Obviously, there is nothing like being in Dublin on St Patrick’s Day, but there are ample opportunities for celebrating Ireland’s most famous holiday no matter where you are in the world. Read on for our top tips for celebrating St Patrick’s Day – it’s not all green shamrocks and pints of Guinness!
St Patrick’s Day is named after the patron saint of Ireland who first brought Christianity to Ireland, meaning that despite the boozy festivities, it is actually a religious holiday. The iconic shamrock is a metaphor for the Holy Trinity. Celebrated on the 17th March, it may be one of the most important holidays of the year for the Irish, but many other nationalities now join in with the celebrations.
Referencing the original shamrock symbol as well as the arrival of spring and the landscape of Ireland itself, wearing green is a fundamental part of celebrating St Patrick’s Day. Whether you choose to go all out with a novelty hat and shamrock sweater, or simply opt for a subtle nod to the celebrations with a green accessory is up to you.
Listen to Irish Music
Whether you opt for traditional Irish folk music or contemporary pop, put together a playlist comprising of Irish artists to listen to during the day’s celebrations. Have a search online for Celtic folk songs or classic pub songs or listen to the likes of U2, Thin Lizzie and The Cranberries.
Have a Few Drinks
It’s well known that the Irish like a good drink in the pub, and most cities around the world have at least one Irish pub of their very own. Chances are that these establishments will be packed on St Patrick’s Day, full of revellers sinking back pints of Guinness or sipping Irish whiskey. Join in with the celebrations and enjoy a night of drinking, singing and making new friends.
Attend a Céili
Traditional Irish dancing is a key part of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations, both in parades and at private events. If you’re looking to get involved with the festivities and would like to learn more about traditional Irish culture, try to find a local céili, a form of step dancing which is performed in small groups. You’re likely to find one at an Irish pub or club on St Patrick’s Day.
Eat Irish Cuisine
If you aren’t familiar with traditional Irish food, St Patrick’s Day is the perfect opportunity to sample some of the country’s most iconic dishes. Potatoes are an obvious accompaniment to any meal, as is Irish soda bread and the most common dishes include meat, root vegetables and some sort of potato accompaniment. Bangers and mash or a traditional beef stew are hearty options to line your stomach in advance of plenty of Guinness.
Attend a Parade
Many of the world’s most famous cities (including London, New York, Sydney and Moscow) honour St Patrick’s Day with lively parades featuring traditional music, vibrant green floats and many participants dressed up as leprechauns. If you’re in the vicinity of a city that is hosting a parade, this is an excellent way to get involved with the celebrations. Also keep your eyes out for key landmarks and bodies of waters being illuminated green during the celebrations.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.