March 17th 2018 saw the very first St. Patrick´s Day Festival in Valencia. It was a great event for all involved. The event was held in the Turia Riverbed under the bridge at the Alameda metro stop. The event kicked off at 11am with a meet and greet of several generations of Irish people and friends of Ireland. Guests were treated to a hot bowl of traditional Irish Beef Stew and crackers loaded with Ballymaloe relish and Kerrygold cheese. Kids drew and coloured Shamrocks and Irish flags while others got their faces painted and while all of this was going on the traditional Irish musicians were belting out the tunes! At approximately 12pm we gathered together and followed our St.Patrick´s Day banner around the parade route. We waved our mini Irish flags with pride and revelled in the banter of the Valencian Falleros and Felleras as they cheered us on from on top of the bridges.
As we returned to our starting point we took our places to take part in Valencia´s first giant outdoor Céilí (traditional Irish dancing). This started off with a guided walk through the steps so that everybody could get involved. Then the musicians started playing and the dancers sprung into action. Smiles burst onto peoples faces as they tried to remember the steps. This was a fantastic way for all to get involved and have a bit of craic!
When people caught their breath after the Céilí, the San Vicent GAA club put on a display of Gaelic Football for everyone. It was great to watch our national sport being played in Valencia by many different nationalities – men, women and kids.
As the event came to a close at approximately 2pm the day really turned Irish as the clouds moved in and the rain came down!
Can´t wait for next years parade!!
See you there!