Music to our Ears – St Patrick’s Day Celebrations launched for Omagh

16th February 2022

Mollie Chairman DK Thumbnail

Thursday 17 March 2022 sees the return of the St Patrick’s Day festival to the streets of Omagh for the first time in three years and will be delivered by Dun Uladh Cultural Heritage Centre thanks to generous sponsorship from Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

In a departure from previous years, Dun Uladh Cultural Heritage Centre has assumed responsibility for the festival and are determined to ‘Let the Music Play this St Patrick’s Day. An exciting day of music, dance, drama, amusements, and family entertainment planned between 12 pm – 4 pm in Omagh Town Centre, with so much more on offer in the numerous hospitality and entertainment venues throughout the town on this global day of celebration.

Speaking about the festival, the Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Errol Thompson said;

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council recognises the role Events and Festivals have traditionally played in the economic, tourism, social, community and cultural life of the Fermanagh and Omagh district.

I am delighted to see the return of the St Patrick’s Day Festival in 2022. After a two year hiatus due to restrictions put in place to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, St Patrick’s Day will once again see Omagh town centre come alive with celebration. It is certainly “music to our ears.”

As we all know the events and festivals industry has been devastated by the Covid -19 pandemic, therefore it is important that the Council supports the event and festival sector in the district.  I am delighted that the Council is providing significant sponsorship to Dun Uladh Cultural Heritage Centre to facilitate the running of this year’s St Patrick’s Day Festival and I wish them every success with the event.

Music and events officer at Dún Uladh Mollie McKeever spoke of the excitement around bringing the St Patrick’s festivities back to Omagh town, “Dún Uladh Cultural Heritage Centre are delighted to be working in partnership with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to deliver this year’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Omagh. After two years of cancelled plans and celebrations, we are delighted to be delivering this family fun festival with a wide range of activities for everyone to enjoy. After a tough year for the arts industry, I encourage everyone to come out and support our local singers, musicians, dancers and entertainers as we celebrate the return of live music and events.”

Once again, the town centre will reverberate to the sound of local talent providing entertainment on the street with music from performers such as the All Ireland title winning Blackwater Ceilí Band, Pipes of Peace with Ian Burrows showcasing the crossover of Scottish and Irish tunes,  new Celtic folk group The Porter Bellys, World Champion Irish Dancers including Lee McCrystall and Barry Teague, Newtownstewart Highland Dancers, St Eugene’s Brass and Reed Band and more. There will also be a special performance from Omagh’s own Country Music star, Dominic Kirwan as he takes time out of his Sham Rock Festival at the Silver Birches Hotel from Tuesday 15 to Thursday 17 March.  All of this will be broadcast to you by the familiar voice of compare Stevie King.

The focus is very much on families and for the first time in many years small fun fair rides for young children and a petting farm will be available to enjoy while availing of the wonderful array of talent on display. Children can also enjoy the ‘Pot of Gold’ trail Heritage and Music Trails will be delivered throughout the day around the town facilitated by noted local historians, Vincent Brogan, Declan Forde and Don McGurgan.

Come and soak up the cultural experience and warm ambiance in Strule Arts Centre over a relaxing cuppa before the crowds descend in the town centre.  There will be lots of activities for all the family, arts and crafts for the kids and a showing of the classic movie, The Quiet Man.

The auditorium will be filled with an energetic variety of music and dance from artists such as the ever-popular Tom Sweeney, musicians from local Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCE) branches, Bulgarian Association NI, Cultural Drumming Circles with Music Matters, Dance Revelation, Ulster Scots and Highland Dancers, Irish Dancers, storytelling and more.

The St Patrick’s Day programme of entertainment at Strule Arts Centre kicks off on Tuesday 8 March with the annual Féilé na hÓmaí event.  This event has been running for over 10 years and is one of the premier Schools’ Drama Festivals in Ireland. Both primary and secondary school children from throughout Tyrone, Derry, Fermanagh and East Donegal will take place in the Irish medium drama competition with the hope of securing a place in the prestigious Ulster Finals.

Friday 11 March sees the launch of the annual St Patrick’s Day Primary School Art Exhibition which will be officially opened by the Chair of  Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Errol Thompson.  The exhibition will run until Saturday 19 March.

Enjoy Northern Ireland humour with world-renowned comedian Patrick Kielty who brings his brand new stand-up comedy show, Borderline, to Strule Arts Centre on Saturday 12 March and the Holi in the Wall gang who bring their Give My Head Peace stage show to the auditorium on Wednesday 16 March.

The Siege of Ennis will feature on the programme of the St Patrick’s Day Schools Céilí on Tuesday 15 March and this much anticipated event will see the auditorium come alive with the dancing feet of the participants.

A quiet room will be available in Strule Arts Centre on Thursday 17 March on level 2, should you or a family member require some time out from the excitement of the day.  Also within Strule Arts Centre, the Changing Places facility will be available on level 2 and baby changing on level 1.

A limited number of accessible car parking spaces for Blue Badge holders can be reserved at the rear of Strule Arts Centre.  If you require any further information on any of the above, please contact 028 8224 7831 or email strulearts@fermanaghomagh.com

For further information on the St Patrick’s Day festival, please visit www.dunuladh.ie and keep up with the days plans by following @dunuladhchc on Instagram, Twitter @dun_uladh and Facebook @dunuladh.