The annual St Patrick’s Festival has expanded for 2017 with a host of Irish music, sport and cultural events taking place in Auckland over 12 days.
Russell O’Brien, chairman of the St Patrick’s Festival Trust, said Auckland could look forward to a bumper programme of events. “We celebrate St Patrick’s Day early on this side of the globe and extend a warm welcome to all Aucklanders to our festival events in 2017.”
The festival begins on Sunday, March 5 with the Irish Fair Day at the Auckland Irish Society in Fowlds Park. This is a great day out for all the family with music, food, dancing and traditional Irish games for young and young at heart.
On Friday, March 10 the Emerald Ball takes places at the Pullman Hotel in aid of Mercy Hospice. This ‘green tie’ event features dinner, dancing, a live auction and plenty of Irish-themed entertainment.
The following day, Saturday March 11, Auckland plays host to the New Zealand GAA Championships. Gaelic football and hurling clubs from around the country will battle it out for the championship trophy in the City of Sails. This is a great opportunity to witness Ireland’s national sport.
The highlight of the festival – the Hugh Green Group St Patrick’s Parade and Fleadh – returns to Ponsonby Road on Sunday, March 12. Thousands turned out to watch the parade in 2016 and even more are expected in 2017. Following the parade, the Fleadh (music festival) kicks off at Western Park.
And on St Patrick’s Day itself – March 17, the day when everyone is Irish – there will be no shortage of Irish music and entertainment at the Auckland Irish Society clubrooms and at Auckland’s many Irish pubs.