St Patrick's Day in Australia

The Rocks to host St Patrick's Day festivities in 2020

Revellers at The Mercantile Hotel in The Rocks on St Patrick’s Day. Picture: PropertyNSW

Revellers at The Mercantile Hotel in The Rocks on St Patrick’s Day. Picture: PropertyNSW

The Rocks will again play host to Sydney’s St Patrick’s Day festivities in 2020, the Irish Echo has learned.

Despite more than 44mm of rain on St Patrick’s Day, thousands of revellers made their way to The Rocks for the official Irish celebrations.

The determination of the Irish community to celebrate the national day despite the appalling weather impressed Property NSW, who manage The Rocks area.

“Our vision to transform The Rocks into an Irish village was a great success, with our restaurants, bars and retailers, and the Sydney St Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival organisers worked hard to ensure visitors had the best experience possible, despite the weather,” spokeswoman Sarah Cleggett told the Irish Echo.

“The Rocks shares a rich history with the Irish in Sydney and we look forward to celebrating St Patrick’s Day here again next year.”

More than 600 people took part in the modified parade, which weaved its way through the narrow streets of The Rocks. Outside the Mercantile Hotel hundreds of revellers enjoying the live music cheered on the parade as it made its way up to Dawes Point Park, the festival site.

Karen Murphy, president of the Sydney Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival committee, was delighted that so many turned up to celebrate, despite the downpour.

Large crowds made their way to The Rocks on St Patrick’s Day despite the downpour.

Large crowds made their way to The Rocks on St Patrick’s Day despite the downpour.

“The Sydney St Patrick’ Day Organisation volunteers would like to thank the Irish, friends of the Irish and those who were Irish for the day who braved the rain, walked with the parade, splashed in the puddles and demonstrated that hail, rain or shine nothing stops the celebrations on St Patrick’s Day. We are so proud of you.

“We have come home to The Rocks and will return next year. A big thank you to Property NSW who manage The Rocks precinct for their help and support. They have now been adopted into the Sydney St Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival family. Looking forward to seeing everyone again next year.”

The rain eventually took its toll on the festival site at Dawes Point Park, which closed early, at 2pm.

The decision to go ahead with the volunteer-run event resulted in a big financial hot for organisers who are appealing for financial support from the community.

“Even though the day was a great success, the weather did mean that [we] took a financial hit,” Ms Murphy said. “The fact the park had to close early and the heavy rain meant that forecasted revenue and donations fell short. In order to make up for this the committee are planning a couple of exciting fundraising events. Alternatively you can donate using the donate button on the website.”

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.

Brisbane St Patrick's parade celebrates 30 years

Paddyfest at Eagle Farm Racecourse is one of a range of St Patrick’s Day events planned for Brisbane.

Paddyfest at Eagle Farm Racecourse is one of a range of St Patrick’s Day events planned for Brisbane.

The Irish will march through Brisbane city for the 30th time this year in a parade that begins and ends outside the city’s Botanic Gardens.

The event attracted more than 30,000 onlookers last year as the city’s GAA teams, Irish groups and dancing academies presented their colourful floats or took part in walking groups.

The parade starts at 10.30am on Saturday March 16 but there will be stalls and entertainment both before the parade as people congregate and afterwards when everyone returns after the parade.

Saturday March 16 is also the date for Paddyfest at Eagle Farm Racecourse where the full day of entertainment will include indie rock four piece Kingswood; Brisbane-based Tullamore Tree; Tartan Shamrock who go between traditional Irish and classic Aussie rock; singer-songwriter Shanon Watkins; City of Brisbane Pipe Band; Walker’s Irish Dancers and Leprechaun DJ.

The programme will also include entertainment for kids of all ages, including a petting zoo, and at 7pm, the festival will wow with a big Irish-themed laser, lights and live DJ spectacular. This epic show will be a huge hit with the kids so be sure to stick around for the show!

The build up to Brisbane’s St Patrick’s Day festivities begins well before the big weekend with the Brisbane Irish Festival Ball taking place at the Hilton Hotel in the city on March 9. Hosted by the Irish Australian Support Association of Queensland, this is a fundraising event for the association as well as a celebration. Some lucky person will win $15,000 worth of gold bullion in the Luck of the Irish Art Union.

The Queensland Gaelic Football and Hurling Association hold its Family Fun Day on March 10 at Gaelic Park, Willawong. Admission is free for children and among the entertainment on offer will be novelty races, live Irish music, Queensland Irish Association Pipe Band, Irish dancing, Gaelic sports exhibitions, tug-o-war as well as a licensed bar and food available all day.

The Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce will hold its St Patrick’s corporate lunch at the Sky Room on March 15 from 12pm.

Hosted by well-known Brisbane journalist and Walkley Award winner, Patrick Condren, Dublin comedian Ian Coppinger will provide the laughs.

Anyone who wants to see some elite Irish dancing accompanied by ballads can seek out the touring Heart of Ireland show which plays Nambour on March 15, The Star on the Gold Coast on St, Patricks’ eve, March 16 and Chermside in Brisbane on St. Patrick’s Day itself. Choreographed by a two time world champion dancer, every member of the Heart of Ireland troupe is a world championship finalist.

The city’s Irish pubs are also planning major celebartions.

Finn McCool’s Irish bar in Fortitude Valley takes over Brunswick Street Mall on St Patrick’s Day with an extended licensed area and live entertainment that includes Barley Shakes, The Gathering, The Munster Bucks, Queensland Irish Pipe Band, Limerick and Scoil Ard Rince Irish dancers.

Putting The Rocks into Sydney's shamrock celebration

The Rocks area of Sydney will host Sydney’s official St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

The Rocks area of Sydney will host Sydney’s official St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

The Rocks area of Sydney will be the centrepiece of the city’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

The Saint Patrick’s Day Festival, with the theme Back to Our Roots, will kick off with a walking parade through the area on Sunday, March 17, reminiscent of the first Irish community parade.

The parade will kick off at 11am from First Fleet Park and will make its way through the historic area finishing at Dawes Park.

The parade will be family focused, an event spokeswoman, Mary Doherty, said.

The map of the St Patricks Day Parade route for Sunday, March 17.

The map of the St Patricks Day Parade route for Sunday, March 17.

“Already applications have been coming in from local dancing schools, mothers groups and sporting clubs. Groups or individuals who want to join the parade can still submit an application on the Sydney Saint Patrick’s Day Festival website,” she said.

The celebration will include a day-long program of activities at Dawes Park starting at 11.30am.

“This year’s festival has something for everyone, young and not so young, Irish, non-Irish and those who just want to join in the craic,” Ms Doherty said. “As always music will be at the centre of the celebrations and this year’s line-up is fantastic.

“There will be live music from favourites such as Strawberries and Cabbage, Blackwater, Chris Harper and The Bottlers and plenty of up and coming acts in the form of buskers and street artists.

“The kids can enjoy dancing, Irish language sessions, cultural entertainment acts, musical performances, prizes for best dressed, crafts, face painting, a tattoo artist, raffles and lots more.”

Approximately 50 Irish nationals will become citizens at a special citizenship ceremony on the day.

A large licensed bar and various stalls will offer everything from food and drinks, to crafts. The party extends from Dawes Park with the entire Rocks area transforming into an Irish village for the day. To add to the celebration, the sails of the Sydney Opera House will be illuminated in green as part of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening project.

The layout for the family celebration at Dawes Point Reserve.

The layout for the family celebration at Dawes Point Reserve.

“Now, would you get a better photo opportunity than that?,” Ms Doherty asked. “The Harbour Bridge, a green Opera House and a park full of people being happily Irish!”

The Mercantile Hotel, the iconic Irish pub in The Rocks, will be offering a full Irish breakfast from 7.30am on the day, plus live entertainment.

The Sydney Irish business community will celebrate St Patrick’s Day on Friday March 15.

More than 1,000 revellers are expected at the Lansdowne Club’s annual St Patrick’s Day Lunch at the International Convention Centre with special guest Heather Humphreys TD, Ireland’s Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation. Earlier in the day, the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce will host a St Patrick’s business breakfast at Doltone House at Hyde Park.

Opera House to go green for St Patrick's Day

Sydney Opera House will be illuminated green for St Patrick’s Day this year.

Sydney Opera House will be illuminated green for St Patrick’s Day this year.

The Sydney Opera House will be one of a number of Australian buildings and landmarks lit green for St Patrick’s Day this year.

Apart from the Sydney’s most iconic building, the Big Kangaroo Border Village in South Australia, The Big Banana Fun Park in Coffs Harbour, the State Library of New South Wales and Sydney Town Hall will adopt a green hue for March 17.

The Bell Tower, Council House and Elizabeth Quay in Perth as well as the National Carillon and the Embassy of Ireland in Canberra will also be lit in green.

For Sydney, it will be an extra special St Patrick’s Day this year.

The St Patrick’s Day Festival has moved back to The Rocks, marking the 40th anniversary of the first Irish parade through the area in 1979.

The area will be transformed into an Irish Village for the day, a sea of green - offering something for everyone; live music, street artists, a parade, children’s activities, a citizenship ceremony, and live music and dancing. Kicking off with a street parade at 11am, the celebrations will be at Dawes Point Park, with the iconic Sydney Opera House as a backdrop.

Sydney St Patrick’s Day Organisation’s President Karen Murphy said “The St. Patrick’s Day Festival is delighted to partner with Tourism Ireland in turning the sails of the Opera House green! What a stunning setting to celebrate our proud Irish roots globally.”

Other new sites and buildings taking part in Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening 2019 include: Victoria Falls, The Eden Project in Cornwall, The Cotton Tree in Freetown, Sierra Leone; and ‘Niki’, a Cathay Pacific DC-3 airplane on display in the Cathay Pacific headquarters in Hong Kong.

Sydney Town Hall will be lit in green to celebrate the city’s Irish heritage.

Sydney Town Hall will be lit in green to celebrate the city’s Irish heritage.

These new sites will join some ‘old favourites’ which have gone green in previous years – including the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Niagara Falls, the ‘Welcome’ sign in Las Vegas, the Sky Tower in Auckland, Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland Paris, Burj Al Arab, Christ the Redeemer statue, the London Eye and many others.

Sofia Hansson, Manager Tourism Ireland, Australia and New Zealand said, “This is the tenth year of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative which has now grown to become a significant worldwide reminder of both St. Patrick’s Day itself, and also of Ireland and its appeal as a visitor destination. Many Australians have ancestral links to the island of Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day is a truly unique opportunity to reconnect them with their heritage.”