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ISACS Member - Spraoi
ISACS Member - Spraoi St Patrick's Parade 2017 | Photographer Graham Cullen
17 minutes reading time (3386 words)

ISACS artists to brighten up the St. Patrick's Day Parades 2018

St PatricksDayParade BuiBolg

It's that time of the year again and only a few days before our members unveil what they have been designing, building, rehearsing for the past months to grace our wide-open eyes. Magnificent parades and processions will descend upon the streets of Ireland with colourful, breath-taking, gigantic installations and creations, accompanied by flamboyant street performers' characters marching on the sound of the most festive rhythms; all telling a meaningful story celebrating various aspects of the Irish identity.

Without further ado, we present you with a selection of themes and pageants to look forward all across the country!


From the celebration of Spring, Irish Gastronomy, two hundred and fifty years of Circus, a hundred years since the vote for women, to the celebration of Ireland's Viking origins; discover some of the brilliant St. Patrick's Day Parades 2018 themes in Limerick, Dublin, Cork, Derry, Galway, Waterford and other local cities.


Celebrate Circus 250 at Limerick's St. Patrick's Day Parade

Saint Patricks Day 17 Limerick marion fossett

Photo: Sean Curtin True Media

Date and Time: Saturday 17th March 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Limerick's St. Patrick's Day Parade promises to be the largest regional parade up to date with an expected attendance of ten thousand people.  

Marion Fossett of Fossett Circus will be leading the Parade in 2018 in honour of the theme Circus250, commemorating two hundred and fifty years of Circus in Ireland and the UK in 2018, since entrepreneur and showman Philip Astley drew out a ring and began filling it with astonishing acts such as horse stunts, tumblers, rope-dancers, jugglers and clowns.


Parade Grand Marshall Marion Fossett said: “On behalf of my family I’m honoured and thrilled to have been invited to be the Grand Marshal for the 2018 Limerick St. Patrick's Day Parade. In addition to this commemorating the birth of Circus this fabulous parade will mark Fossett's Circus 130th Anniversary, making us the world's oldest continuously touring circus!”

 lumen theatre limerick paddys day parade

The launch of Limerick’s St Patrick’s Festival 2018, Lumen Street Theatre and Fossett's Circus. Photo: Sean Curtin True Media


ISACS Network chairman and Creative Director of this year’s parade Aidan Phelan said: “This year’s line-up is looking fantastic with more local groups, clubs and companies participating than ever before. Local street arts company Lumen will join in the fun with a traditional circus themed entry and the award-winning dancers from Spotlight Stage School will return for another energetic performance.”

“Expect to see some fantastic work from Limerick based aerial dancers Fidget Feet, who are set to wow the crowds with their incredible airborne antics. On top of all that the students from Limerick's International School of Spectacle, with support from Limerick City and County Council’s Culture and Arts Office, have a lovely surprise in the works."


Watch out for the following ISACS members:

Lumen Street Theatre

Limerick based

Danilo Shannon Lumen Street theatre by Sean Curtis

 Lumen Street Theatre, St Patrick's Day 2017. Photo: Sean Curtin True Media

Check Lumen Street Theatre's ISACS member profile

Lumen Street Theatre will be celebrating human endeavor in Circus with human cannonball, clowns and magician rabbits... They will be accompanied by the youths of Limerick School Project, the West End Youth Centre, Southill family resource centre, St. Michaels school and Limerick Youth Theatre.

They will also be facilitating and accompanied by Limerick School of Spectacle.

Fidget Feet Aerial Dance

Limerick based

Limerick St. Patricks Day Parade 2016 810x456 1

Fidget Feet, St Patrick's Day 2016. Photo: Sean Curtin True Media


Check Fidget Feet | Irish Aerial Creation Centre's ISACS member profile

Limerick Based Fidget Feet are a pint-sized aerial circus performance company from Ireland.

'We tell our stories anywhere we can think of; in theatres, from cranes, hidden in forests, or swinging from buildings all over the world. Our performances are for everyone and we love to find new ways of telling our stories to new people.'

Fidget Feet was founded by choreographer/aerial dancer Chantal McCormick from Donegal and musician/media artist Jym Daly from Cork in 2004. 'Our company has since become one of the leading aerial dance theatre companies in Ireland making our work at home and touring our work nationally and internationally.'

With funding from Limerick City and County Council, the Irish Aerial Creation Centre is a unique way for individuals, communities and businesses, both local and national to discover talents they didn’t know they had and develop new skills and abilities they never thought they could achieve. Providing a centre of excellence for the creation and education of aerial circus.

Crane Shows are at the intersections of Shannon St and Lower Cecil Street. They start at 12.15, last 6mins and there is a new flight every 20 mins. The Grand Marshals car will meet the first crane show performance at 12.15 with Confetti Cannons at the intersection of Lower Cecil St and O Connell St.


Limerick School of Spectacle

Limerick based

Limerick School of spectacle 2018


'Limerick School of Spectacle 2018: Procession' is a partnership project funded by Creative Europe with twenty-five creative practitioners from five different countries working on the procession making for eight days before the parade at the Irish Aerial Creatin Centre in Limerick. They trained in outdoor arts making, fire installation, performance and safety, production, community engagement, aerial dance and other aspects of making a procession. Expect some fine additions to the parade!

'Whirling Wings Circus’ parade section has been created by 25 local and international creative practitioners over the last week for ‘The School of Spectacle’ a Creative Europe project supported by Limerick City and County Council as the legacy of Limerick European Capital of Culture Bid 2020. "Whirling Wings circus" is inspired by feathers, birds and movement.

The School of Spectacle is led by Walk the Plank, organised and hosted by ISACS member Fidget Feet, and partner Limerick City & County Council with the support of Creative Europe and Arts Council Ireland and four other international partners: Pafos2017, Cyprus; Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s European Capital of Culture 2019; Limerick City and County Council ; Dvimiescio Kulka in Kaunas, Lithuania; and artists from Kalamata in Greece.

For more information read our article on the previous Limerick School of Spectacle.


Cloughjordan Circus Club

Tipperary based

cloughjordan Circus Club Stilt Walking2

Cloughjordan Circus Club Stiltwalkers. 

Check Cloughjordan Circus Club's ISACS member profile

Cloughjordan Circus Club has created a piece for the Limerick Parade entitled 'Circus Beats'. It's 250 years of Circus and forty young people from Cloughjordan Circus Club plan to make some noise about it. They worked with Percussionist Andy Spearpoint and will be presenting stilt-walking drummers, Club Swinging base drums, whistling Unicyclists and stick tapping Diabolists!

The parade project is facilitated by Circus Club director Joanna Williams and Choreographer Julie Lockett with the support of Tipperary Arts Office and The Ireland Funds.

Galway Community Circus


GalwayCommunityCircus Claire Sheehan Photography2

Galway Community Circus, St Patrick's Day Parade, Galway 2017 Photo: Claire Sheehan

Check Galway Community Circus' ISACS member profile

Galway Community Circus clown troupe will be lead by Ellie Davis!



Galway based

Yvette Macnas tower

Yvette Picque of Macnas, 2017. 

Check Macnas' ISACS member profile

In line with the Limerick parade theme of ‘circus 250’ Macnas bring a troupe of traveling carny folk to town. Led by Debbie Wright of Turas Theatre Collective, as well as a team of brass ensemble musicians led by Donal McConnon, brass ensemble, the ring mistress Yvette Picque heralds in the arrival of ‘the greatest show on earth’ on top of her tower as the bearded lady, the strongman, and characters from the old sideshows parade, perform and play with the spectators.

Macnas’s section in the Limerick Parade production:

  • Ciara Moloughney as Production Manager 
  • Debbie Wright as Creative Director,
  • Dolan McConnon as Music Director,
  • Cherie White and Marcella Morgan on costumes,
  • Michelle Ruane on Make-up and hair
  • Georgina as Company Manager.


View Limerick St Patrick's Day Parade Full Programme

Map route:

Limerick St PatricksDayParade map route 2018



Dublin St. Patrick's Day Parade celebrates 'Home' 

artastic dublin parade grand marshall

 Artastic with St. Patrick's Day Parade 2018 Grand Marshall. 


Date and Time: Saturday 17th March 12 pm - 3 pm

Ireland’s leading street theatre and pageant companies have responded artistically to the theme, Home is Where the Heart is. Their magnificent creations and flamboyant performances inspired by all things 'home', will weave their way through the capital in spectacular fashion led by the 2018 Grand Marshall Game of Thrones star Liam Cunningham. The force will be strong with the Parade as StarWars star Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) will also be Guest of Honour with a special seat in attendance!


Watch out for the following ISACS members:


Waterford based

Spraoi Grahame Cullen Dublin

Spraoi, St. Patrick's Day Parade 2017. Photo: Grahame Cullen Photography

Check Spraoi's ISACS member profile

In Dublin, Waterford renowned street theatre company Spraoi founded in 1993, will make their twenty-second appearance at Dublin Parade. They will be performing a street spectacle show called ‘Insectopia’ commissioned by St Patrick’s Festival. Spraoi pageant explore the alternative world of insects with a fully costumed cast of eighty characters and three large-scale pieces including a giant hive, insects and a Queen Bee to oversee all! The company is regularly commissioned by festivals and events to produce large outdoor spectacle shows. 



2017 Artastic Vijaya Barteson Dublin Parade Together we are an ocean 2

Artastic.ie, St. Patrick's Day Parade 2017. 'Together We are an Ocean' Photo: Vijaya Bateson

Check Artastic's ISACS member profile

This year, Artastic.ie will transform the streets of Dublin with carnival colorful creation under the theme 'Tick-Tock of the Family Clock'. This pageant is about precious moments in time that are all captured by the family clock. Artastic will explore this theme in three parts: Body, Mind and Soul. The clock face represents ‘Body’, our house and the shelter it provides. The cogs and pendulums represent the emotional heart and ‘Mind’. And although the very essence of the clock is to record time, the ‘Soul’ of our family lies in the record of family memories, past and present and the anticipation of future generations.

Buí Bolg - Outdors Arts

Wexford based


Check Bui Bolg's ISACS member profile


With 'Home is Where the Heart is' Bui Bolg re-enact the scene of a giant living-room. The Buí Bolg pageant is all about relaxing around the fire and having the craic with your nearest and dearest. The centerpiece will transform the streets into one big living room and the audience is invited to join the members of Buí Bolg as they fill the room with their infectious laughter. The heart of home, the fireplace will be brought to life with glowing colours, dancing flames and vivid performances.

Buí Bolg Outdoor Arts is a team of skilled visual artists and engineers, performers and designers led by Artistic Director Colm Lowney. The company develops street artwork and creates fantastic puppetry, floats and visual effects. Buí Bolg’s in-house youth group led by Kris Maguire provides the innovative young acrobats and circus performers.

Buí Bolg will also make an appearance for Renault, official partner of the Parade with a giant wind-powered carousel float representing nature with flowers, daffodils, and leaves and Renault dedication to becoming green. It will be accompanied by a group of fully costumed young dancers.


View Dublin St Patrick's Day Parade Full Programme

Map Route:

Parade Route for Dublin 2018


Cork St. Patrick's Day Parade celebrates 100 years of the vote for women with ‘Mná na hEireann'

cork community art link

Date and Time: Saturday 17th March 1 pm - 2:30 pm

Cork celebrates the theme of Democracy For All - 100 Years of the Vote for Women, with a carnival of colour, music, pageantry and comic fun.


Watch out for the following ISACS members:

Cork Community Art Link


2017Cork Community ArtLink StPatrickDayParade

Cork Community Art Link Giant shoe, St. Patrick's Day Parade 2017. 

Check Cork Community Artlink's ISACS member profile

Cork Community Art Link is taking part in Cork St Patrick's Day parade with around a hundred and twenty participants. Cork Community Art Link will be accompanied by twelve community groups: Cope Foundation, The Brook Centre, NLN Hollyhill, NLN - Focus programme Middleton & Penrose Wharf, St Vincent's Secondary School St Mary's Road, Linkpoint Knocknaheeny, Light Bulb Theatre, Cork City Firebirds, Blackpool Youth Center, YWI - LGBT youth group, Blackpool Glen Farranree Community Youth Training Center, Artlink drama group and volunteers.

From this year's theme ‘Democracy For All – 100 Years Of The Vote For Women’ and collaborations came the ideas for the floats “Giant Puppet Suffragette”, “Giant Hot Air Balloon”, “Big Bobby Puppets”, “Boxing Ring”, Justice scale, “Sandwich Board Ladies” and many more characters. The floats along with the attending groups will track the story of the people of the feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a game of cat and mouse.




Spraoi, St. Patrick's Day Parade 2017. Photo: DigiCol Photography

Check Spraoi's ISACS member profile

In Cork, Spraoi are celebrating 100 years of the vote for women with ‘Mná na hEireann’ with two large installations floats, a giant horse and a cast of twenty-five performers fully costumed for the occasion! Prepare for an epic Women's Right procession!

Buí Bolg - Outdoor Arts

Wexford based

Bui Bolg Phoenix 2017 01 24 16 49 59 UTC

Check Bui Bolg's ISACS member profile

Prepare to be amazed by the meticulous work of Bui Bolg! Bui Bolg answered the theme 100 years vote for women and Democracy for all creating a kaleidoscope patchwork of thirty meters long representing a giant tapestry of countryside landscapes scenes with fields, bogs and rivers. The piece was created with three hundred different pieces of fabric and will be carried out by the impressive number of three hundred costumed dancers representing the matriarch of the country. Next to it, a giant ballot box topped with a Venus Symbol and a circle for an aerialist to perform will remind the attendance the importance of Democracy.

Route Map:

ParadeRoute2018 Cork


St Patrick's Day Spring Carnival Parade in Derry

Bui Bolg SPF 2016 2 2017 01 24 16 49 59 UTC

Bui Bolg, St. Patrick's Day Parade 2016. 

Date and Time: Saturday 17th March 2 pm - 3:30 pm

As the dark skies of winter fall away, Derry will welcome and celebrate the spring with open arms in a cacophony of colour and spectacle. Derry St. Patricks Day Spring Carnival Parade will take to the streets in a celebration of Spring with local communities.

In ancient times, many festivals celebrated Spring goddesses associated with flowering, growth and the fertility of the land including Celtic goddess Brigit and Hindu Goddess Bhramari  ‘the goddess of the bees.’  Brigit and Bhramari will snake their way through the city’s streets along with a host of characters representing Spring such as 'dancing daffodils', 'busy bees' and 'slithering snakes' and many other and will be joined by Saint Patrick completing the circle.


Watch out for the following ISACS members:

Buí Bolg - Outdoor Arts

Wexford based

BuiBolg Wexford parade Mike Kelly

Bui Bolg, St. Patrick's Day Parade 2017. Photo: Mike Kelly

Check Bui Bolg's ISACS member profile

Bui Bolg will bring their Giant Snake to slighter through the streets with a long coil of stripy ferocity. The inflatable reptile, created in 2016 has become famous for its very impressive size of six meters high and twenty-five meters long. But don't worry! St Patrick is meant to make an apparition at the Parade and protect Derry from the return of the snakes in Ireland, giant or not!

Audrey Doherty joins in with In Your Space Circus


audrey dherty stilts

Audrey Doherty, St. Patrick's Day Parade 2017. Photo: LMK Photography

Check Audrey's ISACS member profile

Audrey will be performing on Chinese peg stilts, along with other members of In Your Space Circus team, leading a group of little 'Bridgits' on high stilts. Her fine costume will consist of a beautiful green silk hand-painted floaty garment trimmed with 'bees'. Her headdress has three faces representing the Triple Deity - all sisters named Brigit,  Brigit the poet, Brigit the smith and Brigit the healer.

Bridgit is considered the patroness of poetry, smithing, medicine, Arts & Crafts, cattle and livestock, sacred wells and serpents and the arrival of early Spring. The pagan festival Imbolc which marks the beginning of Spring is associated with the Goddess Brigit.     

Map Route:

Derry St Patricks 2018 Map



Galway St. Patrick's Day Parade celebrates European region of Gastronomy 2018

Macnas Galway Karma Travels 1

Macnas, St. Patrick's Day Parade 2017. Photo: Karma Travels

Date and Time: Saturday 17th March 11:30 am - 1 pm

2018 marks the 116th anniversary of the Galway St. Patrick's Day Parade and you can expect a wonderful spectacle of all the things ‘Gastronomy’ which encompasses everything from farm to fork, as the parade celebrates Galway and the West of Ireland holding the title of Region of Gastronomy 2018. Various Galway Communities will explore the theme of ‘From the ground up – Feeding our future’ to reflect their own vision for a food culture which embraces an inclusive society and reflects Galway’s traditional food heritage and intercultural diversity. 

Watch out for the following ISACS members:


Macnas Parade London 2017 web

Macnas, St. Patrick's Day Parade 2017, London

Check Macnas' ISACS member profile


In Galway, award-winning internationally acclaimed performance and spectacle company Macnas will bring Danú, Goddess of the Divine and Dark: brutal and beautiful warrior and mother, hallowed and holy, out on to the streets, alongside the Macnas Young Ensemble led by James Riordan, as well as a team of musicians led by Macnas musical director Orlagh De Bhaldraithe.

Galway Community Circus


GalwayCommunityCircus Claire Sheehan Photography

Galway Community Circus, St. Patrick's Day Parade 2017. Photo: Claire Sheehan Photography

Check Galway Community Circus' ISACS member profile

This year Galway Community Circus' kiddos' theme for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is Harry Potter! The unicycle club will be playing a Quidditch match, the stilts clubs will be fantastic beasts and the family circus will be magic dishes/beings. All the volunteers will be teachers from 'Galwarts'!

Route Map:

parade route galway


Waterford St Patrick's Day Parade celebrates Vadrafjord Viking heritage

Spraoi Graham Cullen Dublin5

Spraoi, St. Patrick's Day Parade 2017. Photo: Grahame Cullen Photography

Date and Time: Saturday 17th 1 pm - 2 pm

For the 2018 Waterford City St Patrick's Day Parade, the Vikings will once again walk the streets of Ireland's Oldest City. Embracing the history and heritage of Vadrafjord (Waterford), the parade theme for 2018 is titled "Our Viking heritage".

Watch out for the following ISACS members:



Waterford based

Spraoi Graham Cullen Dublin3

Spraoi, St. Patrick's Day Parade 2017. Photo: Grahame Cullen Photography

Check Spraoi's ISACS member profile

In Spraoi hometown, Waterford, the company pays tribute to its Viking roots with their own giant Viking along with a cast of twenty costumed performers. 

Buí Bolg - Outdoor Arts

Wexford based

Bui bolg St. Patricks Day Parade Waterford 2017

Bui Bolg, St. Patrick's Day Parade 2017. Photo: Colin Shanahan - DigiCol Photography and Media Productions 

Check Bui Bolg's ISACS member profile

This year, Bui Bolg brings back to Waterford their Viking God with a towering animated 4.5 meters sculpture mounted on a floating base of... Thor the thunder and lighting God in Norse mythology!

Map Route:

waterford stpatricksday parade route 2018

The Circus is coming to Lisgould, Athlone, Kilkenny, Dublin and Paris!


Wobbly Circus in Lisgould and Athlone!

wobbly barbles

View Wobbly Circus' ISACS profile

Watch out for Wobbly Circus at the local community run St Patrick’s Parade in Lisgould, County Cork this year and circus performers in the Athlone St Patrick’s Day Parade including Barbles the Strongman, Imperioso The Shire Horse & the wonderful Boggle!

Fanzini and Will Flanagan in Kilkenny!

Kilkenny Post parade entertainment will take place in various locations throughout the city with appearances from well-known names in the entertainment world such as the Fanzini Brothers, Foxy P.Cox, Will Flannagan on stilts and unicycle and many more special guests from contortionists to comedians and jugglers to jiggers!

View Fanzini Productions' ISACS Profile

BrideyBridey Marion Cronin Kim Mc Cafferty Ennis2017 Fanzini Productions small


Tom Campbell and at the Centre Irlandais in Paris!

ISACS members Jack Wise and Tom Campbell bring their circus and street arts skills to Paris Irish Cultural Centre on Paddy's Day!

On the menu, ventriloquism and amazing magic tricks by Jack Wise, one of Ireland’s best magicians!

Check Jack Wise's ISACS profile

JackWiseSwordSwallower AerialCLR

Artist and street performer Tom Campbell will also perform his N.E.S.T. (New Emerging Street Talents) piece 'Clayman' for Paris, and offer additional exhibits and entertainments. 

View Tom Campbell's ISACS profile


View Full programme


Ireland: all parades and themes!

You can find more information about all parades across the country thanks to this small Guide on St Patrick Day Parades

Also not to be missed:

  • Bui Bolg's 'Big Dream' work in Dundalk for the Credit Union with giant inflatable rainbow arch and a cityspace float!
  • Gap Arts Festival puppets in Gorey and Carnew which making was facilitated by Dunn Creates as part of Wexford County Council Artist in the Community Scheme.


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Irish Street Arts Circus and Spectacle Network

Irish Theatre Institute, 17 Eustace St, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland
00 353 (0)87 0541812 info@isacs.ie
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