UP TO 100,000 people are expected to descend onto Trafalgar Square today for London’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
The square will turn green for from midday to 6pm with performers from across the capital’s Irish communities set to entertain the crowds.
Over 70 community groups, including Irish marching bands and dance troupes, are due to take part in the parade. It begins at Green Park, before passing iconic London locations from Piccadilly to Whitehall.
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Crowds will also have the chance to see Co. Galway performers Macnas, who will be bringing their iconic seventeen-foot high puppet named Crom.
During the day, those travelling to the square via Tottenham Court Road or Green Park underground tube stations may catch a glimpse of the many Irish musicians, dancers and poets celebrating Irish culture.
Speaking ahead of the event, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “It’s a pleasure to once again be supporting one of the biggest and best St Patrick’s Day celebrations anywhere in the world.
“Our free event in the heart of the capital is a terrific opportunity for Londoners and visitors to embrace the traditions of Ireland, to mark the huge contribution several generations of Irish people have made to our city and to have ‘the craic’! Wishing everyone a terrific St Patrick’s Day. Lá Fhéile Pádraig shona daoibh!”
Unlike last year, a rain-free afternoon is predicted for this year’s Trafalgar Square concert, hosted by Irish comedian Jarlath Regan.
Sunshine will oversee the festivities, which this year coincides with the centenary of the Easter Rising. Irish Ambassador to Britain Dan Mulhall will mark the occasion with a commemorative reading from the main stage.
Among the other highlights of this year’s Festival and Parade will be music from country singer Nathan Carter, The London Lasses and London-based band The Craicheads.
Festivalgoers will be able to taste a range of Irish food at the square’s street food market, with Kerry chef John Relihan delivering an exclusive cookery demo.
Also taking place on Sunday is a St Patrick’s Day Film Festival at the Regents Street Cinema from 11.30am-1.30pm, with John Carney’s Sing Street premiering at 7.30pm.
After a day of celebration, festivities will be brought to an end at 6pm, as Nelson’s Column and the Trafalgar Square fountain turn green.
Travel Advice: Public transport is the best way to get to the event. Please note tube stations in the surrounding area (Green Park, Leicester Square, Embankment, Piccadilly Circus and Charing Cross) will be busier than usual. Bus services will be reduced or diverted in Mayfair and St James’s due to road closures for the parade from 9.30am until 3pm.