Even South Africans enjoy celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and getting into the spirit of things by going all-out with their four leaf clover-covered outfits and green, white and orange Irish flag colours, but no matter how much green you’re wearing, nothing comes close to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland itself, more specifically the capital of Dublin. Here are the top party spots we’d recommend when visiting Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day.
The Temple Bar
This is a very touristy bar, so you can only imagine how crowded it is on St. Patrick’s Day, and the cost of the drinks is something to behold. But, while we would recommend hunting down a pint of Guinness elsewhere, you have to at the very least make your way past The Temple Bar to see the sea of people all dressed up for their favourite National Holiday and decide for yourself if you dare enter. The sight of “leprechaun hats” for as far as the eye can see is quite a charming, even if slightly ridiculous, spectacle.
The Gaelic Games
To get the full Irish experience, book yourself tickets to the All-Ireland Club Championship finals, where you can see the traditional Irish games of hurling and Gaelic football carried out at a swift pace. The atmosphere of the games is one of pride and excitement, and you’re sure to find an Irishman to explain it to you if you’re a bit confused about what’s going on out on the field.
Hit Some (Other) Pubs
Just because The Temple Bar is packed to the brim, doesn’t mean you can’t have a traditional Irish pub experience elsewhere in the city. Essex Street East and Dame Lane off George’s Street boast some of not just Dublin’s best bars, but Ireland’s best bars. You can make yourself comfortable at one of the pubs, or you can initiate a little pub crawl of your own and go wherever the mood takes you. On St Paddy’s day, no matter where you end up you are guaranteed to have a good time with the locals.
St Patrick’s Day Festival & Parade
The cream of the crop, you simply cannot be in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day and not attend this world-famous festival. The biggest Irish festival of the year, you can be sure to expect the typical jolly nature the Irish are known for, along with streets and pubs buzzing from the night before until the day after. For many, the parade is the main event. It kicks off at noon in Parnell Square and ends, appropriately, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Over half-a-million people attend, so it’s important you find your spot along the route well before it starts at lunchtime. Although the parade spans over two hours, if you stay in one spot you’ll see it all in forty-five minutes, which means you can move on to your next Paddy’s Day adventure (likely at the nearest pub). You’re guaranteed to see comical floats, rows of Irish Dancers, marching bands and musicians (to name a few of the acts). The weekend after the parade is usually followed by fun activities in Merrion Square, such as music, carnival shows and more.
You might have guessed it, but the best place to be in Dublin on St. Patrick’s day is a pub. Kick your day off with a traditional Irish breakfast, followed by the parade and an evening spent at the bar—with a Guinness in hand and singing Irish songs at the top of your lungs.