For the second year in a row, there will be no parade in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the prospects look bleak for any big national celebration of Ireland's patron saint. Organisers of the festival have confirmed that all events will move online this year to avoid a large-scale gathering on the streets of Dublin.
The organising committee said in a statement today that all of this year’s festivities will be broadcast on an online TV channel dedicated to the festival, SPF TV. The organisers said that viewers can expect “marching bands, pageantry and ceremony,” in a festival that will take in “A rich and dynamic programme of festival events, created by hundreds of artists, musicians, performers, makers, creators, arts and live events”.
The cancellation of last year’s parade was a hint of the effect COVID-19 was to have on Irish society and the organisers have moved quickly to avoid any uncertainty closer to the date. The festival usually brings in a huge windfall for the city of Dublin. RTÉ report that upwards of 110,000 people visit the capital year-on-year for the festival, with around €70mn generated for the city.
Though the organisers will likely have a significant reduction in funding for this year’s festival, the statement released today confirms their hope to create an exciting week of events in these ever-continuing strange times.