St Patrick’s Day goes virtual for 2021


ST PATRICK’S Day celebrations will once again fall victim to the Covid-19 pandemic as the 2021 festivals in Scotland are prevented from going ahead in their usual formats.

Though the familiar sights of parades, crowds, music and dance will fall foul restrictions in 2021, celebrations will still take place across the country with families gathering to mark the feast of Ireland’s patron saint and groups and community organisations arranging online celebrations.

Among those leading the online St Patrick’s Day festivities are the Coatbridge St Patrick’s Day Festival Committee, who aren’t letting the pandemic call a halt to their festival.

The Coatbridge festival will be live-streamed (above) to ensure it can be enjoyed safely in homes, bringing live music, festival history, lectures and commemorations and readings.

Announcing the launch of their online festival, the Coatbridge St Patrick’s Day Festival Committee explained the importance of keeping their festival active in testing times and the ways in which the Irish community can join them online.

“We are pleased to announce that we shall be live streaming our annual St Patricks Day Festival on Saturday March 20 at 2pm,” the committee said. “This will include music performances on the part of some of our regular festival acts over the years as well as first-timers. The live-stream includes a step into the history of the festival since 2003, as well as including poetry and messages of support from within Scotland and across the globe.

“This year’s digital festival will also showcase several lectures on some outstanding topics, including Celtic FCs Brother Walfrid as well as one on some anniversaries involved in Irish-British relations: the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 and the Irish Hunger strike of 1981. More information on the digital events and how to access these will be posted here on our Facebook page soon.

“We have worked hard this year to ensure some St Patrick’s festivities can still be enjoyed at home safely, not only to keep up a tradition, but to raise excitement for 2022 and future festivals. We would like to thank everyone involved in creating the programme of online events.”

While Glasgow normally marks St Patrick’s Day with the family festival in the Merchant Square and Mass in St Andrew’s Cathedral, the closure of churches means it is impossible for the Glasgow Irish to gather in the usual way. However, Mass will be streamed online from the Cathedral as usual on the date.

The moves in Scotland reflect those in Ireland, with festivals cancelled and replaced by online events—including the Dublin festival which normally welcomes half a million people onto the streets of Ireland’s capital city.

“While we cannot gather on the streets for the St Patrick’s Festival Parade this March 17th, we are reimagining how we bring to life the heart and soul of the national parade, through spectacle, marching bands, pageantry and ceremony, inviting our audiences to participate virtually and enjoy safely from their homes until we can come together again,” festival organisers explained.