The 17th of March is known in almost every major city around the world as a day to celebrate St. Patrick of Ireland. Originally intended to commemorate Saint Patrick himself and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, the day has turned into a globally renowned excuse to drink (particularly Guinness) and to have a rip-roaring time. For some travellers, the celebration rests in the heritage of Ireland, but for many it is really just an opportunity to get, as the Irish would say, jolly, so if you’re not too particular about experiencing Ireland at its most jubilous, we’ve got some suggestions on where else in the world to enjoy this especially festive festival.
Ireland: Anywhere (but we recommend Dublin)
Given that Dublin is the capital of St. Patrick’s homeland, it’s definitely one of the hottest spots for travellers who are truly seeking to enjoy an authentic St. Paddy’s Day experience. From the 17th of March every year, Dublin is transformed into the jolliest country in the world (i.e. one massive party zone) for four days. The festival kicks off in Parnell Square with the St. Patrick’s Day Parade which features giant puppets, street performances, singing, dancing and everything you would expect from such a jubilous occasion. Bars on Grafton Street and within the greater Dublin area are usually packed, so if you’re looking to enjoy a pint you might be better off leaving the city and looking for a “quieter” pub (if such a thing even exists around this time of year in Ireland).
Celebrating in Boston is as good as celebrating in Ireland itself! Home to the United States’ highest number of Irish immigrants, the vast majority of Boston locals have Irish ancestors and are very proud of their heritage. The annual Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade begins at the Broadway “T” Station and ends at Andrew Square and features colourful floats, classic Irish music and dancing and “classic Irish cheer”. The weather is still especially cold at this time of year in March, so make sure you’re all warm as you spend most of your day on the street.
New Zealand: Auckland
Another part of the world with significant Irish heritage, Auckland is also the largest city in New Zealand and knows how to plan a proper party when it comes down to it. The festival is so popular that there is an organisation—the St. Patrick’s Day Festival Trust—dedicated specifically to running the festival every year. This is one of the largest St. Paddy’s Day festivals in the Southern Hemisphere, too, and is family-friendly with a large variety of kids activities, food vendors and of course buckets of entertainment.
While not the biggest tradition in Germany, much like almost anywhere else in the world St. Patrick’s Day does not go unnoticed in Berlin. Bars and pubs serve Irish beer and revel in playing some traditionally Irish music, while elsewhere beer gardens, concerts and parades are set up.
This particular destination is perfect for travellers who are music lovers and also looking for a St. Patrick’s Day experience. Amsterdam hosts a brilliant two-day Irish music festival which features Irish classical, pop and jazz music along with Irish dancing, music workshops (for those looking to pick up a new skill), and some delightful traditional Irish food to enjoy while listening to the country’s classic sounds. Of course if you’re looking for a more “traditional” St. Patrick’s Day experience just walk yourself over to the nearest bar and enjoy a pint (or two) of Guinness.
The Italians sure seem to have a soft spot for the Irish—Padua is home to not a one-day, not a two-day but a five-day festival dedicated to the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day! Irlanda In Festa is one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Europe and will be running for its twelfth year in a row in 2018 (so you can only imagine how perfected this parade and festival has become). Expect Irish bands and the best of Irish cuisine and culture merged with the passion and warmth of the Italians (not to mention “rivers of dark beer”, which organisers of the festival are very proud to mention).
The Sydney Opera House is one of the most spectacular sights on a normal day, but just imagine how incredible it looks when it is glowing green in the night’s sky—this is something travellers and locals alike have come to expect on St. Patrick’s Day each year. The city is transformed for St. Patrick’s Day as Prince Albert Park hosts the “Green Gathering” which features local crafts, Irish beverages, Irish dancers and marching bands in a themed parade that dates back more than 200 years (making it one of the oldest and largest in the world). There is pre- and post-parade entertainment along the streets and of course you can expect to find all the pubs and bars in full participation.
Just a short ferry ride away from the Emerald Isle itself, London is unsurprisingly home to one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The annual parade is always held on the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day and features wild floats and well-rehearsed marching bands that walk from Green Park to Trafalgar Square, where an all-day festival awaits and features a food market, fashion show and even film festivals. Many of the pubs (Irish and local) feature great specials, themed events and quizzes that come with a host of prizes (such as a drink or two on the house, and who could say no to that?).
Whether you’re deciding to celebrate in the capital of Dublin itself or you’re after a less-traditional (but just as fun) St. Patrick’s Day experience elsewhere in the world, contact one of our travel experts today and find yourself one day closer to an unforgettable St Patrick’s Day celebration (depending on how much Guinness you drink, of course).