Full weekend of Melbourne Irish festivities

The Melbourne Irish Festival hosts a St Patrick’s Family Fun Day at Edinburgh Gardens.

The Melbourne Irish Festival hosts a St Patrick’s Family Fun Day at Edinburgh Gardens.

There are two major celebratory events taking place this St Patrick’s Day in Melbourne.

St Patrick’s Day Family Fun Day, hosted by Melbourne Irish Festival Committee, takes place at Edinburgh Gardens (Fitzroy North) between noon and 5pm. Described as Melbourne’s original Irish festival, this is a free event, supported by Yarra City Council.

The fun day boasts traditional and contemporary Irish music accompanied by Irish dancers as well as activities for kids. Irish food will be served.

St Kilda has its own Irish St Patrick’s Day Festival. This event is the first of its kind in O’Donnell Gardens, St Kilda.

Kicking off at 2pm, the day will be brought to life with live cultural music, traditional Irish dancing, food and activities designed to give everyone a little taste of Ireland. This is an over 18s event but there is a free family festival earlier in the day, between 10am and 1pm. This is a non-ticketed event but tickets are required for the adult celebration.

The Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce is holding a number of events in Melbourne. On Friday, the chamber hosts its annual St Patrick’s Day corporate lunch at Docklands. Starting at noon, this will be a chance to listen to some prominent speakers and do some networking at a waterfront location.

Also taking place on this day will be the chamber’s Brexit conference where visiting Irish Minister Damien English TD will be speaking.

The Irish Australian Support and Resource Bureau in Northcote is hosting a celebration on March 16. This will be a day cedlebrating Irish food, with free Sheridan’s Old Dubliner pork sausages from the BBQ. Craic agus ceol is also promised.

If your idea of a St Patrick’s Day celebration is to catch some of Ireland’s biggest musicians at the moment, you can see Kodaline who play Melbourne on St Patrick’s Day.

Kodaline made their name with singalong hits like All I Want and High Hopes which came from their 2013 debut album In A Perfect World.

This was followed by Coming Up for Air and then Politics of Living which have both further cemented them as one of Ireland’s best rock bands. Kodaline play 170 Russell on March 17.

Get set for tsunami of Irish music

Luka Bloom returns to Australia after a four-year absence.

Luka Bloom returns to Australia after a four-year absence.

Fans of Irish music might need to brace for a ticket-buying frenzy as a virtual invasion of artists prepare to travel Down Under over coming months

The East Coast Blues and Roots Festival in Byron Bay over Easter has a distinct Irish accent next year with Hozier and Imelda May both headlining.

Hozier is now a genuine superstar who has built up a massive following around the world since his breakthrough hit Take Me To Church in 2013.

Damien Rice makes a welcome return to Australia.

Damien Rice makes a welcome return to Australia.

Dubliner Imelda May looks very different to when she first toured Australia in 2011. Now, having abandoned her rockabilly look and sound, she has established herself as a brilliant soul and jazz singer.

Also on the bill at Byron Bay are Canadian based Irish singer Irish Mythen, honorary Irishman David Gray and Irish-American Celtic funk band Flogging Molly.

Ahead of that, in February, the uber-talented Damien Rice returns for his first Aussie tour in a decade.

Playing intimate venues like the City Recital Hall in Sydney Rice is slated to “take audiences on a familiar yet unique musical journey – presenting much-loved classics, with the tease of new music on the horizon”.

In March, Gavin James returns after a very successful tour in 2016.

The Port Fairy Folk Festival and Blue Mountains Folk Festival also boast some awesome Irish talent with Luka Bloom returning to Australia for his first tour in five years. Also performing at those festivals in the remarkable Wallis Bird. Born left-handed, she lost the four fingers and thumb of her left hand in a lawnmower accident and had four sewn back on. She got used to playing a right-handed guitar upside-down, which explains her unconventional style.

Hozier plays the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival.

Hozier plays the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival.

Also hitting the festival circuit will be Daoiri Farrell. The former electrician, who decided to become a musician after seeing Christy Moore perform, has been described by some of the biggest names in Irish folk music as one of most important singers to come out of Ireland in recent years.

Sharon Shannon also returns to Australia in February for a shows in Perth, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. Also in Australia that month will be crooner Daniel O’Donnell.

Dublin’s Kodaline also return to Oz for the first time since their sold-out 2014 tour. The indie pop quartet have gigs lined up in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth after a St Patrick’s Day show in Melbourne.

Fans of Irish pop can look forward to a reformed Boyzone touring in March and April. Before that, Irish girl group B*Witched will arrive for shows from the end of January.

Celtic Tenors also arrive in May for a national tour.