St Patrick’s Day: Festival to mark 25 years of Luton Irish Forum's celebrations starts on Friday

The Irish Forum hope it will be an inclusive programme of events for the whole community

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Bhangra Smash Up, Macanta Pipe Band and The Walshe academy of Irish Dancing.Bhangra Smash Up, Macanta Pipe Band and The Walshe academy of Irish Dancing.
Bhangra Smash Up, Macanta Pipe Band and The Walshe academy of Irish Dancing.

An 11-day celebration is set to take place to mark St Patrick's Day in Luton.

Luton Irish Forum is putting on the celebration as part of a special 25th anniversary festival – and hopes to connect people with their Irish heritage and introduce the Luton community to the story of St Patrick. Through sports, art, dancing and music, the forum hopes to get the whole town together to enjoy the patron saint’s day and kick off the festival season.

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Starting off the festival will be a pub quiz at the Black Swan on Friday (March 8) at 8pm. And there are lots of prizes to be won.

On Thursday, March 14, Cardinal Newman School on Warden Hill Road will host the St Patrick’s concert – promising an evening of Irish dancing, acting and music. Tickets are £4 each, or family tickets are £12.

Next up is the Seán Ó Riada mass at 9.30am on March 15. The forum will be joined by the Nigerian and Zimbabwean Choir, and Mac Monaghan at the Our Lady Help of Christians RC Church.

Eileesha, communications, information and systems officer at the Luton Irish Forum, said: “Of course, a mass is a religious event, but what's nice about it is that it's a fusion between the Irish Forum choir, and the Nigerian and Zimbabwean choir.

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“While St Patrick's is an Irish event, this is a community wide event and we're keen to ensure that it's very inclusive.”

Are you interested in having a go at hurling? There is a taster session of one of Ireland's native Gaelic games at the Leagrave Playing Field on Saturday, March 16 - from noon until 4pm.

And for those who want to have a go at some Irish dancing - the forum on Hitchin Road will have two world class performers teaching the basics between 11am and 12.45pm on the Saturday. Participants will need to sign up for both the hurling and dancing taster sessions.

On St Patrick’s Day (March 17), there will be a parade honouring Ireland’s patron saint. The parade will start at the forum and make its way into the town centre from 11am. In St George’s Square, there will be an outdoor stage for entertainment, and an indoor one inside The Mall. The forum’s brand new puppet of St Patrick will makes its debut, after second and third generation Irish children spent weeks creating the piece from scratch at the UK Centre For Carnival Arts.

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Finishing off the 11 days of fun is the afterparty at the Hat Factory on Bute Street, from 4pm onwards on Sunday, March 18.

Eileesha added: “For the people from our community, I hope that they have a sense of pride in their heritage. And that people have fun, that's the main thing. That's really what we were trying to bring to this is a sense of fun.”

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