From March 16th-20th 2011, Dublin will become the party capital of the world thanks to the annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival. St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most popular annual festivals around the world and nowhere is this more apparent than in Dublin where huge numbers of locals and visitors come together to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style. Throughout the festival, you can enjoy everything from funfairs to concerts to walking tours to the all-important St. Patrick’s Day Parade. So don your shamrock and head to Dublin for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Dublin to party on St. Patrick’s Day, check out some of this year’s festival highlights...
1. St. Patrick’s Festival Céilí
Traditional Irish dancing will be the main event at this celebration of Irish culture. Everyone will have the chance to get involved in the dancing, with music provided by a number of top traditional Irish musicians. Don’t worry if you don’t know the steps as expert coaching will be provided on the day so you’ll be well able to join in during the likes of the ‘Walls of Limerick’.
Location: St. Stephen’s Green.
Dates: Wednesday, March 16th from 4.30pm-7.30pm.
2. In the Footsteps of St. Patrick – Walking Tour
Top Dublin attractions like Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Castle and St. Patrick’s Cathedral are included in this walking tour which focuses on sites in Dublin connected with either St. Patrick himself or with the early Christian church in Ireland. What’s more, on the 17th the tour is free for anyone named Patrick/Paddy/Pat!
Location: Tourist Information Office on College Green opposite Trinty College.
Dates: Wednesday, March 16th – Saturday, March 19th at 2pm.
3. City at Play
Roller coasters, carousels and more will feature as part of the funfairs making up the City at Play section of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival. Attracting visitors of all ages, this is one of the most popular events over the course of the festival.
Location: Merrion Square, Wolfe Tone Park and Custom House Quay.
Admission: Varies between rides.
Dates: Merrion Square – Wed 16th from 6pm-11pm & Thurs 17th-Sun 20th from 11am-11pm; Wolfe Tone Park – Wed 16th from 5pm-8pm & Thurs 17th-Sun 20th from 11am-8pm; Custom House Quay – Thurs 17th from 10am-8pm.
4. Gannon Cup
One the go for 60 years, this popular boating events pits University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin against each other in a race to the finish line. Starting at O’Connell Bridge, the race will finish at St. James Gate where you’ll find the Guinness Brewery.
Location: Race starts at O’Connell Bridge.
Dates: Thursday, March 17th from 9.30am.
5. St. Patrick’s Festival Parade
Huge numbers of local and visitors will line the streets of Dublin to watch the extravagant St. Patrick’s Festival Parade as it makes its way through the city centre on St. Patrick’s Day. Colourful floats, street theatre marching bands, Irish dancing and lots more will all feature at the Parade, which is the centrepiece of this year’s festival.
Location: Starts at Parnell Square.
Dates: Thursday, March 17th from 12noon.
Poet Seamus Heaney, author Roddy Doyle and musician Damien Dempsey are just a few of the great Irish talents taking part in DublinSwell, a celebration of literature in Dublin, which has been named a UNESCO City of Literature. Readings, film, stage performances and live music will all feature during this enjoyable event.
Location: Convention Centre Dublin.
Dates: Friday, March 18th from 7.30pm.
7. Literary Treasure Hunt
Taking participants to some of the city’s most historic areas and attractions, this treasure hunt will provide fun for all the family as you solve clues which will bring you to a number of venues across Dublin.
Location: City Hall.
Dates: Team registration from 10am-1pm, event finishes at 5pm.
8. The Commitments 20th Anniversary Reunion Concert
Reuniting many members of the original cast, this concert will celebrate the music of The Commitments, one of the most popular Irish movies. Some of the cast members set to perform at the event include Glen Hansard of ‘The Frames’ and Once fame, along with Andrew Strong, Bronagh Gallagher and more.
Location: The O2.
Dates: Saturday, March 19th from 8.30pm.
9. St. Patrick’s 5km Festival Road Race
Now in its sixth year, this popular road race will start at the Mansion House before following a route through Georgian Dublin.
Location: Starts from the Mansion House on Dawson Street.
Admission: Entry fee $15, free to watch.
Dates: Sunday, March 20th from 12noon.
10. Big Day Out
Almost like another festival within the wider St. Patrick’s Festival celebrations, the Big Day Out attracts large crowds who come to enjoy a day of entertainment. Some things you can expect at this year’s Big Day Out include street theatre, live music, performances by Irish and international acts and fun activities for people of all ages.
Location: Merrion Square.
Dates: Sunday, March 20th from 12noon.