While St. Patrick’s Day is considered an Americanized holiday, many tourists take to Ireland to celebrate the festive day. If you’ve never celebrated the holiday in a city like Boston or Chicago before, you may be overwhelmed in Ireland at first. I feared the packed streets and craziness of everyone drinking and celebrating, but quickly learned that there are many different ways to celebrate the day. I had a more relaxed weekend, with a focus on exploring the city. From hitting the local pubs and bars to navigating the parade, here are some tips for St. Patrick’s Day Dublin style.
Where to stay
We spent the weekend at a gorgeous Airbnb in Kinsealy, north of the city of Dublin and only about a 10-minute drive from the airport. The town was quiet and very safe, and while it took us about twenty to thirty minutes to get into the city, the buses are fairly reliable and we were glad we stayed a bit outside the city!
Kinsealy is also near Howth, a quaint little fishing village and an excellent getaway from the city. While you might not have time to check out the suburbs on your St. Patrick’s Day Dublin trip, Howth is definitely on our list of places to check out next time around in Ireland.
If you’re looking into staying at a hotel on the holiday weekend, make sure you book plenty in advance to ensure you get a room and avoid paying sky-high rocketed prices. Avoca House Bed & Breakfast is an excellent choice, located only a mile from the city center, featuring wooden floors and pine furniture that give the hotel a rustic and homey vibe.
Here are some other great hotel options for your St. Patrick’s Day Dublin weekend:
Pubs, pubs and more pubs
One thing is for sure: the Irish don’t mess around when it comes to alcohol. Luckily, there are a number of excellent spots to get your drink on, and you won’t have to look far to find a pub that’s just right for you.
A must-have if you head to a pub before midday is a classic Irish breakfast, which often consists of meats like bacon and sausages, beans, eggs, mushrooms, potatoes and black or white pudding. The protein-packed plate will give you all the fuel you need for the busy weekend!
Then in the evening, make sure you check out the number of interesting bars in the area. The Bar with No Name is a popular spot, as is suggested by the mystery of the name, but we chose Idlewild Bar right next door instead. The stained glass windows and cozy wooden decor made this spot one that we would definitely return to.
Temple Bar is the main area to go out at night, with a number of bars and clubs ranging from smaller and intimate to bigger, more dance-oriented spots. For St. Patrick’s Day, Dublin bars will be abuzz with tourists and locals alike. I recommend trying the slightly more lowkey Bad Bobs, which is a combination bar, pub, restaurant and club. The large venue offers up live music and great cocktails.
Check out some of the other spots in Temple Bar:
Shop along Grafton Street
If the element that’s been missing from your shopping trips is some Ed Sheeran tunes, look no further than Grafton Street to enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day Dublin weekend. This street has become even more popular from the singer’s “Galway Girl,” and is a nice central area full of shops and cafes to stroll down for the weekend.
Just past the crowded streets and bustling shop, head to some green space at Grafton Street Park to sit and relax in the midst of the busy holiday weekend. After all, you’ll need the energy to fully enjoy the parade on Sunday!
Tips for the parade
If you’re in the market for some Irish souvenirs for the parade, join the multiple other tourists popping into Carrolls Irish Gifts to get a T-shirt or some fun swag–there’s one on just about every street you’ll walk down. It might seem tacky to be decked out in green decor from head to toe, but if you want to fit in with the crowd, it’s the way to go.
The parade starts at noon, at the northern edge of Parnell Square, and finishes, naturally, at St. Paul’s Cathedral after around 2 pm. However, it’s best to arrive around 10 and stake out a good spot (especially if you’re short, too!). It’s also good to know that public transportation will be severely restricted, so keep in mind the new bus schedules when planning your pre- and post- parade activities.
Other popular attractions
While we decided against the Guinness Storehouse tour (or should I say, we didn’t buy the tickets in time) it’s certainly a great idea for your St. Patrick’s Day Dublin weekend. After perusing the seven floors of the factory at your own pace, you can get a complimentary Guinness to end the tour the right way.
The National Gallery was an interesting spot to hit, and we spent about an hour perusing the variety of artwork, featuring prominent works from artists like Pablo Picasso. The best part? The museum is completely free to visit.
Trinity College is also a scenic place to explore, and you can hop in line and take a tour of the library if time permits. The Book of Kells, a famous medieval manuscript that documents the four Gospels. While you may choose not to take one of these official tours, just walking around the campus of the top-ranked school in Ireland is a great bucket list item to check off.
If you have more time than just the St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Ireland, we suggest taking a road trip along the Wild Atlantic Way. Or, if you decide to check out the beautiful country around Christmastime, we’ve got recommendations for you, too.
What are your St. Patrick’s Day traditions? Where are some other spots in Dublin you love? What’s your favorite part of Ireland?