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How to celebrate St Patrick's Day 2024 across Ireland
Head to one of the many parades and celebrations happening across Ireland over the St Patrick's Day weekend.
The three-day St Patrick's weekend is nearly here, and you can expect a full programme of parades and celebrations across the country on 17 March and beyond. In Dublin, St Patrick’s Festival will be at full throttle, with the return of the world class parade as well as street theatre and live music.

Whether you want to run a half marathon in Mullingar or climb a mountain in Mayo, there are plenty of ways to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in Ireland.

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1Catch a parade

What's St Patrick's Day without a parade? In Galway, the city’s theatrical heritage always guarantees a fantastic parade and street performances, like those by the Macnas theatre group, which will be marching with their giant puppetry creations and their Youth Ensemble. The parade will kick off a four-day celebration across the city, with family entertainment, vintage amusements and an outdoor craft village. 

See how exuberant the festivities are at Dublin's St Patrick's Festival, the largest celebration of Irish culture worldwide. Catch the marching bands, unique floats and extraordinary pageants by groups like Spraoi and the Inishowen Carnival that will weave through the city's busiest streets on Sunday. Then hit the Festival Quarter for dance, trad and and more performances all weekend long.

Of course, the fun doesn't stop with Galway and Dublin. The whole country comes alive with their own twist on St Patrick's Day, with unique parades that represent the history behind each county. 

Street performers in the 2017 St Patrick's Day parade in Dublin city
Join the crowds at some of the country's most colourful parades.
2Tap into culture in Limerick

There’s plenty taking place in Limerick over the long weekend. With the theme set as "Limerick: A Different Kind of Energy," this year's St Patrick's Festival Limerick will be a celebration of Limerick's heritage and unique spirit. On Sunday, the Limerick International Band Championship will see marching bands from all over the world take to the streets in the hopes of winning the big title. 

Street performer in the 2023 St Patrick's Day parade in Limerick city
Celebrate Limerick's culture at the city's vibrant parade.
3Go traditional in Kilkenny

In medieval Kilkenny, the St Patrick’s Festival Kilkenny will include acrobatic performances, street food and a vintage carousel alongside the centrepiece parade. Stop by the Pop-up Gaeltacht and put your Irish language skills to the test. 

Alongside the St Patrick’s Day festivities, the concurrent Kilkenny Tradfest brings free trad gigs, live sessions and folk music in several venues around the city, including trad pubs and the Watergate Theatre.

See trad musicians and dancers perform across Kilkenny City.
See trad musicians and dancers perform across Kilkenny City.
4Have fun in Sligo

The streets of Sligo will turn into a sea of floats and performers for their Sligo St Patrick's Festival parade on March 17. With the theme set as "The Wild Atlantic Way," this year's festivities will celebrate 10 years of the beautiful coastal route, turning the town into a hub for live music. Check out the Open Air Gig Rig, and take in performances from headlining acts like King Kong Company and Jenny Greene. 

Sligo St Patrick's Day Parade
See the parade, head to the market or catch a show in Sligo.
5Spend the weekend in Cork

There’s a jam-packed schedule of events in Cork, from the main parade on St Patrick’s Day to a flurry of activity all over the city that weekend. Take a guided tour of Blackrock Castle Observatory or head to Nano Nagle Place and browse work from Irish designers. Little ones can follow the Saints and Shamrocks Trail all weekend or join in the fun of the Cork Lions Club Patrick's Hill Ball Run. Trad sessions will also be on all festival long at pubs around the city.

Down in West Cork, you can celebrate in style at the Bantry Goes Green festival with marching bands, floats and live music. 

For those searching for a good giggle, The Comedy Club - City Limits are hosting their very own Funny Fridays St Patrick's Weekend Special. Laugh along with the crowd as talented Cork comedians like Chris McShane, Micheal Roche and more serve up some of their best material. 

Street performers in the 2023 St Patrick's Day Parade in Cork city
Get in the party spirit at Grand Parade.
6Celebrate in Waterford

Although the first St Patrick’s Day parade ever held in Ireland was in Waterford back in 1903, St Patrick’s Day Festival Waterford has more in store than its parade.

You can take in views of the entire festival from the comfort of a river cruise, or admire the talent showcased at the Irish Dancing Booley House Trad Show. Brig the kids to the City Centre Fairground, or learn more about the historic county on one of the walking tours taking place across the four-day celebration. 

A performer at the 2023 St Patrick's Day Parade in Waterford
See dancers, acrobats and musicians take to the streets of Waterford.
7Have a ball in Kerry

In Kerry, the theme for this year’s St Patrick’s Festival Killarney is "Echoes of Killarney Past," so you can expect to see elements of Killarney's tales and folklore incorporated into the colourful floats.

Listen to classic Irish tunes by candlelight in St Mary's Church of Ireland. Or admire some of Killarney's most famous landmarks lit up in green. If you have little ones, stop by the Anam Cultural Centre for Myths and Legends for Families and watch as the kiddos get lost in Irish folklore.

Get involved in all the St Patrick's Day events on offer in Killarney.
Get involved in all the St Patrick's Day events on offer in Killarney.
8Climb a mountain in Westport

For the devout (and those who love climbing hills), climbing Croagh Patrick is a St Patrick’s Day rite of passage. Every year, hundreds of people climb Westport’s holy mountain, where St Patrick is said to have fasted at the summit for 40 days. It’s a challenging climb but the views from the top are spectacular, with all of Clew Bay spread out before you. 

If you don’t want to climb all the way to the top, you can hike to the first viewpoint to get a sampling of the scenery and the smattering of tiny islands in the bay.  

Two hikers looking at Croagh Patrick in County Mayo
Admire the spectacular views from Croagh Patrick.
9Cheer on Ireland at the Six Nations

The country will be on tenterhooks on March 16, when Ireland plays Scotland in their final match of the Six Nations rugby championship. The game will take place in the Aviva Stadium but will be on many a television screen all over the country. Get into the match-day spirit by watching with other rugby fans in one of Ireland’s cosiest pubs or one of Dublin's best rugby pubs

Exterior image of Aviva Stadium in Dublin city
Snag a ticket to the Six Nations in the Aviva.
10Head to Hook Lighthouse in Wexford

As well as the parade in Wexford town, there's plenty of ways get into the St Patrick’s Day spirit throughout the county. Down at Hook Lighthouse's café, grab breakfast before taking part in a day full of activities, from art sessions to a treasure hunt on the Peninsula. If your name is Patrick, Pat, Paddy or Patricia, you can even get a free tour of the Lighthouse.

Hook Head Lighthouse in Wexford.
Enjoy a free tour of the lighthouse if your name is Patrick, Pat, Paddy or Patricia.
11Run the Mullingar Half Marathon

Fancy getting active on the Bank Holiday weekend? The Mullingar Half Marathon is taking place on 17 March, with a 21km route on flat but beautiful terrain. You’ll start in the town centre before taking in the nearby countryside, weaving along the Royal Canal and then back into Mullingar Town Park. There’s also a 5km run, if you’re not quite up for the full 21km. 

Family cycling the Royal Canal Greenway, Co Westmeath
Take part in or watch the Mullingar Half Marathon.
12Cross the bridge from Ballina to Killaloe

This particularly special parade links not only two towns, but two counties. The parade route connects the twin towns of Ballina in Clare and Killaloe in Tipperary, crossing the Killaloe Bridge over the River Shannon at the mouth of Lough Derg. There are prizes awarded on the day for the best floats, with plenty of local businesses and clubs getting into the creative spirit. After the parade, be sure to take the time to wander around both towns, where local homes and shops go to town with their patriotic decorations in the hopes of winning the prize of Best Dressed Window. 

Bridge between Killaoe and Ballina in Co Clare
Wander from Ballina to Killaloe.
Keep celebrating

Ireland is no stranger to celebration throughout the year — check out all the festivals and events happening around the country.

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