Celebrate Ireland’s National Day On The Island

A global celebration paying homage to Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland showcases the rich culture, history and of the Emerald Isle through spirited activities including parades, concerts and cultural exhibitions

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Published: Fri 17 Mar 2023, 12:08 PM

With Ireland’s biggest festival on the horizon, Ireland’s towns and cities are gearing up for the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations on March 17. The Island of Ireland will host an eclectic array of activities for people of all ages and walks of life including parades, food festivals, musical performances and cultural exhibitions; immersing guests further into the rich culture and heritage of the Emerald Isle.

For those looking for a St. Patrick’s Day experience closer to nature, Ireland’s captivating landscape provides the perfect setting to embark on outdoor adventures across mountainous terrains, beaches, forests and lakes. Hiking trails rooted in history such as the St Patrick’s Pilgrim Walk in Co. Armagh, will serve as a window to Ireland’s past.

Fabulous festivals will take place in cities from Armagh in the north down to Cork in the south, Galway in the west, with the biggest and most flamboyant celebration taking place in Dublin.

St. Patrick’s Festival – Dublin

St. Patrick’s Festival is a three-day festival taking place in Ireland’s capital from 16-19 March, curated around a theme this year of ‘One’, issuing an open invite to people from all over the world to come to the city to share, to connect, to participate and to celebrate together as one.

One of the key highlights from the festival is the world-famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade on the 17 March with an opening pageant featuring an interactive AR element in the parade for the very first time. New in this year’s celebrations, is the ‘Suntas!’ a city-wide exhibition – meaning ‘take notice’ in Irish. ‘Suntas!’ will feature giant, creative interventions on iconic buildings around Dublin, adding layers of storytelling and intrigue and animating the city in the run-up to the Festival. Ollphéist – giant serpent-like monsters in Irish folklore – will take over some of the city’s best-known buildings. Visible by day and illuminated by night, the pageant participants on Parade Day will interact with them in an epic battle between good and evil.

The festival will also feature a robust programme of events at Festival Quarter at the iconic National Museum of Ireland Collins Barracks, including the very best in music, dance, circus, conversation, spectacle, food and drinks and other events taking place throughout the vibrant city, St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin is not one to be missed.

Ireland’s other cities and towns will host numerous other parades with a whimsical carnival atmosphere. Visitors can expect lively music flooding the streets, beautiful art exhibitions, comedy shows, dance performances, relaxing walks and engaging talks, and more.

The ‘wearing of the green’ tradition will be front and centre, with people donning green clothes, green wigs, green face paint and bunches of shamrock to proudly mark their Irish identity. Traditional Irish music will spill out from every corner in the land and on many corners, people can be found dancing on the streets to the beat of the music.

The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin City
The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin City
The Merrion Hotel, The Garden Room Restaurant, Dublin City.
The Merrion Hotel, The Garden Room Restaurant, Dublin City.

Cultural activities and exhibitions

For an educational look into the story of the saint and his legacy in Ireland, visitors may visit the only permanent exhibition dedicated to St Patrick in the world: the St. Patrick Centre in County Down. Having recently undergone a major refurbishment, the exhibition now features state-of-the-art interactive audio-visual presentations to guide guests through the saint’s life.

West Inishbofin Harbour, Inishbofin, Connemara, Co Galway.
West Inishbofin Harbour, Inishbofin, Connemara, Co Galway.
Dumhach Beach, Inishbofin, Connemara, Co Galway.
Dumhach Beach, Inishbofin, Connemara, Co Galway.
West Quarter Loop, Inishbofin, Connemara, Co Galway.
West Quarter Loop, Inishbofin, Connemara, Co Galway.

Outdoor activities

Not too far from the St. Patrick Centre is St. Patrick’s Pilgrim Walk, which passes through important sites in Patrick’s story and provides but one of many opportunities to follow in the footsteps of the saint across the island.

Popular St. Patrick’s Day activities in Northern Ireland involve climbing Slemish mountain in County Antrim – which is the location that the saint is said to have tended sheep – and walking the St. Patrick’s Way: The Pilgrim Walk – which is a 131 kilometre trail connecting key sites relating to St. Patrick and Christian Heritage in some of Northern Ireland’s most spectacular scenic landscapes before ending at St. Patrick’s final resting place, in the grounds of Down Cathedral in Downpatrick.

Culinary highlights

Travellers don’t need to walk historical trails to find adventure in Ireland as some may find that the perfect St. Patrick’s Day celebration is a meal with friends to enjoy some traditional Irish fare. This might feature seafood chowder, coddle (a traditional potato and sausage stew), wild Atlantic salmon, slow roasted lamb or colcannon (potatoes, dairy and cabbage).

The island of Ireland is quickly gaining a reputation for culinary excellence, and chefs up and down the country are bringing innovation to traditional Irish recipes using the freshest local ingredients. So if home cooking isn’t on visitors’ menus, a night out in a restaurant is the ideal way to celebrate the day with fine food. Visitors may cap off their evening with an Irish coffee and the traditional toast of sláinte (health) or Beannachtam na Feile Padraig! (Happy St. Patrick’s Day!).

Where to Stay

In Ireland’s capital, luxury hotels such as The Conrad Hotel and The Merrion Hotel and The Shelbourne Hotel are perfect for those looking to get as close as possible to the jovial atmosphere of St. Patrick’s Festival.

For those looking for a more rustic experience, away from the hustle and bustle of city life, Blackwell House in Co. Armagh is the perfect escape and launchpad from which to explore Ireland’s quaint countryside.

For more information, visit: www.ireland.com

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