St Patrick Day – The Largest Of All Festivals In Dublin Ireland!
If you fancy a trip to Dublin, visit in spring because you do not want to miss out on St Patrick Day. Every year, the day of March 17th heralds the beginning of many celebrations throughout Ireland – and the world – to commemorate Saint Patrick; the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland.
About St Patrick Day
Saint Patrick is credited with introducing Christianity to Ireland, with most of what is known about him being drawn for his two major works, the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and Epistola. There is no certainty about why St Patrick Day is celebrated on March 17th, though a common belief is that this is the date on which he died.
That being said, St Patrick day is a religious feast festival of Catholic Christians having its roots in Ireland with the celebrations gaining significance in other countries, particularly America and Britain. In Ireland specifically, it is typical for almost all businesses to close on St Patrick Day as it is a religious holiday. Many Irish people attend mass to offer prayers for missionaries worldwide before the rest of the celebrations commence.Just like St. Valentines Day, St. Patrick Day (i.e, 17th March) commemorates the demise of the revered patronised Irish saint St. Patrick. So, what is the legend behind St. Patrick which led to the association of a festival in his name and how is the day celebrated ?
Originally born (in later half of fourth century) to Roman parents in Scotland or Roman England (there are conflicting opinions regarding the place of birth), he was previously known by the name Maewyn Succat. He was given a Romanicized name Patricius leading to him being known as Patrick.
Patrick was originally a pagan ( a non-believer of Christianity ). During his childhood, he was kidnapped and sold as a slave to the Celtic Druids who then ruled Ireland. It was during that stage of life that his attitude and beliefs towards God started changing. After six years, he escaped from slavery when he dreamt of God giving him instructions for the same. He was taught priesthood in France. When he became a bishop, he again dreamt of Irish people calling him and requiring his services.
So, he returned to Ireland with firm belief of converting pagans to Christians. Despite being arrested by the Celtic Druids several times, he always managed to escape and was not deterred. He actively baptized and preached Christianity. He even used diplomacy like gifting people in kinglets and gifting lawgivers. For 20 years he had traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries across the country. He also set up schools and churches which would aid him in his conversion.
What To Expect From St Patrick Day Celebrations?
If you’re thinking of celebrating St Patrick Day in style then why not travel to the heart of all the action and visit Dublin? There is plenty to see, do and take part in, whilst celebrating St Patrick Day in Dublin adds an air of authenticity to proceedings.
The largest celebration to take place in Dublin is St Patrick Day. The festival usually lasts over six days and offers a wide range of attractions and events that are of interest to people of all ages.
The festival parade takes place on St Patrick Day itself and is a traditional type of event that all the family can enjoy. In the run up to the day itself there are several music and film events, as well as cultural highlights, carnivals, street performers, comedy and family centred activities; including a funfair and treasure hunt.
The fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down either, as there are many evening activities to keep you occupied on St Patrick Day.
Where To Enjoy St Patrick Day While In Dublin?
Ireland’s national holiday is certainly enjoyed in style with parties, parades and celebratory events. Spread over several days with around 4000 performers and 1 million people, it certainly is an experience not to be missed. What’s more, a lot of the events taking place are free of charge, so you can still enjoy the festivities when on a budget. Here is a sneak preview on how you can wonder around Dublin and maximize your St Patrick Day’s experience.
If you’re a fan of St Patrick’s Day and want to celebrate the event in true style this year, there can be no better place to head to than Dublin. Home to a huge range of events and festivities, Dublin is at the very centre of the action when it comes to celebrating the patron saint of Ireland. By choosing festival accommodation at the heart of the city, you can soak up the spirit of revelry.
Indeed, staying in hostels can be a particularly good idea because you get to mingle with fellow revellers and really get involved in the party atmosphere.
Taking place on March 17th, the festival is a huge event in Dublin. It’s a good idea to arrive the day before in order to make sure that you have the most time possible to join in the fun.
Departing from Holyhead in Wales, the ferry crossing takes approximately three-and-a-half hours – time which you may wish to spend getting into the spirit of things in the Irish bar.
Arriving in Dublin, you can spend your evening soaking up the city’s hospitality and getting a taste for its incredible nightlife.
The St Patrick’s Day Festival takes place the next day and you’ll find that there is a huge range of things to see and do, from parades to comedy performances. Undoubtedly the parade is one of the highlights of the day, with a colourful procession winding its way through the city streets amid a crowd of eager onlookers. Boasting a fantastic atmosphere, the parade is the perfect way to celebrate.
However, you can also dance to the Kilfenora ceili band and visit the funfair, or simply enjoy a drink at a local pub.
The next day, why not take a tour of the famous Guinness Brewery? This is a favourite activity during Dublin breaks and there can be no time more appropriate for a visit than during the St Patrick’s Day festivities.
Alternatively, you can also meander around the town and discover the local sights if you feel like you have had enough Guinness for one trip! Spend the evening enjoying the vibrant Temple Bar area before heading home the next day.
Lastly, if you wish to take a break from the St Patrick Day celebrations and want to explore the city itself, you won’t be stuck for choices. Dublin’s elegant Georgian terraces merit further investigation, whilst the museums provide further insight into the history of the country. The cosy and welcoming bars for which Dublin is renowned also provide a welcome respite from the city streets.
How To Celebrate St Patrick Day With Authentic Irish Style?
As a part of the celebration, Many Irish people wear a bunch of shamrock on their lapels or caps on St. Patrick Day, while children wear tricolored (green, white and orange) badges. Girls traditionally wore green ribbons in their hair (many still do).
A three-leafed Shamrock clover was used by St. Patrick to represent the trinity, like father, son and holy spirit; also shamrock was considered lucky by Irish people. The shamrock was used by the Irish as a mark of nationalism when the English invaded the Celtics. Thus a shamrock is given lot of reverence in Ireland. Leprechuans or Irish fairy people are also associated with St. Patrick’s festival. In Irish mythology, a leprechaun is a type of elf said to inhabit the island of Ireland.
In recent times, the St. Patrick Day celebrations in Dublin have been extended to a week-long event called St. Patrick’s Festival, encompassing a spectacular fireworks display (Skyfest), open-air music, street theater and the traditional parade. Over one million people attended the celebrations in 2004.
Due to its increasing popularity, St Patrick Day is now celebrated worldwide by the Irish and those of Irish descent. A major parade takes place in Dublin and in most other Irish towns and villages. The three largest parades of recent years have been held in Dublin, New York and Birmingham England. Parades also take place in other centers, London, Paris, Rome, Moscow, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and throughout the Americas.
In the United States, St. Patrick Day would not be St. Patrick Day unless the Chicago River is dyed green. Also, St. Paddy’s Day has little religious or historical significance. Established in Boston in 1737, it is essentially a time to put on a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” button, and parade drunken through the streets singing a mangled version of “Danny Boy” in celebration of one’s real or imagined Irish ancestry.
While, Great Britain celebrates St Patrick Day with parades and festivals as well. Birmingham holds the largest parade in Britain. It is the third largest in the world after Dublin and New York. London, Manchester, and Liverpool also hold large celebrations. The Queen Mother used to present sprigs of shamrock flown in from Ireland to the Irish Guards. They still wear them to this day. St Patrick Day has become an unofficial holiday in Canada and the US. In Canada, the largest parade is held in Montreal. They have occurred there every year since 1824, but people have been celebrating the Saint there since 1759. Many other provinces also hold Saint Patrick’s Day parades and festivals. The first parade in New York City occurred in 1762. With few exceptions, the parade has been held there every year since 1766. The New York Parade is the largest in the world. Take part in the celebrations, whatever the location!
On the other side, Canada which is known for its hockey has been able to blend the sport with the festival very well. From 1919-27 the Toronto Maple Leafs were known as the Toronto St. Patrick’s and they wore green jerseys. In 1999 the Leafs had a game on Match 17th and wore green retro jerseys. The Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Raptors also don green uniforms for St Patrick Day.
Referred to as the Emerald Isle, Ireland is known for its green scenery and the color green has become associated with the country. Many people outside of Ireland will be wearing green on St Patrick Day. Everything from green shirts and hats to novelty hats, necklaces, glasses, and more. Some only wear green in fear of being pinched if they don’t! There are some cities that even paint their streets or dye their rivers green. As early as the 17th century, people wore green ribbons and shamrocks in celebration of St Patrick Day. However, the only green worn in Ireland on March 17th is a sprig of shamrock on their lapel. The color green is connected to the old flag and a time when Ireland was not free. Some people also believed that it was unlucky to wear green as it was the color of the “Good People”, another name for fairies. Anyone who wore too much green, especially children, would be taken away. Despite the popularity of the color green, the color associated with Saint Patrick is actually blue.
To dress for the occasion, Guinness shirts, bottle opener hats, accessories, and barware items are available to gear up for St Patrick Day. Consider traditional Irish tartan scarves, sashes, or kilts. If looking for a cheaper version, try a green instakilt. Irish jewellery is also a great expression of authenticity. Irish pendants, rings, bracelets, earrings, and more can add an Irish touch. Choose the Irish Claddagh symbol of love, loyalty and friendship or maybe something with Celtic knotwork. There are also History of Ireland rings which feature various symbols representing different phases in Irish history. Celtic Crosses are another symbol associated with Saint Patrick, as he is said to have combined the sun symbol of the druids with the cross of the Christians forming the Celtic Cross.
Let’s face it, St Patrick Day has become a time to party, sing, and dance. The Irish are known for their love of music. Many great musical acts have come from Ireland: Thin Lizzy, the Cranberries, U2, Van Morrison, Sinead O’Connor, and the Corrs, to name a few. Several pubs bring in Traditional Irish musicians to perform traditional and classic tunes like “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”, “Danny Boy”, “Whisky in the Jar”, “My Wild Irish Rose” and more. Doing an Irish Jig or performing a Riverdance impression are acceptable moves! Of course the best places to sing and dance on this day are in an authentic Irish Pub. If planning a St Patrick’s Party at home instead of heading out to a pub, there are many Irish CDs available to enhance the home atmosphere.
Along with the singing and dancing often comes drinking. Since it was originally a religious holiday, pubs were required to be closed for the day. This was changed in the 1970s. Some of the most popular drinks for St Patrick Day are Guinness, Kilkenny and Bailey’s. All Guinness sold in the UK, Ireland, and North America is brewed at St. James Gate in Dublin. Over 10 million glasses of Guinness are enjoyed everyday and is sold in 150 countries around the world. In 2006, more Guinness was sold in Canada than in Ireland on St Patrick Day. There are several different brands of Irish Cream, the most popular being Bailey’s. It was introduced in 1974 and was the first Irish Cream on the market.
Consider some traditional Irish food. Start the day out with traditional Irish Breakfast consisting of fried bacon, egg, sausage, black and white pudding, fried tomato and fried potato farls. For those who have not yet tried it, black pudding is blood pudding. White pudding is pork fat, suet bread, and oatmeal formed into the shape of a sausage. Wash it all down with a nice cup of Irish tea. The most popular brands are Barry’s, Lyons’, and Bewley’s. Of course, the potato is the basis for many Irish dishes. Introduced in the mid 16th century, it became the main food group of the poor. As a great source of vitamins and minerals, it managed to keep basic nutrition in a time when other crops were not available. Extreme cold and potato blight caused some of the Great Irish Famines that wiped out a million people and forced millions of others to leave the country. Some of the most popular Irish potato dishes are Colcannon, Champ and Boxty. Colcannon is mashed potatoes with garlic mixed with cabbage or kale. Champ is mashed potatoes mixed with spring onions or scallions. Boxty mixes finely grated raw potatoes with mashed potatoes, then adds flour, baking soda, buttermilk and egg and fries it on a griddle like a pancake. One of the most popular Irish dishes is Bacon and Cabbage. There was a time when many Irish immigrants couldn’t afford back bacon, so they used corned beef as a substitute. Corned Beef and Cabbage is now a common dish. Seafood is also a popular Irish dish. Salmon and Cod are the most common fish, but prawns and oysters are also popular. Try a Dublin Lawyer- lobster cooked in whisky and cream. Livestock was also important to the Irish. Irish stew features lamb or mutton mixed with root vegetables. Coddle is a similar dish with pork sausages boiled in stock with potatoes and onions. If you’re a little more adventurous, maybe you’d be interested in Crubeens or Drisheen. Crubeens are salted pigs feet boiled and served with cabbage. Drisheen is cow/sheep/pig’s blood mixed with milk, salt, fat, and breadcrumbs. They are boiled and cooked in an intestine. Follow them up with soda bread, wheaten bread, soda farls, coffee cake, or scones. Enjoy!
In order to be really authentically Irish, one should need to know at least a few Irish phrases. Although saying things like “Top of the Morning” and “Kiss me I’m Irish” will work, it would be more impressive to say Irish phrases in Irish Gaelic. Although pronunciation is different for different parts of Ireland, these phrases will work in the local pub. The first phrase to know is Happy St Patrick Day! In Irish, this phrase is La fheile Padraig sona duit” (pronounced law ae-leh paw-rig so-nuh dwitch). In the pub, order a pint of Guinness by saying Pionta Guinness, le do thoil (pronounced pyunta Guinness leh duh hull), or for whisky drinkers, try “uisce beatha” (pronounced ish-ka ba-ha). Be sure to know how to say Cheers in Irish Gaelic, “Slainte” (pronounced slaan-cheh)!
So this March 17th, have an Irish Breakfast, wear a green Guinness shirt, check out the local St Patrick Day parade, have an Irish lunch, hop onto a cart drawn by oxen and go to whatever pub they stop at (or just hop in a cab and go to an Irish pub), listen to some Irish music, have some Irish drinks, and most importantly have a great time celebrating the Patron Saint of Ireland. Happy St Patrick Day! Slainte!
Thus in a nutshell, it can be seen that the legends revolving around St Patrick have been inseparably combined with the facts. The day invariably evokes the “I am Irish” sentiments alongwith patronizing St. Patrick for his services towards Ireland. And together they have helped us know much about the Saint and the spirit behind celebration of the day.
In conclusion, just like any other holiday St Patrick day can prove beneficial to plan your trip well in advance. One of the ways to get across the water is by taking one of the many Irish ferries that sail to Ireland, which can provide a nice smooth journey while you look forward to the celebrations to come.
Therefore, if you aren’t doing anything come 17th March this year, it might be on the agenda to head across the water to Ireland and see how they celebrate over there. In fact, it may even start up a regular annual trip.
Visit information about festivals section to explore a full list of festivals happening around the world yearly!