Caroline McDonagh - Festival Director
St Patrick's Festival Galway is a platform to showcase local artists and community groups. It celebrates our city's diverse culture and talent through an inclusive programme of events. We aim to create a carnival atmosphere that the whole city can be part of.
About The Parade:
Pipe bands, dance groups and performance artists come from all over the world to Galway each year to experience a parade that is widely regarded as one of the best in Ireland. The beauty of the Galway Parade is that it is small enough for group to truly feel a part of, yet big enough to create a special atmosphere. Up to 50,000 spectators line the streets each year and some of the narrow walkways create an intimate cauldron that is an unforgettable experience for all participants. The Parade route moves through the centre of the medieval city, a 1.5 mile journey through narrow cobbled streets, turning onto long wide roads. The route is thronged with spectators from start to finish, creating a non-stop carnival atmosphere.
2011 marks the 108th anniversary of the Galway St Patrick's Day Parade. In early 1903 moves were afoot to make St Patrick's Day a national holiday in Galway. A holiday committee was set up and proposed to implement the national holiday with the 'voluntary' closure of shops and businesses in the town. All shops were asked to cease trading on the day, those who didn't were frowned upon. Up to 10,000 people came out to watch the parade. Today the figure is closer to 50,000.