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Paint the Town Green at the St Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin

Published by Bill Lehane, Writer

Country: Ireland

The Experience

The St Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland is a unique event that unites locals and visitors in a carnival atmosphere of music, dancing and partying; and leaves the world green with envy. Expanded in recent years from a one-day holiday to a six-day event, the St Patrick's Festival brings people together from all over the world to celebrate all things Irish. The centrepiece of the Festival is, of course, the St Patrick's Day Parade; an event that has been copied the world over.

The 1.5 mile St Patrick's Day Parade route winds its way from Parnell Square on the city's north side, down O'Connell Street (the city's main thoroughfare), past the Spire of Dublin, over the River Liffey and up to Trinity College, before heading down historic Dame Street to finish at St Patrick's Cathedral. On March 17th each year, crowds in excess of half a million people line these streets to see thousands of dancers, marching bands, musicians and other performers; as well as parade floats of every colour. The six-day St Patrick's Festival programme is packed with many other events, including street theatre, traditional and contemporary Irish music, dance, comedy, film, a treasure hunt, Irish language events, and all kinds of spectacles for family fun.

Keep an eye out for the National Lottery Skyfest, Ireland's biggest and best fireworks display which lights up a different town or city each year during the St Patrick's Festival. Families will be sure to enjoy the Big Day Out, in which Merrion Square, one of the city's prettiest enclosed parks, is transformed into a gigantic play area made up of ten different family-fun zones. City slickers will want to head down to the up-and-coming Docklands area where street performances and many cosmopolitan bars, cafés and restaurants offer a night to remember by the edge of the River Liffey. Culture fans have a host of different events to enjoy around the capital during the St Patrick's Festival, with film screenings, traditional Irish concerts and comedy nights.

No trip to the St Patrick's Day Parade would be complete without visiting one of the city's many traditional pubs. Visitors are sure to find a venue packed with good music, good people and good craic (fun) around a pint of the famous black stuff.

When to Go to St Patricks Parade Dublin

St Patrick's Festival is the busiest week of the year for tourism in Dublin, so be sure to book flights and accommodation well in advance. Seventy-eight different airlines from around the world fly to Dublin Airport, the country's main airport hub. Check online to get the cheapest deals. Transport from the airport is straightforward, with dedicated Aircoach buses offering direct transfers to the city and principal hotels for €12 (US$18) return. Getting around the city centre itself is best done by a combination of light rail, bus, train and on foot, depending on your destination. If you're planning to rent a car during your stay, be aware that hire and fuel costs are above average, and there is plenty of traffic!

Odds n' Ends

Spring comes late in Ireland, so come with plenty of layers and expect rain showers. The 2009 St Patrick's Day Parade took place under bright sunshine, but this was certainly an exception!

If you're bringing a Blackberry or other Java-enabled mobile phone, you can download an interactive events guide with venues, times and ticket prices directly from the St Patrick's Festival website at no extra cost.

To get the best view of the St Patrick's Day Parade, you can book Grand Stand seats at the starting point on Parnell Square. The seats, which are set up each year outside Dublin City Gallery, offer the perfect vantage point for all the bands, floats and dancers. Tickets are €60 each from the St Patrick's Festival website.

Carpe Diem! Book to do this experience now!

3 nights in Dublin for St Patrick’s Festival, Guinness Storehouse Ticket PLUS a day tour into the lush garden of Ireland
Starting from $300.00 per person.
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