It’s exactly a year since “it” happened.

When people across the country were sent to work from home this time last year, very few imagined we would be in the same position a year later.

Likewise, when St Patrick’s Day festivities were cancelled, most imagined we would be well up and running for Paddy’s Day 2021.

Alas we aren’t.

What we all wouldn’t give for a good country town parade. A fleet of vintage cars, tractors, the soccer club, the GAA club and someone in a flatbed truck throwing sweets at you. Bliss!

However, contemplating the “should have beens” will get us nowhere.

Make the most of what we have

Making the very most of what we have, there’s a great line-up of virtual events on offer, with Ireland’s virtual festival running from 12 March to Thursday 17 March (St Patrick’s Day).

The events will be broadcast on an online television channel, St Patrick’s Festival (SPF) TV.

Most events will then be available on their own section of the website, once they have been broadcast.

The programme of events is huge and can accessed

here, as well as a link to SPF TV and dates and times.

Here are some of the highlights.

The RTÉ Virtual Parade

Last year, amid all the uncertainty, RTÉ held a virtual parade. People took to their back gardens and sitting rooms to have their own go at a float or a performance. This year it’s back again.

Last year, #RTEVirtualParade was the number one and number two social trend for much of St Patrick’s Day, including periods as a global trend.

This year, people are asked to share their home parade using the hashtag #RTEVirtualParade on their preferred social platform.

RTÉ will then share some of these virtual parade segments across its platforms.

Trad session

A sure highpoint of this year’s virtual St Patrick’s Day Festival is to be the trad session live stream at 8pm on St Patrick’s night.

Titled The Patrick’s Day Hug - Barróg Lá Fhéile Phádraig, it was pre-recorded at the legendary Dublin music venue Whelan’s. It marks the close of the festival.

It brings together some of the best Irish traditional players and singers including; Lisa O’Neill, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Caoimhe Ní Fhlatharta, Seamus and Ronan Ó Flatharta, Cormac Begley, Doireann and Siún Glackin and Mohammad Syfkhan.

Foil, Arms and Hog

What’s life without a laugh?

Dublin comedy trio Foil, Arms and Hog are getting in on the St Patrick’s Festival action with some specially commissioned sketches for the occasion.

This new material observes Irish people’s attitudes towards St Patrick’s Day.

Foil, Arms and Hog are comedians who make observational sketches about people’s everyday behaviour.

With 114m views on YouTube, some of their most popular pieces include When Irish People Can't Speak Irish, An Englishman Plays Risk, WTF is Brexit and How to Speak Dublin.

Eddie Lenihan

Eddie Lenihan. \ Valerie O'Sullivan

Renowned seanchaí Eddie Lenihan will tell three stories for the celebrations.

Broadcasting four times across the festival, on Saturday and Wednesday he will recount Lee Báns House & The Strange St Patrick's Curse.

On Sunday, How the Faeries Came to Be will air and, on Monday, Weasel.

Eddie is hugely interested in cultural heritage and folklore.

Over the years, he has collected many stories from older people, as well as writing books, presenting television programmes and his own podcast.

Last October, he was on the cover of Irish Country Living.

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