St Patricks Day
On March 17th, the world goes green as the Irish celebration of their patron saint, St Patrick, is echoed all across the globe.
The feast day of this national icon has been celebrated in Ireland for more than 1,000 years and since the Irish Diaspora began to emigrate and make their homes in North America, Australia and even South America, so they exported this vibrant, colourful and happy celebration.
While the first St Patrick’s Day parade actually took place in New York in 1762, there is no better place to experience this unique day than in Ireland itself. With carnivals, performances and events across the Republic of Ireland and in neighbouring Northern Ireland, this is a terrific opportunity to book holiday accommodation and make the most of Ireland’s big party.
In Dublin’s Fair City
St Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland and so his death on March 17 in the 5th century AD has been a Roman Catholic feast day since, known in the Irish language as Féile Padraig. St Patrick’s importance to the nation and the people grew during years of rebellion against British rule and as Irishmen and women were forced to emigrate because of famine and poverty.
In Dublin, Ireland’s capital, more than 1 million people attend the annual St Patrick’s Day parade, which winds its way through the city’s most famous streets and past iconic landmarks before finishing at St Patrick’s Cathedral. Today each year’s celebrations have a particular theme, with several days of fairs, music events and performances all culminating on St Patrick’s Day itself.
Dublin is a superb holiday destination with accommodation ranging from B&Bs to 5-star hotels and with an amazing amount to see after you’ve enjoyed the pageantry of the parade.
Laughing in Limerick, crazy in Cork
In Limerick, on the banks of the Shannon River in Southwest Ireland, the city’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations are known as SpringFest. One of Ireland’s best cities for the arts, Limerick’s parade is always a colourful one with marching bands, folk musicians and traditional Irish dancers being joined by residents and visitors. Limerick’s steady growth as a visitor attraction means it can boast a good selection of accommodation for holidaymakers.
Tradition also meets the modern world in Cork, the Republic of Ireland’s second biggest city, when the city comes to a standstill for three days of celebrations around St Patrick’s Day. Visitors will are spoiled for choice for holiday accommodation is Cork.
Galway’s grand, Downpatrick is delightful
In the mediaeval city of Galway on the south coast, the narrow, cobbled streets provide an extraordinary atmosphere to the city’s St Patrick’s Day Festival. With crowds of up to 50,000 lining the streets, Galway’s is always a special celebration of the nation’s patron saint, making this a popular destination for travellers seeking holiday accommodation.
Visitors to Northern Ireland will find parades and parties in Belfast, Armagh and in Downpatrick. And those keen to get in touch with the religious roots of the celebration can follow the St Patrick’s Trail across Northern Ireland, visiting Christian sites at Bangor, Newtonards, Downpatrick, Newry and Armagh. Northern Ireland has become a popular tourist destination in recent years with plentiful holiday accommodation.
Wherever you go in Ireland to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, you’re bound to find a warm welcome.
Note: All dates & information in the above article were correct as of September 4th 2013.