Spring is one of the best times to enjoy the Emerald Isle, not least to join in the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations on March 17th.
This national holiday celebrates St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, who was dedicated to spreading the word of Christianity in Ireland until his death in 461AD. He was reputed to have driven out snakes from the island and popularized the shamrock plant by using it to explain the Trinity.
Celebrations throughout Ireland revolve around music, food, drink, and having great ‘craic’ (meaning great ‘fun’). Don’t forget to wear green – Ireland’s national color – to show your appreciation of this national day, but most importantly, relax and enjoy the celebrations and warm welcome on offer, wherever you choose to spend this special day.
Where to Spend the Day?
Ireland’s capital is the ultimate destination for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. This year the 2019 festival is held from March 14-18, offering tours, exhibitions, and talks on Irish culture. The celebrations climax on St. Patrick’s Day itself, with the traditional parade through the city center to showcase the best in Irish street theatre and music.
Check out the parade route map so you can pick which part of the route you’d like to watch the show from on the big day.
You’ll find a celebratory atmosphere throughout the city, with iconic buildings being illuminated green for the duration of the festival. There’s great fun to be had in the many pubs and bars, where you can enjoy traditional Irish music and a welcoming atmosphere. You can even take part in a free outdoor céilí (a traditional group dance) where you can learn Irish dancing steps and enjoy the electric atmosphere.
Discover more about all the festival events being held around the city and embrace all things Ireland for the day.
Head south to the medieval town of Kilkenny and take part in their five-day St. Patrick’s celebrations, called “Tradfest.” Participate in dancing and music workshops, enjoy theatre and concerts, or just take in the festive atmosphere in the magical cobbled streets.
Find out more about what’s on in the official Tradfest program
While you are in Kilkenny, take the opportunity to explore this charming town with its ancient buildings, including the twelfth-century Kilkenny Castle in the city center. It’s worth taking time out of the celebrations to discover the beautiful surrounding countryside, with natural attractions such as the Kilfane Waterfall and Glen typifying Ireland’s stunning beauty.
The town of Killarney in County Kerry nestles on the shores of Lough Leane in south-west Ireland, making it a picturesque setting for its annual St. Patrick’s Festival.
The theme for 2019 is “The Circus,” and you are sure to be enthralled and entertained by street theatre, parades, and performances over the four-day festival. The organizers promise that the streets will be enlivened by the fun and vibrancy of the circus, transforming this usually tranquil town into the backdrop for “The Greatest Show.”
While you are in the area, make the most of Killarney’s superb position for enjoying attractions such as the Ring of Kerry tourist trail, taking in the area’s spectacular scenery, Killarney National Park and the Kerry Way walking trail.
The Killarney Guide will tell you more about the sights of this beautiful area.
If you’re looking for a lively parade and a program of arts events celebrating all things Irish, look no further than the city of Limerick in County Munster. The city’s festival opens with a vibrant fireworks display, with the highlight being the parade of thousands of colorful characters through the city center on St. Patrick’s Day. This year’s theme of “One Giant Leap” commemorates the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, which will surely be reflected in the sights and sounds waiting for you.
Read all the latest news about St. Patrick’s Day in Limerick and what you can spend your day doing:
St. Patrick’s Day in Galway, situated on Ireland’s Atlantic coast, is always a lively event. The parade on March 17 will showcase a host of local and international groups, reflecting the city’s diverse community as well as its traditions. Over the course of the festival, immerse yourself in a series of cultural and musical events, and enjoy the spectacle of the fountain in the famous Eyre Square turning green to celebrate Ireland’s national color.
Galway is worth exploring for its vibrant bars, fascinating museum or simply taking in the stunning panorama of Galway Bay, while the county of Galway is known for its wild natural beauty.
Still in County Galway, but about an hour’s drive from the city of Galway, you will find the coastal town of Clifden. Spending St. Patrick’s Day here will give you a flavor of life away from the main cities of Ireland, while still offering you a festive atmosphere and warm welcome.
A traditional parade will work its way through this picturesque town, preceded by music and entertainment in the Town Square.
Here you will get a sense of the close-knit, traditional community and enjoy the beautiful architecture, pretty streets, and laid-back atmosphere. If you are approaching Clifden from Galway, you will be sure to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the region of Connemara where the town is set. Connemara National Park is easily accessed from Clifden and is a must-do if you are in the area.
Off the beaten track, you’ll find Achill Island, off County Mayo on the west coast of Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day here is a unique experience, with pipe bands from across the island marching throughout the day from 6:00 a.m., coming together at certain points, then heading back to their home villages in the afternoon.
A traditional parade takes place in the village of Achill Sound, and as the day turns into evening, you can enjoy live music in the island’s bars and pubs.
Exploring Achill and the scenery in mainland County Mayo as part of the Wild Atlantic Way trail will be an unforgettable experience, and provide a glimpse into life in this distant – but warm and welcoming – part of Ireland.
Saint Patrick’s Day is one of the most important days on the Irish calendar. Every city has its own characteristics and traditions that makes them unique and worth visiting. Those are just some of our favorite places but there are more to explore.
We at Love Irish Tours, offer several options on private tours and self-drive tours that can be fully customised in order to suit your needs. Why not visit Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day and enjoy a longer vacation to see more of the country? We can help design the best itinerary for you.
Don’t hesitate to contact us with any queries or for any additional information.