Travel inspiration and insider tips

St Patricks Day

5 years, 24 days ago

St. Patrick’s Day Parties 2015

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No one knows how to party like the Irish know how to party. So it’s no surprise when St. Patrick’s Day rolls round, anyone who’s ever been close to a pint of Guinness is claiming links to the ‘auld country’ and digging up flimsy Celtic heritage. Not that you need ancestry to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day: Norway shamelessly throws back the black stuff and ceilidhs Scandi style to ‘strengthen relations with Ireland’ apparently – who even knew tensions existed?

There’s just no getting away from March 17th or  – depending on where you are – March 14th, 15th and 16th. And why would you want to? If everywhere from Riga to the Aran Islands is giving it large in homage to Ireland’s saintly big cheese, we’re in. But before you break out the facepaint and tune up your Bodrum here are a few places that have been doing St. Patrick’s Day probably since the man himself was around to sculpt a shamrock in the head of a Guinness. If it’s your first time at the festivities you might want to take notes.

Dublin March 14th – March 17th

St Patrick's Day parade in Dublin

St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin

If you’re keen to initiate yourself in true spirit of St. Patrick you have to begin where it all begins, Dublin. This is the only place on earth that’s really allowed to take a National Holiday on March 17th.. And it’s about the only city where you can celebrate the saint and you don’t have to fake any Irish as an excuse – no one’s going to believe you anyway, so just leave it at the door.

The mother of all St. Patrick’s Day Parades basically closes down Dublin’s streets on March 17th and it’s worth every second of disruption. Some of the floats have been three years in the making, there’s music, dancing, singing, performing, dressing up and 1000s and 1000s of people getting as close as they can to the action. You can buy Grandstand Tickets for the area around St. Patrick’s Cathedral or you can just go along and grab a spot like most Dubliners are doing on the day.

But for full immersion, the festivities get started on Saturday 14th  – see how long you last. The city has events all over planned from the annual Whisky and Beer Festival to boat races, comedy to ceilidhs … there’s even a marathon.  Or you can just take what comes. Temple Bar will be busier than ever all day and night. The Creative Quarter’s probably going to be just as hectic but a bit more ‘designed’. Traditional pubs (the ones ‘Irish Bars’ the world over wish they were) will be overflowing with stout and party folks. And during the day you should try to catch a few of the Saturday markets and at least one Irish Afternoon Tea (we like Queen of Tarts on Dame Street for obvious reasons).

London, March 15th

London's St Patrick's Day celebrations

London’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations

The Tipperary on Fleet Street is one of the oldest Irish pubs in the world and the first place in England ever to serve Guinness, so London has a bit of history when it comes to St. Patrick’s celebrations. This year the Irish, and anyone else who wants to pretend for the day, are invading Trafalgar Square from 12 noon to 6pm on March 15th. There’s a traditional food market, children’s events, music, dancing and generally partying planned by communities from all over the city and everyone’s welcome. And, if you need a sedate-break, Westminster Cathedral Hall SW1 is having an Irish Tea Dance from 2pm.

New York City, March 17th

The crowds awaiting the parade in New York

The crowds awaiting the parade in New York

It won’t come as a shock to anyone to find out that New York City claims to have the oldest and biggest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the world. It’s 14 year’s older than the Declaration of Independence and it takes a full 6 hours to march up 5th Avenue from 44th to 79th Street …. Clan, by Clan, by Clan, by Clan. It’s a rousing sight no doubt about it and we’re happy to give them dibs on the authenticity, but we’re standing firm on disapproval at the  tradition of ‘affectionally’ calling the Patron Saint of Ireland ‘Saint Patty’. This was a man who took on a country’s worth of snakes and won. Saint Patty? Really?

Oslo, March 17th

And finally how could we not give a shout out to the Norwegians? Oslo’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is 15 year’s old this year and it’s an almost entirely diplomatic affair which has nothing at all to do with drinking gallons of Guinness and having a right old Irish style carry on!

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