Guided Tours of Ireland's Hidden Gems - 2020 Tour schedule now available, click here for further details

St Patricks Day in Ireland 

To be honest, up until the Millennium, 20 years ago, St Patricks Day was never a big deal in Ireland. The whole razzmatazz surrounding the event was invented by ex-patriots around the world looking for 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 to return again to their homeland. Thankfully their children, grandchildren and even great grand-children have been coming back in their droves ever since, God Bless them! But as one Facebook friend Paddy Patrick  (her real name) 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 and social media heaven, but what next? Silly hats....

Celebrating St Patrick's Day in DublinCelebrating St Patrick's Day in Dublin

St Patricks Day parades & events

In 2016 there was a surge of unexpected and heartfelt, national pride as we celebrated 100 years of independence from England. But, once upon a time, we simply donned our homemade St Patrick's Day badges or pinned a fistful of muddy shamrock dug from the fields, to our lapels 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. But now, St Patrick's Day is a huge festival lasting a week with various multi-cultural and fun events for all the family and visitors alike, with an estimated 500,000 people cramming Dublin's city centre for the actual Parade on the 17th of March. 

Colourful floats at the St Patrick's Day Parade in DublinColourful floats at the St Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin

Rural celebrations & customs

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 more accessible than the larger ones in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick. And while we have been criticized for drinking too much and it's true, some people do go overboard...But there's not much can be done about that, it's a free country after all, but the cities are extremely well policed on the day so no-one need worry. But if you are not into swilling pints of Guinness or have young children ,my advice would be to go out early to enjoy the festivities and go home before it gets too hectic or messy....

A proud Irish girl all dressed up for St Patrick's DayA proud Irish girl all dressed up for St Patrick's Day

And despite what you may have heard? there is a lot more to Ireland and St Patrick's Day (by the way we would never ever call it Patty'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....

Irish Myths, Legends and customs

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 real one?

Our other great national drink Tea...!

Beannachtí na Feile Pádraig – Happy St Patricks Day

For more details re Susan Byron's exclusive Guided Tours of Ireland's Hidden Gems please click here

Like us on Facebook
Irelands Hidden Gems