapper showcasing Irish artists like Toshín, Salamay and Becky McNeice.

Issa vibe too.


Ispíní na hÉireann

Sunday March 17th

Festival Quarter, Halla Mór, 8.15pm – 9pm, Free in.

Ispíní na hÉireann aka the Hardest Working Band in all of the Land aka The Sausages of Ireland started out as a folk two piece of banjo player Adam J. Holohan and guitar player Tomás Mulligan with a penchant for humorous lyrics and funny memes.

Now a five-piece, augmented with cellist Aongus MacAmhlaigh,  bodhrán player Cian ‘Kinko’ Ó Ceallaigh, and sax/Uilleann Pipes player Pádraig Óg Mac Aodhagáin, the band have more of a punk-folk vibe to their sets of late.

The band’s craic-filled setlist is indebted to trad, while singing of topical pop culture like the MICA crisis or Joe Duffy’s call-in show. A new album is out later this year.


Abair | Bothy/Bothán

Saturday March 16th,

Blackbox Theatre, TU Dublin Grangegorman, 7:30pm, Tickets

Bothy/Bothán is an international collaboration of music and shared history, co-curated by folk singers Macdara Yeates and Steve Byrne. Featuring traditional music from Ireland and Scotland, and artists from both countries, the gig will be a night of songs and stories performed by Landless, Choras, Len Graham, Scott Gardiner, Steve Byrne and Macdara Yeates.

The performers will sing songs of migrant farm labourers in the North East of Scotland to the centuries-old ballads of emigrant Irish workers.

ABAIR is an annual oral traditions programme taking place as part of the St. Patrick’s Festival which explores the Irish traditions of storytelling, song, and oral history and traces their links around the world. Curated by traditional singer Macdara Yeates, and now in its 6th year, the multi-format programme offers a wide array of concerts, pop-ups and storytelling sessions that examine the relationship between the sung and spoken word in Ireland and abroad (the Irish word ‘Abair’ translates roughly as both ‘to say’ and ‘to sing’).


Trá Pháidín

Sunday March 17th

Festival Quarter, Rí Rá Stage, 8:20pm, Free in

The Cork via Connemara nine-piece band Trá Pháidín are a largely instrumental band with roots in Irish trad, post-rock and jazz improvisation.

Their 2023 full-length album An 424, was written in honour of the bus that goes from Galway city to Connemara, inspired by the change of landscape from urban to rural nature, and features earthy multi-faceted big-band arrangements which soundtrack the transition to such an expanse.


Niamh Bury

Sunday March 17th

Festival Quarter, Tigín at 9:30pm, Free in

Rising Dublin folk artist Niamh Bury was one of the first artists to sign to newly reanimated Irish label Claddagh Records, and will release her debut album Yellow Roses on March 29th.

Recent RTÉ Folk Awards nominee, and with having played with Ye Vagabonds, Martin Hayes, Dermot Kennedy, Daorí Farrel, Niamh Regan and Cinder Well, I can attest to Bury’s magnetic singer-songwriter style, and fine singing tone, as heard on the recent single ‘Budapest’, a textured folk song adorned with fine colour touches of piano and violin.


North Circular with Live Cello Overture

Monday March 18th

Irish Film Institute, 6pm, Tickets

Luke McManus’ North Circular documentary explores the history, music and residents of the North Circular in Dublin, which travels the length of the road, from the Phoenix Park to Dublin Port, and features music performances from John Francis Flynn, Gemma Dunleavy,  Eoghan O’Ceannabháin, Ian Lynch (Lankum)  Lisa O’Neill & more.

St. Patrick’s Festival is putting on a special screening of the film at the IFI next Monday, with a live cello overture by composer of the film’s incidental music, Kevin Murphy (Slow Moving Clouds/Blind Stitch) and a post-screening discussion with director Luke McManus, and architect and historian Merlo Kelly, hosted by Emmett Scanlon (Director, IAF) exploring the film in the context of urbanism and the built environment.

Weaved around the performances are narratives drawn from history and the present: “from colonialism, to mental health, to the struggle for women’s liberation, the battle to save the legendary Cobblestone Pub from development.”

Presented in partnership with the Irish Architecture Foundation, as part of the 2024 St Patrick’s Festival’s One City programme.

More from St. Patrick’s Festival…

There’s also music from Bang Bike, Brìghde Chaimbeul & Aidan O’Rourke, The Len Collective, Dug, Mo Cultivation, The Deadlians, Tadhg, Acid Granny, Grooveline, Céilí Mór, Alfi, Code of Behaviour, Tonnta, Holly Munro and much much more.

See the full programme.

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