Get your felt leprechaun hats at the ready, and leap straight into the world’s best St Patrick’s Day celebrations. From the historic hearts of Irish cities to the streets of the USA, there’s a plethora of emerald-themed fiestas to be had this March.
A carnival atmosphere erupts on the streets of Dublin come March 17th, with more emerald jerseys, giant hats and shamrock-shaped glasses than you can shake a green, white and gold stick at. The city’s famous St Patrick’s Day Parade revels in a raucous mix of colourful puppets, marching bands and dazzling street entertainers that kicks off at noon on Parnell Square and culminates near the soaring spire of St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Family-friendly and bursting with fun, Cork’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations have something for all. Tuck into tasty snacks at the festival’s popular market, be wowed by eccentric street and circus performances and treat your ears to a host of live music. The parade itself kicks off on March 17th at South Mall and finishes at Merchant’s Quay. Pavement-side fun runs until Sunday March 20th, and venues around town promise a special programme of film screenings, exhibitions and concerts.
Dive headfirst into the annual shenanigans that entertain central Belfast on St Patrick’s day. Leaving City Hall at midday, the suitably jovial parade makes its way down through Donegall Square North, snaking through Donegall Place, Royal Avenue, Donegall Street, then Bridge Street, left onto High Street, and ending in the grand environs of Custom House Square with a free concerts showcasing local musicians and dancers.
Putting on one of - if not the - biggest St Patrick’s parade in Europe, Munich celebrates the Irish saint’s big day in characteristic full-throttle style. With a kaleidoscope of floats, exuberant performers and bags of traditional music and dance, this is the full on affair you’d expect from the home of the world’s most famous beer festival. This Guinness-fuelled shindig will keep you partying until your heart’s content.
While the summer months see the sands of the Costa Blanca liberally carpeted with bikinis, March in Alicante’s Cabo Roig welcomes Irish flags fluttering in spring’s fresh coastal climbs. The area’s St Patrick’s Day parade is a popular beachside jaunt that draws crowds young and old in celebration of Irish heritage. Bars and restaurants serve Irish fare, and the air jigs with patriotic tunes.
Up to a million people flock to Boston’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations - the nation’s longest-running public parade. Nearly a quarter of the city’s residents claim Irish roots, making this a real community affair, and this is the USA’s second largest Irish knees up after New York. This year’s parade is on March 20th and kicks off at The Broadway Station at 1pm.
The oldest and largest St Patrick’s Day Parade in the world, New York’s Irish celebration is a lively affair to say the least. Since the city’s inaugural parade on March 17, 1762, it has grown into a vast extravaganza with around 150,000 participants and 2 million spectators. The parade route goes up Fifth Avenue, beginning at East 44th Street and ending at East 79th Street.
Italy doesn’t miss out on championing Irish heritage either. Several Italian cities hold Irish parties and festivals close to or on the day. In capital Rome, the city’s sizeable number of Irish expats take to the Irish pubs, such as the wood-panelled Abbey Theatre Irish Pub, and Finnegan's Irish Pub to enjoy live music, Irish dishes, and of course many pints of the dark stuff. Similarly in Florence, Celtic music, dance and festivities take place around the historic city.