A colorful jam-packed festival of 30 events celebrating modern Ireland, its people and its national holiday.

Ireland’s national festival, St. Patrick’s Festival, returns with a cast of thousands of talented home-grown and international musicians, dancers, storytellers and performers coming together for five days and nights of events from March 15th to 19th. The vibrant and colorful program of over 30 events will create a world class cultural celebration of Ireland, its people and our national holiday.

Launched by Lord Mayor of Dublin Mícheál Mac Donncha the theme for the 2018 edition of the Festival is

“home; the exploration of my home, your home, our home.”

It is the inspiration for the artistic program that includes a unique film commission project, street-theater, talks, walks, spoken word, literature, music, Irish language, visual art and more.

Principal funders of St. Patrick’s Festival are Fáilte Ireland, Dublin City Council and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. This year the Festival has commissioned radio presenter, photographer and film maker Donal Dineen to create Pathways: Irish Routes to the Art of the Matter in response to the theme of Home. A documentary about successful Irish creatives who are making it abroad, it will uncover the story of how they got there and look at where and when the seeds for their success were sown.

Filmed in London, Malmo, New York, Los Angeles, Belfast and Kerry it includes interviews with Fiona Shaw, Enda Walsh, Annie Mac, Seán Curran, Eva Rothschild, Brian Cross aka B+,  Aoife MacArdle, Richie Egan aka Jape, Brian Ormond and Richard Gilligan. Pathways will be shown as part of the Where We Live presented by THISISPOPBABY with St. Patrick's Festival program of events in The Complex in Smithfield on March 18 and will also be available to view on the Festival's Facebook and YouTube channel from March 9th.

Keep up-to-date with all things St. Patrick's Day on IrishCentral here

A program of theater productions, work in progress showings, music events, live art and a major exhibition, Where We Live is a kaleidoscope of stories regaling what it feels like to live in Dublin and Ireland today, told by some of the best storytellers on the island including Oonagh Murphy, Peter Flynn and Veronica Dyas.

Another specially commissioned event, Kormac: Equivalent Exchange at Vicar Street on Sunday March 18 is a premier collaborative concert with DJ, producer and composer Kormac, alongside the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Kormac’s Big Band and an array of 30 musicians and artists, including ArtSoul singer/songwriter Loah, famed composer and conductor Eimear Noone, spoken word artist Stephen James Smith, Persian classical musicians Shahab and Shayan Coohe, and Jack O’Rourke, known for his honest ballads and moody synths. Kormac has also collaborated with celebrated urban artist Maser to produce the show visuals.

Each year the St. Patrick’s Day Festival welcomes over 100,000 overseas visitors to our Home to celebrate our national holiday. A firm highlight of the celebrations, the Festival Parade taking place at 12 noon on March 17, will weave its way through the heart of the capital city in a flourish of color and flair.

All the festival fun! #StPatricksFest

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Community groups and pageant companies from all over Ireland will come together to celebrate the parade theme Home Is Where the Heart Is through a variety of performances and street theatre around subjects such as precious moments treasured by the family clock and ‘Home’ as a tribe, family and shared experience.

Once again City Fusion the Festival's in-house community arts participation project has been commissioned to engage with groups and communities from a variety of backgrounds to produce a pageant. Preparations for the festival parade can take up to two years of careful planning and this year will also see over 2,000 band members from far and wide deliver dazzling rhythms and uplifting music that will reverberate throughout the city’s streets.

Read more: Do you know who invented St. Patrick's Day?

Other festival highlights include the chance for fans of vintage Hollywood to enjoy Screening and Live Performance: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in St. Patrick’s Cathedral on March 15. Directed by Irishman Rex Ingram the screening features a new score by renowned composers Matthew Nolan and Barry Adamson which they will perform live on the night accompanied by Seán Mac Erlaine, Adrian Crowley and Kevin Murphy.

Dublin experimental folk-rock band The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock will expand to an 18-piece electric guitar orchestra to launch their new album Lockout in the beautiful surrounds of the Pepper Canister Church on Friday March 16th; and on March 17 Druid’s acclaimed production of Samuel Beckett’s seminal play Waiting for Godot comes to Dublin's historic Daisy Market for an exceptional once-off, outdoor theatre performance for the whole community.

Susan Kirby, St. Patrick’s Festival CEO said:

“For those of us living here or the Diaspora, Home will forever be a part of us and for this year’s festival we want to explore and celebrate what this means. For some it is our physical place of birth and holds a special place within us, while for others it isn’t physical but rather the feelings, the emotion, the character, the people and the culture, that shape it and make it.

She continued “It is the inspiration for our artistic program of over 30 events from talks, walks and literature to street theatre, spoken word and a unique film commission project. Together these reflect the talents and achievements of Irish people on national and world stages, showcasing the skills of every age and social background.”

St. Patrick's Festival aims to strengthen the deep cultural connection between Ireland and its diaspora and promote Irish contemporary culture and arts worldwide.

Read more: Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day across the globe

The full program of events for St. Patrick’s Festival is available on www.stpatricksfestival.ie.

Here’s just a quick taste of what the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Festival was all about: