Perhaps the biggest day on Ireland’s cultural calendar, St. Patrick’s Day calls on both locals and tourists alike to honor the country’s patron saint. What better place to celebrate than Ireland itself?
Home to the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Ireland, the St. Patrick’s Day Festival is a four-day event taking place on Thursday, March 16, 2017 – Monday, March 19, 2017. Dublin's St. Patrick’s Day Festival is a celebration of music, dance and outdoor shows culminating in a massive St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17.
Tip: If you’re not keen on crowds, you might want to head to a smaller town. This is one huge, loud, and sometimes chaotic party.
Downpatrick is not only the town where St. Patrick is buried, but also the town where he built his first church. Referenced as the “home of the patron saint,” the Downpatrick St. Patrick’s Day celebration boasts a procession of colorful floats, bands and traditional dress in a parade that runs along Ardglass Road, Edward Street, John Street, Irish Street and Market Street.
Tip: If you’re think about driving to the parade – don’t. Rather, hop on a steam train on the Downpatrick and County Down Railway.
Another city with strong ties to the patron saint, Armagh is the place where St. Patrick began his mission in Ireland, and he later established the city as the country’s spiritual capital. Unique to Armagh, the city's St. Patrick’s Day Procession will host a concert and a carnival procession with the distinct theme, “Myths & Legends.”
Tip: You can take the kids to Navan Fort, home to a life-sized interactive storyboard that tells the story of St. Patrick and his decision to open his first church in Armagh.
Known for its rivalry with Dublin, many refer to it as the “other capital city.” However, Cork’s biggest claim to fame, you ask? It also holds the title for the shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world. The parade takes place in Dripsey, about 30 minutes away from the city center and travels just 100 yards between the village’s two pubs. Cork also holds a St. Patrick’s Day festival that incorporates food, crafts, music, street performers and children’s workshops.
Tip: If you’d prefer a traditional parade experience, Cork also has a parade route that runs from the South Mall to the Grand Para along St. Patrick’s Street.
Ireland’s oldest city and the first to declare St. Patrick’s Day a national holiday, Waterford hosts a traditional parade and festival with an array of music, concerts, and performances. The city's parade annually takes place on March 17 at 1 p.m. on The Quay and The Mall and typically lasts for an hour and a half.
Tip: To add to the fun, take a trip to the famous Waterford Crystal factory for a factory tour.
While everyone is going green this weekend, Brendan Vacations is capitalizing on the St. Patricks Day excitement by offering an exclusive holiday discount. Through March 19, travel agents can save 12 percent on an Irish getaway for their clients. The offer includes departures for two guided itineraries: the 10-day Iconic Ireland & Ashford Castle and the six-day Treasures of Ireland. In addition to the 12 percent savings on land, the promotion is compatible with a five percent past guest discount and $400 per couple airfare offer.
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