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Guide to St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin

October 23
8 min read
Explore the scenic beauty of Ireland with captivating images showcasing landscapes, castles, and vibrant cities. Plan your journey with this comprehensive travel guide to Ireland; guide to St. Patrick's Day in Dublin
Table of Contents

    Experiencing St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland… a dream come true! Despite being actually an American holiday, Ireland has embraced the celebration and added their own twist to the American celebration. Many of the larger cities In Ireland have festivals, parties, and parades, but the largest celebration is in Dublin. Ironically, the majority of locals actually leave during March 16th-19th, not wanting to get caught in the heavy traffic, drunk partiers, and the sea of tourists. However, this is a once in a lifetime experience that you won’t want to miss. As someone who was in Ireland for a week and there during Dublin’s holiday celebration, I have curated a complete guide to St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. Continue below to learn what to expect, how to make the most of your visit to this world-famous event, and insider tips!

    Where to Stay for St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin

    As a major tourist holiday and destination, all accommodations price hike up from March 15th to March 19th. By October, prices even for hostels and Airbnbs are at double their usual price! The prices are then tripled and quadrupled by January and February… don’t even think of the prices in March if there are any still available. I highly recommend booking your accommodations starting in October even if you’re considering attending the big event. You can always cancel.

    Within Dublin are a variety of hotels, hostels, couch surfing services, Airbnbs, etc. all offering different prices. When considering which to select for St. Patrick’s Day, be aware that the city center and most especially Temple Bar area are the most expensive and party-central. That means if you want cheaper prices and not to be awake all night from the party shenanigans, book a little outside and closer towards the suburbs and neighborhoods. The public transportation in Dublin is very easy to use and runs late into the evenings during the holiday.

    Some tours and group packages have pre-set group rates which are usually cheaper and at 3-star hotels and Bed and Breakfasts. If you’re looking for more of a go-with-the-flow adventure, with everything present, consider investigating these group package options. Be aware that sometimes these groups book a year in advance, as soon as the website opens for the following year’s groups. 

    When I visited Dublin, I booked my Airbnb closer to the suburbs in a shared flat in October. With the price hikes and the early booking in a shared space, I was still paying 180 euros a night! For reference, a bed in a 10 room mixed hostel was 100 euros per night from March 16th to 19th. This is why I recommend starting your search and bookings early. Despite my accommodation being a little out of the city center, people were out walking around late into the evenings and I experienced no problems during the holiday.

    Getting Around St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin

    Public transportation routes begin to change and road closures start in the morning of March 16th. They remain changed and closed until late afternoon of March 18th as volunteers and workers set up for the big parade on the 17th. People will start cleaning up right away in the evening of the 17th, but still need to ensure safety for the people participating in nightlife after the parade. 

    On March 17th, don’t even try to drive or use public transportation. With over 500,000 people flocking to Dublin to witness the parade and participate in the shenanigans traffic is horrendous including parking costs. Just watch or participate in the day’s festivities.

    Tickets for St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin

    Good news! To attend the parade is free except if you wish to sit in the Grandstands. These sections have their own port-a-potties and bleachers that are covered. This can be beneficial if you don’t want to stand for hours, fight for your spot, or get caught in the rain… all of which I did and succeeded without the passes. For more information about the Grandstand packages, click here. As mentioned earlier in the guide, you will need to book the tickets in advance since everything sells out for St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin.

    What to Expect at the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration in Dublin

    Events and performances will occur throughout the week to help start getting people into the holiday spirit. On March 17th, the main event takes place: the parade. The parade starts at 12 noon and winds through all of Dublin starting at Parnell Street, in the north, to Kevin Street in the south. However, people will start solidifying their spots starting at 10am! That means you need to plan your food, prepare for the weather, and plan your bathroom situation accordingly if you wish to be at the front of the barriers and with a good view. People travel around the globe to witness this event, so be prepared to stand your ground when it comes to your viewing spot.

    When the parade starts, it will last for approximately 3 to 4 hours. Within the parade is the St. Patrick’s Day King and Queen, city mayor, political representatives, EMS and fire teams, many Irish cultural singing and dancing groups, different organizations performing different themes (some political such as aliens and the media), and of course every single marching band that comes from a high school or university with Irish relations or descent. It’s truly a sight to see. 

    Once the parade concludes, some people will head home to freshen up or rest. The majority will begin to grab food and hit the pubs for the bar crawls and hopping. The Guinness will begin to flow! By the time the sun goes down, the night clubs will open up. Prepare for long lines and steep taxi fares if you’re into nightlife, including clubs, bars, and live music. People will continue very late into the evening. The majority of places will begin to close up and kick people out at 4am.

    Bonus tip: Avoid Temple Bar area if possible! It may seem like the place to be, but it is flooded with teenagers and people in their early 20s and the prices are double than at other bars.

    What to Drink

    First of all, bring water especially if you’re planning on keeping the party going all day. The most popular drink of the celebration? Guinness of course! Bars, pubs, and the nightclubs receive large deliveries of alcohol throughout the week to prepare, trying to keep as many options on tap as possible. Due to the craziness of the celebration, I suggest avoiding cocktails and sticking to what’s on tap. Otherwise you might be refused service. The most go-to of the night tend to be Guinness, Magners, and Harp. Throughout this one night, over 15 million pints of Guinness will be drunk.

    Explore the scenic beauty of Ireland with captivating images showcasing landscapes, castles, and vibrant cities. Plan your journey with this comprehensive travel guide to Ireland; guide to St. Patrick's Day in Dublin

    What to Wear for St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin

    Dress comfy and dress appropriately for the weather, but most importantly… WEAR GREEN! Otherwise expect to get pinched and roasted all day long, including looking like the odd one out. Event merchandise and green attire are often twice the price, targeting both tourists and attendees of St. Patrick’s Day events. Also, wear comfortable walking shoes. The parade lasts for hours and so do the celebrations after. Check the weather in advance before your departure, and pack green clothing.

    St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin Facts

    1. Say the full name of the holiday, “St. Patrick’s Day” or call it “St. Paddy’s Day.” “Patty” is the female version of “Patricia,” not “Patrick.”
    2. Witness the “greening” of Dublin with all of the buildings and street lights being switched to green.
    3. Masses and events are held on March 17th at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christchurch Cathedral to celebrate the day.
    4. Remember that St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday so banks, post offices, and government offices will be closed.

    As the shamrocks fade and the echoes of lively celebrations quiet, St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin reminds us of the rich heritage, lively spirit, and unforgettable moments. This makes this celebration truly special. Whether you revel in the colorful parades, sipped pints of Guinness, or soak in the cultural fervor, St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin leaves an indelible mark on your memories, inviting you to return to the heart of Ireland’s festivities year after year. This guide to St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin is sure to help you maximize your celebration! Enjoy the craic! Sláinte!

    Planning a visit to Ireland? Check out my complete travel guide!

    Planning a visit to Ireland? Read my city guides below:

    Travel Guides to Belfast, Cork, Dublin, and Galway.

    Other travel inspiration for Ireland:

    Top 5 Places to Visit in Ireland

    Authentic Irish Food and Drinks to Try in Ireland

    Top 10 Irish Souvenirs

    Top 10 Places for Drinks and Nightlife in Dublin

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