St Patrick died on March 17, 461 AD.
… In 461 AD and each year tens of thousands of people around the world continue to celebrate his life. If that isn’t a life goal, we don’t know what is. Whether you're Irish, a foreigner visiting Ireland, of Irish descent, or just enjoy a good party; St Patrick’s Day is one holiday you don’t want to miss.
St Patrick’s history is muddled up with folklore and legend, making it all the more interesting, in our opinion. Many historians believe he was born in Britain but was kidnapped as a teenager and sold as a slave into Ireland. Don’t worry. He eventually escaped and returned home to Britain. However, he was drawn back to Ireland and is credited with bringing Christianity to its people.
So, how does one celebrate St Paddy’s Day? You’ll need somewhere to celebrate and lots of the colour green. Why green? Well, it looks good on everyone (at least, we think so). It’s the colour of nature. It’s the colour that represents peace, balance, and regeneration. It’s the colour that represents Ireland, the Emerald Isle. And, most of all, it’ll prevent you from getting pinched on St Patrick’s Day (since green supposedly hides you from the Leprechauns, the tricksters).
There are a few reasons for wearing green on this most anticipated of holidays, but the most important choice is where will you celebrate?
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you are. According to records, the first St Patrick’s Day was actually held in America in 1601. But if you want to go big, you need to celebrate in Ireland alongside the locals.
Assuming no more world-wide plagues and parade cancellations get in our way, here is a list of our top recommendations of where to celebrate this most green and festive holiday in 2023.
Heading to Ireland’s capital is a no-brainer. While the main parade will take place on the 17th March, you can get the most out of the celebration by coming a few days before when some smaller events begin.
The main event begins in Parnell Square where you can expect lots of colour, loud music, incredible floats, and performers. No St Patrick’s Day is complete without some Guinness, so when the parade is done, be sure to head for a pub. Dublin’s Temple Bar is where a lot of the action happens. Locals and visitors alike can be found partying for hours in the streets surrounding this iconic spot.
Basically, if you're looking for an all-out party, head to Dublin.
A modern-day celebration with a medieval spin. If grand castles and medieval architecture are your thing (as well as big parties and lots of Guinness), then Kilkenny might just be the choice for you.
Kilkenny prides itself on its days-long epic celebration of St Patrick’s Festival Kilkenny. In 2022, the festival went for 6 days and welcomed over 100,000 people. In 2023, you can join in on their 5 days of fun and entertainment in the medieval city.
Dingle’s St Patrick’s claim to fame is that they get going earlier than anyone on that fated date 17th March. Surrounded by stunning seaside cliffs, beautiful beaches and those emerald green hills, Dingle is a stunning place to celebrate... even at 6am. Yes, they start that early on the date in question, so make sure you get a good night’s sleep before (and after).
The Dingle Fife and Drum Band start off the day strong by marching through the streets. It’s the wake-up call you didn’t know you needed. And once you’ve had your fill of entertainment, head on inside to any of the pubs for a pint or two.
“It comes in pints?! I’m getting one.”
Being Ireland’s second-largest city, you’re in for a big ol’ party in Cork. But what’s so great about it is that if you suddenly change your mind and want something a bit more low-key, you can head 30 minutes outside of the city centre to a little town called Dripsey. They’re known for hosting the world’s shortest St Paddy’s Day parade, travelling a tiny 100 yards.
Cork itself is a fantastic place to visit, perfect for art and history lovers, not to mention it’s known as the food capital of Ireland. That’s all we need to know. Food, Guinness, several days of celebrations... what more could you want?
The key to a good holiday is balance. The cities of Ireland are great, especially around St Patrick’s Day, but you can’t plan a trip to Ireland without seeing the gorgeous landscapes. Letterkenny is a fantastic spot for both. The city itself is full of history, culture and life. On top of that, partake in their annual St Patrick’s Day Parade. The event draws plenty of visitors as well as locals.
And with just a short drive you can visit Glenveagh National Park, Ireland’s second largest national park at 16,500 hectares. Mountains, loughs, castles – it's all within reach.
So, as they say in Ireland, it’s time for a good craic. And you’re bound to have a good time during a St Paddy’s Day celebration.
We’re even running a couple of our tours in March 2023 (our 3-day Discover Northern Ireland tour and our 3-day Dingle, Killarney & the Wild Atlantic Way tour), so you are more than welcome to come explore Ireland with us and even possibly time your trip to celebrate St Patrick’s Day while you’re visiting the Emerald Isle.