St Patricks Day in Ireland

To be honest, before the Millennium, St Patrick's Day was no big deal in Ireland. The whole razzmatazz surrounding it being more of an invention by ex-patriots worldwide finding an excuse to celebrate their Irish roots on the day, not that there is anything wrong with that! Particularly in the USA, where a huge amount of Irish people emigrated, some of them never ever to return again to their homeland. Thankfully though, their children, grandchildren and even great grand-children have been coming back in their droves ever since, God Bless them! But as one FB friend, from New Zealand astutely pointed out "St Patrick's Day is for the rest of the world, who don't know how to party like the Irish do, all year round". Well, I don't know about that but here in Ireland, we would never actually drink green beer or dye whole rivers green as they do in Chicago, the latest craze being the 'greening' of iconic buildings across the globe, which is fun, but what next? We have adopted the whole silly hat thing though......

And this year we are especially proud to be celebrating 100 years as an independent nation so we are feeling extra patriotic this St Patrick's Day in 2016. But, once upon a time, you just donned your homemade St Patrick's Day badge or pinned a fistful of muddy shamrock to your lapel and went out to Mass to sing Hail Glorious St Patrick. Then, if you were lucky and lived near enough to Dublin, you might be taken to The Parade to watch the marching bands and the odd float. Now, St Patrick's Day is a huge festival lasting a week (as it falls on a thursday this year, we have a national holiday with most people taking friday off  (myself included) and knocking a whole weekend out of it, with various multi-cultural and fun events through out the weekend for all the family and visitors alike, with an estimated 500,000 cramming Dublin's city centre for the Parade on the actual day...

In rural Ireland or 'down the country' as we say, St Patrick's Day is much more likely to be celebrated in traditional style, especially on the islands and in the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) areas with traditional music, sean nós singing and dancing, horse racing and GAA matches, although there are lots of small localised parades which are great fun and much more accessible than the larger ones in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick. And we have been criticized for drinking too much and it's true, some people do go over board but there's not much can be done about that, it's a free country after all and all cities are extremely well policed on the day so no-one need worry. But if you are not into that or have young children my advice would be to go out early and enjoy the day before it gets too hectic or messy....

Galway Girl

And despite what you may have heard? there is a lot more to Ireland and St Patrick's Day (btw we would never ever call it St Patti's Day in Ireland, it's Paddy's Day or St Patrick's Day) than shamrocks, leprechauns and crocks of gold..... The following pages tell you the real story behind St Patrick, his feast day on the 17th of March, and all the traditions associated with it that celebrate our culture including....

St Patrick the legend who drove the snakes out of Ireland...

Hill of Tara ancient seat of the High Kings of Ireland....

Fairies & Leprechauns the truth at last...

Holy Wells pagan origins, Christian cures....

Shamrock or is it clover? how to tell the real thing....

Irish Parades their history & the story of Macnas....

Irish Dancing and the legend of Riverdance...

Traditional Irish Music and where to hear it for free...

Gaelic Sports football, hurling & camogie...

National Anthems pride of our nation...

Irish stew soda bread etc...

Guinness how to tell a good pint?

Irish Coffee what makes a good one?

Our other great national drink Tea...!

Beannachtí na Feile Pádraig – Happy St Patricks Day



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