St Patrick’s Day parades on the island of Ireland
With parades and celebrations galore taking place across the island, Ireland is the best place to be this St Patrick’s day!
The epicentre of the merriment is the huge St Patrick’s Day Festival in Dublin (16th-19th March). This year’s National St Patrick’s Day parade, driven by community, diversity, youth and sustainability values, will be the most ambitious ever, featuring breath-taking new artistic, interactive and aerial elements. The theme is ‘ONE’, as it issues an open invite to people from all over the world to come to the city to share, to connect, to participate and to celebrate as one. The parade will feature a new opening pageant featuring an interactive AR element for the very first time. Also new for 2023 is Suntas! (meaning take notice!) Suntas! Will feature giant creative interventions on iconic buildings around Dublin, adding layers of storytelling and intrigue, and animating the city in the run up to the festival. Ollphéist (giant monsters) will take over some of the city’s best-known buildings. They will be visible by day and illuminated by night and on Parade Day, the pageant participants will interact with them in an epic battle between good and evil.
In Ireland’s Ancient East, St. Patrick’s Festival Kilkenny (15th – 19th March) celebrates Irish music, culture, and creativity with a big festival in a small city! During the festival, Kilkenny’s intimate city and medieval streets come alive with pageantry, music and family entertainment. There is a mixture of free and paid events from live music, carnival rides, music workshops, street entertainment, a festival market, American marching bands and of course, the big event is their St Patrick’s parade. The festival runs alongside Kilkenny TradFest, a traditional Irish & folk music festival, featuring top Irish musicians and a free music trail in venues across Kilkenny city.
Or why not visit Ireland’s oldest city Waterford! The first municipal parade was held here in 1903 and Waterford maintains the proud tradition in hosting their annual St Patrick’s Day parade. After the phenomenal success of last year’s first ever three-day festival, it’s back this year for three fun filled days from 17th-19th March. The festival will celebrate the very best of what Waterford City has to offer with an eclectic mix of cultural attractions that are guaranteed to entertain including outdoor musical performances, amusements, river cruises, fine cuisine, artistic creations, literature events, history talks and walks, comedy events and much more.
Cork St Patrick’s Festival is returning from 16th – 19th March. A vibrant and colourful display, Cork’s parade features local communities from all across the city, marching bands from near and far, and this year’s theme is ‘A Century of Stories’. Across the city all weekend, there will be traditional music in local pubs, tours and activities in historical and cultural venues as well as great local food.
St Patrick’s Festival Killarney is a celebration of culture and heritage, and this year’s theme ‘Experience More’ embraces the wealth of activities Killarney has to offer all year round. Located on the stunning Wild Atlantic Way, Killarney’s St Patrick’s celebrations offers experiences in the mountains and lakes in the magnificent national park, jaunting car rides and boat tours, history, culture, food, music and fun, culminating in the main event: the gala St Patrick’s Day Parade.
The fun and craic associated with the Limerick St. Patrick’s Festival makes a welcome return to the city streets from 17th – 19th March 2023. The festival will include the traditional St. Patrick’s Day Parade on 17th March, the Limerick International Band Championship taking place this year on Sunday 19th March and a host of other fun-filled events. The theme of this year’s festival is “Discover Limerick”– and there is certainly plenty to discover across the city and county. From Viking settlement to cosmopolitan city, a rich heritage and tradition is tightly woven into Limerick’s fabric. From the 13th Century fortress at King John’s Castle, the Treaty Stone and imposing St. Mary’s Cathedral; to the collections of art and antiquities at the Hunt Museum, Limerick Museum, the People’s Museum of Limerick, the Limerick City Gallery of Art and the elegant architecture of Georgian Limerick. There are so many fascinating stories to uncover at megalithic Lough Gur, home to Ireland’s largest stone circle; in medieval Kilmallock, charming Adare, bustling Newcastle West or at Foynes, the birthplace of the world-famous Irish coffee. Limerick’s culture is a source of pride, from edgy street art and a vibrant live music scene to a calendar bursting with theatre, film, and events.
Also located on the epic Wild Atlantic Way, Sligo St Patricks Day Festival is a fun filled event celebrating the best in Irish music and entertainment. The three-day event takes place in the heart of the town with over 25 live music sessions, food tasting and walking tours. Sligo has a delightful food scene so you can fill up on local, artisan grub. Join the St Patrick’s Festival guided walking tour to get a true feeling of Yeats’ country and learn about the wealth of culture, architecture, history and tales embedded in the winding streets of Sligo. Or sample a selection of aged whiskey and hear the journey of a new distillery nearby.
In Northern Ireland, Armagh’s Home of St Patrick’s Festival returns with an exciting programme of music, art, theatre, film, and dance. This is a chance to reflect on the legacy of St Patrick and have fun celebrating his influence on history and culture. Armagh City is the “Home of St Patrick,” the place where Patrick began his mission. One of the festival highlights is the Vigil Walk which takes place between the two St Patrick’s Cathedrals, the only city in the world to have the honour of having two Cathedrals that share the same name. Another not-to-be-missed highlight is the St Patrick’s Eve Family Fun event, Thursday 16th March, Shambles Yard in Armagh. This outdoor concert offers some of the region’s best musicians and singers, all of them having started in the traditional Irish music scene. The festival programme runs Saturday 11th March to Sunday 19th March 2023 and offers a thrilling showcase of history, culture, traditional music, dance and plenty of good food and drink to sustain you.
Belfast’s annual St Patrick’s celebrations will return in March with a fantastic, welcoming line-up. Along with the main parade through the city centre, a range of other events and activities are planned from Friday March 10th. Belfast is a UNESCO City of Music, and the city will come alive with music events to showcase Belfast’s vibrant music heritage. On St Patrick’s Eve, the sound of some of the island’s most exceptional musical talent will be celebrated at Belfast’s Custom House Square in a family-friendly, fun packed concert presented by The Duncairn Arts Centre. Headlining the event will be award-winning Dublin singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan, who has captivated audiences across the world with her mesmerising vocals and soulful folk-pop sound. This year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade by Beat Carnival is a colourful pageant of costume, music, dance, circus and theatrical performance, and this year’s theme is ‘Voices of Belfast’. A Trad Trail by Féile an Phobail will take place from 10th to 19th March in venues across Belfast and throughout the city centre, with local musicians as well as musicians from all over the island. You can also enjoy live traditional music at St George’s Market on March 17th and on Saturday 18th March, enjoy Celtic Storm’s Concert, a globally acclaimed stage production of Irish Traditional music, song and dance.
In Derry-Londonderry, the Spring Carnival will celebrate the arrival of Spring in all its colourful splendour with a magical programme of music, dance, food, and folklore this St Patrick’s Day. There will be traditional Irish music, food stalls, street theatre performances as well as the St Patrick’s Day Spring Carnival Parade. This year’s parade theme is ‘Recycle and Renewal’ to raise awareness on conserving and harnessing the natural environment around us.