St. Patrick's Day Dublin

How to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin

If there’s one holiday that is synonymous with visiting Ireland, it’s gotta be St. Patrick’s Day. Though – as is usually the case – Americans have taken the concept of St. Patrick’s Day to a whole new level, the Irish have long celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in a variety of ways.

When I went to Ireland in 2013, I was excited that my trip would coincide with celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. Looking back now, I can see how my experience of Dublin was very different from having visited around one of the most “stereotypical” holidays in the country. Nevertheless, it was on my bucket list at the time, and maybe it’s on yours too.

Visiting Dublin when it’s not St. Patrick’s Day? Here are some ideas for how to spend a perfect day in Dublin.

Here are my suggestions for making the most of this annual tradition, even if it’s not really an authentic Irish tradition anymore.

Step 1: Pack Green

If you’re going all in for St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, you’d better not get caught without green clothes. Plenty of street vendors sell beads and scarves and hats if you forget, but it’s better to plan ahead and bring your own favorite green clothes.

Here are some of the green clothes I recommend:

You can go as green as you like – you won’t stand out for wearing too much green on St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin!

Step Two: Book Accommodation near the heart of Dublin

Presumably, you’re planning ahead to spend St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. As such, I’d recommend booking a place to stay, like, yesterday. There are many hotels in Dublin (see top hotels on TripAdvisor), and a few good Airbnbs.

Here are some good choices, within a close walking distance of the parade route, the Ha’penny Bridge, and Temple Bar:

Protip: If you’ve never stayed in an Airbnb before, click here to get $35 off your first stay!

Step Three: Prepare Libations

Like other European countries, Ireland is somewhat liberal in their alcohol laws, and St. Patrick’s Day is a perfectly reasonable day to start drinking in the morning.

If you’re visiting Dublin for a few days, consider going early to take a tour of the Guinness Brewery or Jamieson Distillery. You can buy a ‘souvenir’ and enjoy it on St. Patrick’s Day. Having a drink can also help keep you warm, as a March morning in Dublin can be chilly.

St. Patrick's Day Parade

Step Four: Get a Good Spot for the Parade

On St. Patrick’s Day, I recommend getting up early to get a good spot for the famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The route through Dublin runs from near St. Mary’s Place (north of the river) to St. Patrick’s Cathedral (south of the river) and starts at 11:00am. It’s not too hard to find a spot along O’Connell Street, but it can be pretty crowded by the time the parade reaches this point in the route. No matter what, you’ll see some amazing floats (like the whale, pictured above!), energetic leprechauns, and a lot of drunk foreigners wearing green.

Step Five: Warm Up Over a Whiskey

Even if you’ve dressed warmly and tried to prepare for the Irish chill, March 17th is still a cold day to stand outside and watch a parade.

Once the parade is over, head to a local pub for a whiskey or pint of beer. They’ll be quite packed with fellow visitors and locals doing the same! Personally, I found myself happily sipping a warm concoction featuring Powers Whiskey in a crowded multi-story pub on Parnell Street.

Step Six: Refuel with Dinner and Pints

Though St. Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday, most people who make the pilgrimage today do it with the idea of drinking and partying a lot. Nevertheless, it’s important to have food throughout the day, to “help keep your energy up.”

Throughout Dublin, you’ll find restaurants open and serving dinner as the sun goes down. Whether you choose a traditional pub dinner or opt for an ethnic cuisine like Italian or Mexican, there are options within walking distance of the River Liffey.

Oh, don’t forget: order a Guinness to wash dinner down, and then decide: keep going, or call it a night?

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Dublin: Explore Temple Bar

Step Seven: Go Bar-Hopping in Temple Bar

Assuming you aren’t yet completely exhausted, consider heading over to the popular Temple Bar district to enjoy a few more libations. Most pubs will have drink specials and be filled to the brim with others celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with silly behavior.

As pubs in Dublin stay open until 1:30am, you can expect to carry on right until the end of St. Patrick’s Day, if you so choose. Just don’t forget to have a few glasses of water throughout the night, so that March 18th isn’t a complete loss as you recover from a haze of great green fun.

Have fun as you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin!

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