Nottingham is the host of one of Britain’s longest standing St Patrick’s Day Festivals. Celebrating its 18th anniversary, we saw a week of celebrations with the main event being the grand parade on St Patrick’s Day itself.

The parade was led by County Fermanagh, one of Ireland’s 32 Counties and proudly represented by Joint Chief Marshalls Eileen Dowling and Siobhan Begley.

After a worrying period where the parade was under threat due to lack of funding, there was a fantastic turnout with a host of traditional entertainment, food and dancing.

There was a huge turnout for the entertainment
There was a huge turnout for the entertainment

Amongst the many to perform at the festival were Kelly’s Heroes, an East Midlands based band and one of the most sought after on the circuit.

Performing traditional Irish folk music which lifted the dampened spirits of Nottingham’s Irish community despite the wet weather.

Nottingham City Centre dressed in green, white and orange
Nottingham City Centre dressed in green, white and orange

The fantastic success of St Patrick’s Day Festival was the accumulation of a whole year’s preparation.

The Nottingham Comhaltas who promote Irish music, song and dance work tirelessly every year in the run up to St Patrick’s Day.

“Generations still hold onto their parents’ and grandparents’ Irish heritage”
Ciara Comerford, Glendarragh Dance Academy

Glendarragh Irish Dance Academy had been practising all year to perfect their performance showcased at the parade.

Dance teacher Ciara Comerford believes Nottingham is “one of the better places to celebrate Irish Culture”, with many of the younger generation Irish that still hold on to their parent’s and grandparent’s Irish Heritage.

Ciara Comeford says Nottingham is a great place to be Irish

Glendarragh Irish Dance Academy perform at the festival
Glendarragh Irish Dance Academy perform at the festival

Emmanuel House was this year’s chosen charity; with strong links to the Irish community their presence was well known throughout the festival.

Emmanuel House exists to support homeless or vulnerable adults in and around Nottingham and welcome around 60-90 visitors each week day, providing support and services that meet basic needs and help individuals make positive changes in their lives.

With the festivities now drawn to a close, after what was a fantastic week of events, showing hope for the future of the parade here in Nottingham.