There are lots of ways to enjoy St Patrick’s Day, from parades, parties and pints of Guinness to pilgrimage walks and hearty traditional Irish food.

Ireland’s biggest festival is on the horizon and across the island towns and cities are gearing up for the annual St Patrick’s Day celebrations (17 March).

Fabulous festivals will take place in cities from Armagh in the north to Cork in the south and Galway in the west, with the biggest and most flamboyant taking place in Dublin.

The theme of Dublin’s St Patrick’s Festival 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 together as one.

The St Patrick’s Day parade will feature a new opening pageant featuring an interactive AR element in the parade 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.

Across the island you can expect a carnival atmosphere, music in the streets, art exhibitions, comedy, dance, walks, talks and more.

The ‘wearing of the green’ tradition will be front and centre with people donning green clothes, green wigs, green face paint and bunches of shamrock to proudly mark their Irish identity.

Traditional Irish music will spill out from every pub in the land and there is often dancing in the streets, especially after a few pints of ‘the black stuff’.

But there are other ways to celebrate the big day too.

For some, discovering the story of the saint and his legacy in Ireland is the best way to mark the occasion.

The perfect place to start is at the only permanent exhibition dedicated to St Patrick in the world, the Saint Patrick Centre in County Down. It has recently undergone a major refurbishment to put in place state-of-the-art interactive audio-visual presentations.

From there you can embark on the St Patrick’s Pilgrim Walk, which visits important sites in Patrick’s story and is just one of many journeys you can undertake to follow in the footsteps of the saint across the island.

In Northern Ireland, climbing Slemish Mountain in County Antrim, where the saint is said to have tended sheep, is a popular St Patrick’s Day activity, as is walking the St Patrick’s Way: The Pilgrim Walk.

And for others the perfect St Patrick’s Day celebration is a meal with friends to enjoy some traditional Irish fare.

This might feature seafood chowder, coddle (a traditional potato and sausage stew), wild Atlantic salmon, slow roasted lamb or colcannon (potatoes, dairy and cabbage).

The island of Ireland is fast gaining a reputation for culinary excellence and chefs up and down the country are bringing innovation to traditional Irish recipes using the freshest local ingredients.

So if home cooking isn’t on the menu, a night out in a restaurant is the ideal way to celebrate the day with fine food. Finish the evening with an Irish coffee or a drop of Irish whiskey and the traditional toast of sláinte (health) or Beannachtam na Feile Padraig! (Happy St Patrick’s Day!).