Tips for Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Ireland

UPDATE FOR ST. PATRICK’S DAY 2020: The St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin, Ireland has been canceled due to concerns for the public in regards to spread of Covid-19 ( the coronavirus). St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin is cancelled. Find more information here.

what to wear on st patricks day in ireland cailin dressed in green for St Patrick's Day - Tips for Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Ireland

The Irish Princess… 

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Ireland has always been on my bucket list. I wanted to go partly because of my Irish ancestry and partly because I could only imagine how great of a party it would be. Also Dublin is the best place in all of Ireland to celebrate St. Patrick’s day. My trip was an amazing experience and I have created this post to share with you my best tips for Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Ireland.

Best place to watch St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin Cailin in the St Patrick's Day Parade - Tips for Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Ireland

My view of the parade from the double decker bus that I got to ride on IN the parade!!

What time does the St. Patrick’s Day Parade start in Dublin, Ireland?

The St. Patrick’s day parade in Dublin begins on March 17th, 2020 at 10am.

What is the St. Patrick’s day parade route in Dublin, Ireland?

The Parade begins on O’Connell Street by Parnell Square and heads south through the city. Then it crosses the River Liffey onto Westmoreland Street and turns right down Dame Street. In total the parade route is about 2.5kms.

How long is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland?

The St. Patrick’s day parade in Dublin lasts about two hours.

Where is the best place to watch the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin, Ireland?

For the most part the parade goes along two of the major streets in Dublin. O’Connell Street and Dame Street. There isn’t any specific location that has a higher elevation or gives you a better view than the rest. Typically there are more crowds on O’Connell Street though so your best bet for seeing the parade is Dame Street. Whatever you do don’t plan on watching from the bridge over the River Liffey as it can be a tight spot with obstructed views from camera cranes as well.

The Best Tips for Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Ireland:

1. Book everything far in advance

Like with any other big festival around the world like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Carnival in Brazil or Oktoberfest in Germany people plan to visit these events far in advance. Book your flights and accommodations in Dublin as much in advance as possible. (See below for my hotel suggestions.)

2. What to wear on St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland?

The Irish love St. Patrick’s Day and wearing everything green to celebrate. My best tip however is to bring ALL of your green stuff with you. Before you fly to Ireland go shopping and pick up green clothes and accessories. There are many places to buy green things in Dublin but you can probably get them for cheaper at home. Also if you have it in advance you won’t be scrambling at the tourist shops the day of.

3. Plan at least five days in Dublin.

The St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Dublin last longer than just one day. The 17th of March is the traditional holiday but leading up to the big day is the St. Patrick’s Festival. There are so many more things to see and do in the city aside from just drinking and enjoying the parade.

How is st Patricks day celebrated in Dublin a green Christ Church cathedral in dublin - Tips for Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Ireland

Dublin’s Christ Church lit up in green for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities

March 13-17, 2020 St. Patrick’s Festival Events in Dublin

  • Iconic buildings around the city are lit up in green lights each night. Known as “Greening the City”, take a stroll around town and check it out.
  • Have a few tasty bites of food and enjoy some delicious local brews at the the Irish Craft Beer Market.
  • Learn some Irish dancing at the Festival Céilí.
  • Solve clues and puzzles around the city as you explore some of Dublin’s highlights while competing in the St. Patrick’s Festival Treasure Hunt.
  • Take one of many walking tours around the city. My favourite was the food walking tour I did with Fab Food Trails.
  • Walk the streets and catch a street performers show or a busker doing something crazy and entertaining.
  • Watch the Irish University boat races on the river Liffey.
  • Burn off some Guinness in a 5k run on March 18th if you aren’t too hung over.
  • Take in some musical and artist performances.
  • and a whole lot more!

Visiting Ireland for st Patricks day turn yourself into a leprechaun on Grafton street - Tips for Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Ireland

Make yourself a leprechaun, as seen at a busker stall on Grafton Street in Dublin

4. Don’t forget to drink Guinness!

If you are planning on going to the Guinness Storehouse while in Dublin, try to do this before or after the 17th. St. Patrick’s Day is literally their busiest day of the year. Trust me going on any other day of the year it will be a lot less busy and your experience will be better because of it. You can still drink delicious Guinness on St. Patrick’s day though as every pub has it on tap and it’s almost a crime if you don’t have a pint or two!

5. You don’t need to start drinking first thing in the morning

You don’t need to worry about getting a spot in a pub early in the morning before it gets full. When celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at home in Canada there are long lines outside of the Irish pubs in the city starting as early as 7am. If you aren’t there early,  you might not get in. People go crazy for St. Patrick’s Day, they start drinking ridiculously early in the morning and the majority of the people drink way too much. THIS IS NOT THE CASE IN DUBLIN. Or from at least what I saw.

Every pub in Dublin is an Irish Pub, so there are a lot more options for places for you to go. There is no need to get up early to hold a spot anywhere. Wake up, go to the parade, then head to the pubs.

Unlike at home I didn’t notice any crazy drunk people until later that night and I had to go searching for them. I found MANY in the Temple Bar area which is typical. My advice to you is to not go crazy and waste your day drinking on St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. Get out, walk around the city, wear your green clothes and enjoy the atmosphere.

crowds at the st patrick's day parade in dublin 2019 - Tips for Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Ireland

The beginning of the St. Patrick’s Day parade on O’Connell Street

waldo at the st patricks day parade - Tips for Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Ireland

Can you find Waldo?

6. Head to the Parade Route by 9am

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin starts at 10am. Wake up early and hit the streets by 9am at the latest to get a good spot to watch the parade from. Over 500,000 people or more will be out watching the parade. The streets will be PACKED with people. Get out early to get a good spot. The best place to watch St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin is on O’Connell street or Dame street. Click HERE to see the parade map for the St. Patrick’s Day festival parade.

7. Be prepared

On St. Patrick’s Day it is best to explore the city by foot. It is hard to get taxis and there are tons of roads blocked off because of the hoards of people and parade. It is best to wear comfy shoes and clothes. Make sure you are wear closed toe shoes. Late at night if you find yourself in the Temple Bar area it will be full of trash and bottles on the ground from the masses of people. Closed toe shoes help prevent any crazy injuries.

8. Have extra cash on hand

Go to an ATM a day or two before St. Patrick’s day and grab some extra cash for food and drinks. Everyone will be searching for an ATM the day of so it is better to be prepared. Cash is also faster when there are big lines and things are busy.

Where to go in Ireland for st Patricks day Cailin Guinness - Tips for Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Ireland

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Sláinte!

With these tips you will be well prepared for this once and a life experience of celebrating St. Patrick’s day in Dublin, Ireland. To find out more things to see and do in Dublin check out my video “Dublin In a Minute“.

Where to stay in Dublin for St Patricks Day?

Here are my recommended hotels to stay in in Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day:

Buswells for that old Europe charm click HERE.

For a more modern, hip and elegant hotel check out The Marker Hotel click HERE.

If you are traveling on a budget check out the Generator Hostel Dublin the best hostel in Dublin, click HERE.

 

A History of St. Patrick’s day in Ireland

Before I get into the tips and tricks I learned for getting the most out of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin I must share some interesting history and facts about Saint Patrick himself and St. Patricks day.

saint patrick dublin a modern day st patrick celebrates with some ladies - Tips for Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Ireland

A modern day St Patrick 

The History of St. Patrick’s Day:

Who is St. Patrick?

Saint Patrick was a missionary and is believed to have brought Christianity to Ireland.

March 17th is the day Saint Patrick died in 461AD and is celebrated as a holy day of obligation. It is also a day to celebrate Ireland and now of course the love of the Irish and the craziness that ensues around the world.

St. Patrick’s Day weekend is traditionally the potato planting weekend in Ireland.

St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in all of Ireland as well as in Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada.

St. Patrick was born British and first visited Ireland when he was taken there as a slave by Irish raiders whom he later escaped from. After returning home he became a priest and later returned to Ireland to turn the pagan Irish into Christians.

Why is green the color of St. Patrick’s day?

The color of St. Patrick was originally blue, but was later changed to green in reference to the shamrock he wore. The shamrock was used to explain the holy trinity to the pagans and it also relates to Irish nationalism.

What are the origins of St. Patricks Day?

St. Patrick’s day began as a religious holiday and until the 1970s bars and pubs in Ireland weren’t allowed to even be open on St. Patrick’s day. Rumour has it that Americans are the ones who turned it into somewhat of a drinking fest and are the first to celebrate it with a parade.

The first St. Patrick’s day parade in New York dates back to 1762 and it is the largest and longest in the world.

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Special thanks to the Ireland Tourism board for making a dream of mine come true. As always all opinions and views expressed are my own.

25 Comments

  • Reply
    Kylee Newman
    July 25, 2018 at 1:46 am

    Hi there!

    I will be in Dublin the 17th-18th this coming year. I am trying to figure out what area to stay in for those two nights that will be close to the fun! Can you recommend an area to stay in and some fun spots/festivities to visit other than the parade?

    Thanks!

  • Reply
    Chris
    March 16, 2018 at 7:34 am

    Rumour has it that Americans are the ones who turned it into somewhat of a drinking fest and are the first to celebrate it with a parade.

    The Rumor is officially confirmed. The 1st St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin was in 1995. It was started by my shipmates aboard the USS ANTRIM and while we were there on leave.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      March 16, 2018 at 12:20 pm

      lol good to know! Thanks for the comment :)

  • Reply
    Brooke Otto
    January 10, 2017 at 4:33 am

    My family will be in Ireland from March 13-March 20. They have procrastinated and are now trying to books a place to stay, although we are thinking Dublin from the 15/16-20 and driving around the country the other days. Of course everything in the city centre is booked. If we stay near the airport or Blanchardstown, as there is availability there, what is transportation like as far as getting into Dublin? Is there a tram and does it run at all hours (my sister and I will want to be in the city at night)? We’re trying to avoid driving as we will be at some pubs.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      January 11, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      Hello, bummer that you are so late booking something. I know that there are trams and buses in the city however I am unfortunately not sure of their routes and times as I don’t live in Dublin. I’m sure they must have a transit info site online though. Have a great trip!

  • Reply
    Elcia
    November 19, 2016 at 2:25 am

    How do I go about getting on that bus? What company, wevsite etc? Thank you in advance

    • Reply
      Cailin
      November 28, 2016 at 3:48 pm

      It was a special thing organized for media by the tourism board. Sorry I can’t be more help!

  • Reply
    Surreya Riaz
    September 13, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Hi, after listening to your tips I had only booked st Patrick’s day for one day nd I would of missed the fist part of the day. So I’ve changed my flight and I’m spending 3 nights in Dublin to get the full experience .

  • Reply
    Clyde
    March 14, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Can’t wait I hope it’s all wat it seems! I’m there 2016 flying out Wednesday.

  • Reply
    Blaine Gahagan
    March 13, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    I’m from an Irish family and have participated in Irish Channel St Patrick day parade in New Orleans. My wife and I are planning a 2017 trip to Ireland. I would like to be in the parade and wonder if you could direct me to an organization that I could join in order to March next year in the parade?

    • Reply
      Cailin
      March 14, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      Hello Blaine,

      I was there as a guest of the Ireland Tourism Board, so I am not sure how you could go about being in the parade. I would try reaching out to the St. Patrick’s Day Festival event organizers. Have a great trip!

  • Reply
    Emma
    January 10, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    Hi,
    I will have 45 usa teenagers in tow on St Patrick’s day…. Is there any top tips for where a group that size could watch the parade? Emma

  • Reply
    Charlie
    November 6, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Hey, I M taking A high school group from Canada, and we will be in Dublin for St Patricks Day. Obviously no drinking. But I would be happy if you could suggest any other teenager options for our two days there.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      November 9, 2015 at 4:49 pm

      Hello Charlie,

      If you are there for St. Patrick’s Day I would definitely recommend dressing in green and watching the parade together that day, its a lot of fun. You could also visit Trinity College and the Book of Kels, take a boat tour on the river, ride the hop on hop off bus, visit the prison and a lot more! :)

  • Reply
    elaine schoch
    March 9, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    I’ve always wanted to do St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland as well. These are some good tips and I have to say I’m glad it’s not an all day crazy “party” like it is in the States. It sounds like we could actually take the kids sooner than later to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland.

  • Reply
    Kara
    January 24, 2015 at 10:11 am

    We are going to a trip to Ireland and will be flying in/arriving at 8am in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day. We are doing a self driving tour and I’m nervous about trying to drive in Dublin on the 17th because as you mentioned lots of roads get blocked off. Any tips?

    • Reply
      Cailin
      January 24, 2015 at 10:22 am

      It’s mostly the main roads that are blocked off like O’Connell Street and Dame street to the west of Trinity College that are blocked off. Also about 500,000 people come to the parade so I imagine parking might be a bit tough. I guess it depends on where you are staying, it will definitely be congested.

    • Reply
      Ari
      February 12, 2015 at 6:09 pm

      You really don’t need a car in Dublin. I’ve went there 8 times last year alone. My first trip out I rented a car, it just got parked for the week, it was a total waste. You can walk just about anywhere, the city is not that big, and there are plenty of taxis and public transportation if you want to avoid the longer walks. If you are only touring the sights in and around Dublin you can get a day pass on one of the tour busses for ~20 euro. Hop on and off at your leisure.

      I really wound not get a car unless you are heading to newgrange or something outside the city.

  • Reply
    Vanessa
    June 24, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    I just did St Patricks’ Day in Chicago and it was absolute chaos – this looks like a much more enjoyable scene!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      June 25, 2014 at 10:12 pm

      I imagine its crazy in Chicago! I would love to celebrate it there someday too! I think the different might have to do with the drinking ages and that americans get a bit crazier when they drink then europeans maybe? haha Night time at Temple Bar was definitely nuts though, I guess the crazy is just contained haha

  • Reply
    Penny
    June 22, 2014 at 3:51 am

    Funny how the Irish themselves are the most civil out of the all the party places on the 17th of March. Never would have thought that…!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      June 25, 2014 at 10:13 pm

      Its true! There were so many people out celebrating but they weren’t crazy drunk or anything – that happened later in the night around the temple bar area haha
      Or perhaps I just wasn’t hanging out in the crazy areas? haha

  • Reply
    noel
    June 20, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Looks like a great time, i love festivals like this.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      June 25, 2014 at 10:13 pm

      Thanks Noel! Me too! :)

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