The Minister for  Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport & Media, Catherine Martin, has committed to up to €1m in programme funding for the new St Patrick’s Festival 2021 virtual celebration. The Department has worked with numerous festival organisers and across government to help bring six great virtual days and nights of superb events to Ireland and the world.

The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media is getting behind the St Patrick’s Festival 2021 as part of its ongoing work to support and highlight Irish artists and the creative community despite the ongoing pandemic. In addition to Martin’s commitment of €1m in programme funding, she also commits €400,000 in business continuity funding through Fáilte Ireland.

The St Patrick’s Festival 2021 remains uniquely placed to act as an economic driver in the arts and entertainment sector at a time of ongoing crisis, by providing employment and commissioning funding for artists, creators and live entertainment. Furthermore, hundreds of performers, creators, artists, freelance crew, and technical workers, who typically engage in much paid work during the St Patrick’s Day celebrations, are set to be employed as a result of this government support.

The Festival, which will run online on St Patrick’s Festival TV (SPF TV) at stpatricksfestival.ie from March 12 to 17, will tell the stories of our dynamic, modern, diverse culture, and celebrate our proud ancient traditions, offering more than 100 events for the nation to enjoy. The continuation of our St Patrick’s tradition also sends out the message that the country is ready, once it is safe to do so, to welcome the world to its shores to celebrate with us.

Minister Martin said: “This year’s Festival message calls on all Irish, at home and abroad, to cherish our ancient traditions alongside our contemporary culture and celebrate them in safety. It positions Ireland firmly in the mind of the world with a message of hope for brighter days ahead for people here at home while reassuring tourists that, when it is safe for them to do so, they will be welcomed to celebrate with us once more.”

“I am particularly pleased that this dynamic programme will provide some employment for our arts and entertainment community and a rare opportunity for them to perform at a time when they need both most. The St Patrick’s Festival week is a highlight of the calendar for creativity and tourism. Without support, a vital part of our identity wouldn’t be marked in the way that we want. The department is determined that this year, despite all the difficulties of COVID-19, Ireland can celebrate its culture.”

In a show of cross-government support for the nation’s national day, the department has been working with relevant stakeholders, including the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Foreign Affairs, to promote the work and boost the impact of this year’s St Patrick’s Festival.

The Festival is now Ireland’s leading multi-disciplinary arts festival and civic celebration around Ireland’s national day. With St Patrick’s Festival going online this year, there is an incredible opportunity for the nation and the world to take a front row seat at all of this year’s events.

Full details of the St Patrick’s Festival programme, supported by the department, will be announced this week by the Festival team on www.stpatricksfestival.ie.