Thousands enjoy St Patrick’s Day in Omagh

19th March 2019

Thousands turned out for Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Omagh on Sunday 17 March 2019 which had a theme of ‘The Land of Saints and Scholars’.

Omagh town centre came alive with colour, music and dance with an afternoon of street entertainment and events taking place in the town centre and in the Strule Arts Centre.

Welcoming everybody to the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Omagh, Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Howard Thornton highlighted the programme of events taking place across the town throughout the day and encouraged people to visit as many areas as possible where entertainment was on offer.

Councillor Thornton expressed his delight with a number of cultures and nationalities sharing their customs and traditions as part of the St Patrick’s Day festivities and commended those taking part in the St Patrick’s Day parade on their displays and the way in which they embraced this year’s theme. He also thanked all those involved in the organisation of the event and concluded by wishing everybody a Happy St Patrick’s Day.

The St Patrick’s Day carnival parade was led by the Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Howard Thornton. Weaving its way from Sedan Avenue to the town centre and back to South West College, large crowds lined the streets to watch the parade which included fun colourful displays with participants representing local community and sporting groups, businesses and organisations.

The parade also featured large parade floats and props, created by young people from Strathroy Community Centre, Hospital Road Community Centre and Omagh Boys & Girls Club, which were based on the Book of Kells, St.Patrick and characters from the book by C.S.Lewis, ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’. The floats and props were developed by the groups as part of a Good Relations programme, under the guidance of artist Genevieve Murphy.

The 2018 All-Ireland Fleadh Senior Céilí Band Champions – ‘Blackwater Céilí Band’ – entertained crowds from the main courthouse stage in the town centre throughout the afternoon while St. Eugene’s Brass and Reed Band, local Comhaltas musicians and singers and Highland and Irish dancers performed at the Strule Arts Centre as part of a Shared Traditions Musical Programme.

A traditional craft workshop with the Bulgarian Association Group also took place in the Strule Arts Centre. This workshop demonstrated the art of making martenitsa, a traditional Bulgarian decoration made of white and red yarn or wool thread twisted together which is given to families and friends during March as a symbolic wish for good health and good fortune. There was also face painting and balloon modelling, children’s art workshops, calligraphy writing and demonstrations of corn dolly making, american woodcraft and spinning from the Ulster American Folk Park. A children’s art exhibition, featuring ‘Poems and Paintings for St Patrick’ was also on display at the Strule Arts Centre throughout the day. The exhibition continues at the Strule Arts Centre until Saturday 30 March 2019.

A number of fringe events also took place in the run up to the celebrations in Omagh including an Irish, Ulster Scots and Scots Gaelic Festival and a primary schools’ céilí.

The St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Omagh received financial support from Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s Good Relations Programme assisted by The Executive Office.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council also supported the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Enniskillen, which was organised and delivered by Project St Patrick.