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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 10°C
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St Patrick's Day

St Patrick's Day festivities around the country: Your weekend guide

A round-up of the best events taking place around Ireland this weekend to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

THE DAYS OF a straight choice between the parade and the pub for St Patrick’s Day are long gone. Now, cities around the country stage festivals that run for several days.

So here’s a quick guide to help you make the most of the festivities, from céilís and ceol  to comedy and currachs, the length and breadth of the country.


The capital has a wealth of events taking place between the 16th and the 20th March. If you want to get into the swing of things early, head to the annual St Patrick’s Festival Céilí . It takes place in St Stephen’s Green on Wednesday the 16th from 4.30-7.30pm.

If you’re looking for more musical entertainment later that night, head to CEOL in Vicar Street. As part of Seachtain na Gaeilge, a host of top acts including Republic of Loose, Delorentos, The Flaws and Dublin Gospel Choir will perform songs in both English and Irish. Tickets are €20 from Ticketmaster and all profits go to Barnardos.

What better way to kick off St Patrick’s Day itself than by laughing at students freezing on the Liffey? The brave souls of Trinity and UCD will compete for the Gannon Cup in the annual Colours boat race at 9.30am. Brrrrr.

In an ironic twist, St Patrick’s Day sees Dublin Zoo welcoming a new snake to the reptile house. The female King Ratsnake, which can grow up to 2.4, in length, is usually found in South-East Asia. It can be viewed at the zoo from Thursday.

The parade this year will have a literary theme to mark Dublin’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature. Pageant Companies will represent different chapters of “Brilliant”, a specially commissioned short story by Roddy Doyle. The parade runs from Parnell Square to St Patrick’s Cathedral and gets under way at 12.00pm.

From Wednesday through Sunday, the city will also host a number of other events including bands and street performances, Trad Trails (where you can join in and gig in various seisiúns with Trad artists) and the ever popular funfairs.

If you’re feeling a bit more energetic, why not take a walking tour In the Footsteps of St Patrick or get involved in the 5km road race on Sunday. The 2nd International St Patrick’s Salsa Festival will also take place in the Radisson Blu Hotel.


As well as the traditional parade on the 17th, Cork has lots more to offer over the coming days. Thursday will also feature the Red Bull City Currach, where competitors will race through a slalom course of buoys in currachs, right in the heart of the city centre. The race begins at 11.45am along Merchants Quay and will feature crews from all over Ireland.

The 18th and 19th will see the very first performances of Patrick: The Story, a new multimedia performance retelling the story of our patron Saint with the help of a 90-strong orchestra and choir. The event  is a combination of animation and live-action and takes place at the CIT Cork School of Music.

From the 17th-20th, a decommissioned terminal at Cork International Airport will play host to a free music, art and discursive event. Terminal Convention will feature performances from And So I Watch You From Afar and a DJ set from Will Sergeant of Echo and The Bunnymen, amongst others.


The National Lottery Skyfest will see the banks of the river Slaney illuminated by fireworks at 6.30pm Saturday night.  The highlight will be a pyrotechnic waterfall “that will produce a 300m wide curtain of cascading silver fire”. Stand well back.

Street arts company Buí Bolg will be on hand to entertain, using the themes of fire and water to coincide with the fireworks.

Wexford will also see Trad Trail seisiúns taking place from the 18th to the 20th in various locations around the city and comedian Jarlath Regan is performing on Saturday the 19th.


The Treaty City will host the biggest parade in the country outside of Dublin, with around 3,500 participants taking to the streets.

St Patrick’s Day itself will also involve Trad Trails in Limerick, and D’Unbelievables are performing at the UCH from the 16th to the 20th.

Sunday March 20 will see over 800 musicians take to the Limerick streets in the International Band Parade and Competition. Now in its 41st year, the event will feature bands from Ireland, the USA and Europe, in a parade that starts in O’Connelll Avenue and ends in Arthur’s Quay Park.


Festivities actually got under way in Armagh last week, with a concert from Cara Dillon in St Patrick’s  Cathedral. The spiritual home of the patron Saint will feature another Cathedral concert on the 19th. Neil Delamare provides some comedy relief on the same night for those looking for something a bit different.

Other highlight of the festival programme include Busking in the City and performances by the Armagh Pipers Club, both taking place on Saturday.