THE LAUNCH of the 2006 Armagh and Down St Patrick's Festival has taken place at Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland.
The festival, which will be managed by Armagh City and District Council and Down District Council, will run from March 10-20.
Organisers chose the Church of Ireland cathedral for the official launch because the remains of St Patrick are believed to be buried in its grounds.
The festival programme was unveiled on St Brigid's Day (February 1). Like her contemporary St Patrick, St Brigid is also a patron saint of Ireland with strong local associations.
The festival will feature inure than 50 events, including concert performances by Blazin' Fiddles and the singer-songwriter Sean Keane.
The centrepiece of the St Patrick's Day celebrations will be the colourful crosscommunity carnival parade in Downpatrick. The parade will be a spectacular 'cavalcade of floats, interspersed with bands playing music from around the world, people in fancy dress, American and custom cars and many other attractions.