The Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh, Cardinal Seán Brady, is to be a special guest at the upcoming 8th Limerick Choral Festival.
This year's event has attracted more than 40 choirs from all parts of the country, including, for the first time, participants from Northern Ireland, with Saint Paul's High School in Newry travelling to Limerick for the festival.
Speaking at the launch, festival organiser Joe O'Connor said that for the first time ever, “we have choirs from the North, which we are very happy about, because we are hoping it will develop into an international festival by 2015.”
Among the prominent Church choirs taking part are Our Lady Queen of Peace Choir, Limerick Gospel Choir, Glenstal Abbey and Saint Mary's Church choir.
This year also, Saint Mary's Cathedral Choir from Killarney will take part in the event for the first time.
However, Joe O'Connor said that he hoped that more church choirs would take part over the coming years.
“We would like to see more church choirs taking part because it was originally founded as a church music festival and we are still very much trying to develop that aspect of it.”
The Archbishop of Armagh will lead the celebration of Solemn Vespers with the combined choirs of the festival in Saint Joseph's Church on Saturday March 3 at 5:00pm.
It is also expected that Cardinal Brady will present the main church choir of the year award.
The festival runs from March 2 to 4 in Saint Joseph's, The Redemptorists and Augustinians.
More information on the choral festival can be found at www.limerickchoralfestival.com.