Celebrating Saint-Patrick’s Day the Irish Way

Ah, Saint Patrick’s Day. A day once used in the 17th century to quietly commemorate the life and death of Saint Patrick himself, the foremost patron saint of Ireland and the utmost symbol of Christianity. Today, however, we’ve turned this pleasant day into a universal celebration featuring street parades, pub crawls and a whole lot of drinking. While the United States dye the Chicago River an emerald green, France light up the Sacré-Coeur bright mint, and Rio de Janeiro turn Christ the Redeemer a shamrock green but nowhere, and we mean nowhere, does it better than the Emerald Isle itself. Welcome to Saint Patrick’s Day the Irish way. Below we’ve listed three of the best Irish cities to spend March 17th in so don your green, line your stomach and prepare for a rip-roaring celebration.  


Photo by Diogo Palhais on Unsplash

We’re going to kick things off in Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland and a mighty fine place to celebrate Saint Pats. The festivities in the capital actually start early on the 15th and continue through until the 19th turning what was once a single day of frivolity into a five-day party. The main event is the St Patrick’s Festival Parade which takes place on Saturday 17th and starts at noon in Parnell Square. Here you’ll stand idly by as a mass parade of marching bands, dancers, performers, and giant puppets pass along the two-mile route. Make sure you’re covered in face paint, wearing a leprechaun top hat, and have at least one pint of Guinness in hand. Other must-do activities include learning to Irish dance at the Festival Céilí on the 16th; this is the world’s largest outdoor Céilí and shouldn’t be missed. Drinking at Temple Bar, a popular riverside area lined with some of the cities most frequented pubs. And taking a walking tour around the cities iconic landmarks, including St Patrick’s Cathedral, Trinity College, and the Mansion House, all of which will be green-lit.

Buses to Dublin: Main bus companies and route

Traveling to Dublin by bus and coach is a lot less expensive than traveling by train or by plane. Also, the journey across the beautiful Irish landscape will provide you with an opportunity to discover the scenery as well as relax.

If you’ll be taking the bus to and from Dublin, you can travel with companies such as CitylinkGobus.ieBus EireannNational Express, and Dublin Bus.

Citylink and GoBus have nationwide coverage, so you can travel to and from Dublin and cities such as Galway, Limerick, and Cork.

With Bus Eireann and National Express, you can also travel internationally to the UK to places like London, Manchester, and Birmingham.


View of typical colorful Cork houses
Typical colorful Cork houses

The university city of Cork sits on the southwest coast of Ireland and is home to medieval ruins, hipster cafes and a whole host of lively pubs to boot. It’s also a great place to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day thanks to the annual parade featuring live music, Irish pageantry, and colorful, traditional, costumes. The parade kicks off at 1pm and runs from the South Mall to the Grande Parade, finishing at Merchant’s Quay. Unlike Dublin, Cork’s parade is a lot more family-friendly and a bit tamer but fear not; there’s plenty of raucous pubs to visit and bar tables to dance on. If you’re looking for live music head to Crane Lane, this large pub has a buzzing atmosphere and will be packed full of Paddy’s day revelers. For a taste of Ireland’s seasonal dishes head to Oliver Plunkett and grab yourself a bowl of hot Irish Stew. For a quick Irish jig on the dance floor head to Reardens, this crowded pub has a whole weekend of Paddy’s Day festivities lined up including free beer and live music!


View of Galway houses across a river
Galway is the city to be in for an extravagant Saint-Patrick’s Day parade.

This year the Bohemian city of Galway was recognized as a European Capital of Culture, which in short means the 2020 parade is going to be extra tasty. Expect local vendors to set up stalls throughout the town selling local Irish fair and traditional dishes including the classic Irish stew, Boxty potato pancakes, and tasty lamb casserole. What more could you want? Food aside, the city puts on a great parade which begins at 11:30 am at Father Griffin Road and passes over O’Brien’s Bridge coming to an end at Prospect Hill. After enjoying the parade head over to Quay Street and take your pick at the number of pubs and bars that line the alley. Make sure you end the night at Tig Cóilí a traditional, family-run, Irish pub that enjoys a good sing-a-long late into the evening.

This post was written by Hannah Hilton, a UK-based freelance travel writer, and keen photographer. Check out Hannah’s adventures on her website, and follow her on Instagram.