St Patrick’s Day in Ireland

There’s really no better place to spend St Patrick’s Day than Ireland. The annual holiday falls on March 17th and the day is celebrated around the world by Irish people, their descendants and anyone who loves a good party, really! If you fall into any of those categories and plan to spend St Patrick’s Day 2020 in Ireland, we have everything you need to know in one place to plan your trip.

The best St Patrick’s Day parades and events in Ireland 2020

There are parades all over Ireland on St Patrick’s Day. The biggest is in Dublin, the capital city, but there are hundreds of other parades and festivals in cities, towns and villages around the country.

St Patrick’s Festival Dublin

The parade in the capital draws the largest crowds by far. It’s estimated about half a million people come out to watch this parade every year. Street theatre groups, marching bands and organisations with Irish links travel from all over the country and around the world to participate. Each year the parade has a different theme that inspires the many floats and street performers meandering their way through the city.

The parade is the main event of an almost week-long festival celebrating Irish culture and tradition, old and new. On a St Patrick’s Day vacation to Dublin, you can also enjoy historical tours, contemporary art, music, songs and storytelling from times long past to today. While you’re in the capital, don’t forget to check out some of the most instagrammable places in Dublin.

Parades in other towns and cities

There are parades in every major town and city around the country including Cork, Galway, Limerick and Kilkenny. If you find yourself in any of these places you’ll be entertained by some of the country’s best street performers, bands and businesses who all work together to create a parade full of craic and colour for all the family.

Unique St Patrick’s Day parades in Ireland

If you’re looking for something different for St Patrick’s Day or if you’ve been to the festival in Dublin before, there are a number of unique St Patrick’s Day parades across the country. Some of the most famous are:

The Shortest St Patrick’s Day Parade – Dripsey, Co. Cork

Just a 25-yard route from one pub to another!

The Earliest Parade – Dingle, Co. Kerry

Join revellers at 6am for a torch-lit St Patrick’s day parade through this beautiful Irish town.

Most Random Parade – Keshcarrigan, Co. Leitrim

This small Leitrim village has become renowned for its unique and different St Patrick’s Day parades. There are different themes most years from short parades to indoor parades to the infamous ‘invisible parade’. While the parade in this small village will not have the pomp, ceremony, color or pageantry of its bigger counterparts you can be assured the craic will be mighty.


Tips for attending a parade on St Patrick’s Day in Ireland

Arrive early

If you’re attending a parade in one of the bigger towns or cities arrive at least an hour before the parade is due to start to secure a good vantage point. If you’re attending a parade in a small town or village you can reduce this to 15 minutes before the start time!

Research the parade route

Most of the bigger parades will publish their routes online. If you want a good vantage point or have young children with you, consider staying away from the main thoroughfares to get a better view.

Dress for the weather – any weather!

There is no typical St Patrick’s day weather in Ireland. Some years the mercury can be close to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, great for a spring day in Ireland. Others it can still feel like winter with wind, rain and sometimes snow. Our advice? Dress in layers and check the weather forecast regularly.

Wear something green

Did you know blue is the traditional color of St Patrick? But the shamrock and link to Ireland’s green fields have meant today’s festival is all about the wearing of the green. You’ll find shamrock buttonholes for sale in the days up to St Patrick’s Day but many people simply choose to wear a green item of clothing, a hat or scarf on the day.

Have a seat for young/older members of your group

If you are bringing your family to see the parade, it is worth having a stroller for the younger members and a folding stool for older members. Attending a St Patrick’s day parade involves a lot of standing!

Have a good breakfast

Never underestimate the importance of a good breakfast on St Patrick’s Day. You’re likely to do lots of walking and standing. Enjoy a full Irish breakfast in almost any hotel or café across the country. If you’d prefer a healthier option, many cafés and restaurants offer brunch with a wide variety of choice.

Bring drinks and snacks

Cities and towns will be very busy on St Patrick’s Day. Stop into a supermarket and stock up on drinks and snacks to keep you going through a busy day. If you want to eat dinner out, try to book a table in advance.

Have fun!

Last but by no means least, enjoy yourself! St Patrick’s Day is a wonderful day in Ireland. No matter where you find yourself, soak up the atmosphere, enjoy the street theatre, live music and good food that should be easy to find.


Restaurants for St Patrick’s Day

Although Ireland is a very eclectic country when it comes to dining options, on St Patrick’s Day it’s nice to go back to basics and enjoy some good quality traditional Irish food. We’ve chosen some of the best dining experiences in Dublin to enjoy a St Patrick’s Day meal:

L. Mulligan Grocer 

Renowned for its excellent, locally sourced quality Irish food, Mulligan Grocer provides a traditional Irish bar setting with a selection of difficult to find craft beers. Not one to miss on any trip to Dublin.

The Chop House

This gastro-pub with bistro-style restaurant is popular with locals and visitors. Off the beaten track, it’s somewhere to go if Temple Bar gets too much!

F.X. Buckley

If you love a good steak, this is where you should eat on St Patrick’s Day in Ireland. It’s definitely one to book early – it’s central location makes it extremely popular. Expect friendly staff with good knowledge of cuts. If you’re staying in self-catering accommodation, visit the original FX Buckley’s butchers on Moore Street where you’ll find one of the most authentic traditional butchers in the city.

Hatch and Son

Enjoy a breakfast inspired by the south east at this eatery on St Stephen’s Green. Known for its delicious blaa (a kind of bread roll from Co. Waterford), great coffee and delicious deserts – there’s nowhere nicer to grab a bite on a St Patrick’s weekend trip to Ireland.

Gallagher’s Boxty House

If you love to try local specialties when you travel, look no further than Gallagher’s Boxty House in Temple Bar. Boxty is a potato-based pancake or dumpling. Traditionally served with an Irish fry, the good folks at Boxty House have fused them with many other delicious dishes.

The Hairy Lemon

The Hairy Lemon is a much-loved pub that is famous for serving some of the best Dublin coddle in the city. What better way to warm up on a cold St Patrick’s Day than with a bowl of this bacon and sausage stew.

There are also a plethora of hidden gem restaurants around Dublin to enjoy. No matter where you choose we have no doubt you’ll find a friendly welcome and delicious food.

St Patrick’s Day Recipes to try at home

Bring the taste of Ireland home by trying some easy traditional Irish foods with ingredients that shouldn’t be too hard to find:

Irish Soda bread

Quick and easy with no messing around with yeast, this traditional Irish bread by Donal Skehan will have your home smelling delicious in no time. We recommend serving while still warm with butter or adding cream cheese and smoked salmon when it has cooled for a delicious treat.


Beef and Guinness Casserole

Flavorsome and delicious, this casserole will be a hit whether you’re a fan of Guinness or not. An easy mid-winter dinner, it’s a great option for a crockpot too.

Irish Barmbrack

If you’re looking for a sweet treat, particularly in the fall, this is the recipe for you. Barmbrack is a sweet fruitcake containing lots of dried fruit. Most commonly served around Halloween, it is delicious at any time of the year. Serve in generous slices with butter when it’s fresh. After a day or so, toasting it gently will keep it tasting delicious!


So whether you take in a parade, or just enjoy some Irish food or drink while spending quality time with your family, a vacation to Ireland for St Patrick’s day is a wonderful way to mark the beginning of Spring.


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