St Patrick's Day in Dublin is the greenest day of the year - which is saying something in a country as green as Ireland. Always held on March 17, the national holiday traditionally honours the country's national saint but, of course, has grown into a much bigger celebration. That's certainly true of Ireland's capital. Read on for our visitor's guide to spending St Patrick's Day in Dublin.
What to Expect on St Patrick's Day in Dublin
St Patrick's Day in Dublin is busy, to put it mildly. This is one of the most popular times of the year for visitors and the city sees a huge influx of travellers at this time. Hotels fill up, pubs are generally overflowing and restaurants tend to be a lot busier than usual.
You'll need to book everything well in advance if you want to go to Dublin for St Patrick's Day, especially your accommodation, as the city's hotels tend to be snapped up early.
St. Patrick's Day Parade (2013) In Dublin Was Excellent But The Weather And The Turnout Was Disappointing by William Murphy -CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/) - https://www.flickr.com/photos/infomatique/8565374837/
The St Patrick's Festival is a full weekend of festivities and Irish culture. The main event is the St Patrick's Day Parade, which is held on March 17. The parade features dancers and performers wearing elaborate costumes, huge floats, marching bands and parade groups from around the world.
The parade route covers the entire city, but starts at Parnell Sq, where a grandstand is set up (you can book tickets for this). You don't have to buy tickets to see the parade elsewhere - you can join other visitors that line up along the parade route across Dublin and watch it for free.
Live music is a huge part of the St Patrick's Festival. Concerts by celebrated Irish artists and traditional musicians are held throughout. Do note that many of the most sought-after gigs require you to purchase advance tickets - so if you're keen to see a particular band, book early.
Further events include art exhibitions, performances, culture trails and literature events - all with an emphasis on Irish heritage and culture.
By infomatique - https://www.flickr.com/photos/infomatique/5534399095/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58268921Where to Stay for St Patrick's Day in Dublin
There is no trick to choosing a Dublin hotel for St Patrick's Day - if you book far enough in advance, you'll have your pick. If you want to be near the action, stay somewhere in the city centre close to the parade route.
It's worth remembering, though, that the city centre gets (and stays) very crowded, and revelry becomes more rambunctious as the day and evening wears on. So, if you prefer a good night's rest, you might want to pick a place to stay that's slightly farther away from the city centre.
Hotels in Dublin fill up very early and very quickly for St Patrick's Day. You need to begin booking several months in advance, and even up to a year beforehand if you want your pick of the best places to stay.
Prices also go up for accommodation in Dublin during St Patrick's Day, but, to reiterate, booking as far in advance as possible will help you secure the best deal.
The parade is one of the main highlights for St Patrick's Day. it starts at 10am but you need to arrive up to several hours beforehand if you want to find a good viewing spot. The parade route is 2.5km long.
It starts at Parnell Sq on the north side of Dublin city centre, and progresses via O'Connell St, a wide avenue with a lot of good viewpoints. It crosses the River Liffey and then proceeds up Westmoreland St and west onto Dame St, which is another long and wide street that makes a good place for viewing.
The parade lasts about two hours in total, and most people head straight for the pubs afterwards. Dame St and Westmoreland St are good places to watch the parade if you plan to visit pubs in Temple Bar, but be warned, these get very crowded. If you want to avoid crowds of drinkers, your best bet is to watch the parade on O'Connell St and then find a quieter northside pub to drink in.
St. Patrick's Day In Dublin by William Murphy - CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/) - https://www.flickr.com/photos/infomatique/4441733785/Best St Patrick's Day Pubs in Dublin
The best pubs to drink in on St Patrick's Day in Dublin? It's no easy choice - they're all charming in their own way - and, unsurprisingly, usually full to the brim.
The Temple Bar district on the south side of the city centre is Dublin's traditional nightlight district, so always a good choice.
There are also a lot of pubs, bars and restaurants on South Great George's St, which is easy to reach from the parade route at Dame St.
On the north side, look for pubs near Capel St and Smithfield Sq, which may be a touch quieter. Either way, do not expect to find a quiet place to read the newspaper in any Dublin pub on St Patrick's Day. It's a day for merriment rather than relaxation!
Dublin is a 'tidy size' and easily walkable, especially if you're staying in the city centre. Dublin's public transport generally operates on a slightly reduced Sunday timetable during the St Patrick's Festival. The Luas's green line on the north side of the city also runs to very limited stations, as most of its city-centre stations are within the parade route. Buses generally operate a Sunday schedule as well, though some city-centre routes are rerouted due to the parade. There's also Nitelink bus services through Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights during St Patrick's Day weekend.
Find somewhere to stay by checking out our hotels in Dublin.
Cover pic: Dublin 2012 - St. Patrick's Day Parade by William Murphy - CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/) - https://www.flickr.com/photos/infomatique/6845071888