In honour of this legendary celebration, these are the best places in Ireland to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, according to Irish staycationers.
Carrick on Shannon
Embrace the festive atmosphere in Carrick on Shannon
As the most popular destination among Irish travellers for nightlife, entertainment, and atmosphere there’s clearly something special about Carrick on Shannon. During the day this county town hosts a parade of floats and a competition for the best window display alongside family-friendly activities like face-painting and traditional Irish dancing.
In the evening the town’s bars, pubs and nightclubs come into their own with live music and a festive atmosphere to rival Christmas and New Year’s Eve combined. For somewhere to recover from the festivities check into The Landmark Hotel, overlooking the peaceful River Shannon.
Traditional Irish music in Kilkenny
St Patrick’s Day becomes St Patrick’s Week in the south-eastern city of Kilkenny as the five-day ‘Tradfest’ takes over the city centre. The festival focuses on traditional Irish music and culture, while simultaneously encouraging visitors to invent a few traditions of their own. There is plenty of live music, and you can join a variety of workshops to learn Irish dancing and how to play the accordion or fiddle.
It will be difficult to tear yourself away – especially if you’ve opted for any of the drumming workshops – but it’s worth taking an afternoon stroll along the medieval city’s Canal route. Starting at Canal Square, the winding waterways will take you all the way through the city and down to the banks of the River Nore, where you’ll find the comfortable Kilkenny River Court Hotel.
The St Patrick Day Parade in Dublin city centre
Ireland’s capital city is already known for great music and even greater pub-crawls but there’s a lot more to Dublin than the excellent nightlife. The annual Dublin parade is a must-see for any visitor lucky enough to be in the city on St Patrick’s Day, although it’s worth marking out your spot beforehand as it’s one of Ireland’s most popular events.
The route frequently changes so travellers unfamiliar with the city are recommended to contact their hotel in advance. Staff members are always happy to share their local insights. In the evening the city goes green as Dublin’s landmarks are bathed in green light, creating a stunning display that lingers in the memory long after you’ve returned home.
Children watching the Galway St Patrick's parade
If you’re sick of green beer and plastic shamrocks, the coastal city of Galway is the place to go for an authentic St Patrick’s day – starting with the annual parade. The Galway St Patrick’s parade starts at St Dominick Street, and goes through the centre of Galway to finish at Prospect Hill. Highlights include street theatre, floats, live music, drummers and a family cycling event.
Travellers planning to toast St Patrick with a glass of Irish whiskey can head to Cross Street Lower for pubs, bars and nightclubs. See if you can squeeze into The Quays, a bar with medieval church fittings. The Residence Hotel is the city centre’s most highly rated hotel among Irish visitors, and the friendly staff are happy to help you plan your St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
St Patrick's Day celebrations in Cork
With good food and good cheer guaranteed, Cork is one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations so it’s no wonder that Irish travellers have voted it one of the best places to celebrate their country’s national day.
Cork’s annual parade starts at the South Mall and the route follows along St Patrick’s Street, finishing at Merchant Quay which – conveniently – is located next to come of the city’s most popular bars and pubs. In the evening Barrack Street will be full of merrymakers while live music spills from every doorway. Visitors planning to make a night of it can stay nearby at the Lancaster Lodge.
** The data scientists at Booking.com looked at the top Irish destinations endorsed for ‘entertainment’ and ‘nightlife’ by travellers from Ireland.