St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most popular annual festivals in the world. While the biggest celebrations happen in Dublin, there are plenty of other St. Patrick’s Day parties to check out around the globe. Here, we take a look at some of the destinations 'going green' this St. Patrick’s Day.
1. London, England
This year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in London will actually take place on Sunday, March 17th (something of a rare occurrence) and will feature colourful floats and marching bands aplenty. Beginning at noon, the parade will start at Green Park in Piccadilly and march towards Trafalgar Square where an all-day festival is taking place. At the Trafalgar Square Festival you’ll find free entertainment from noon to 6pm, including traditional Irish dancing and music. Other events will take place throughout the city leading up to the day itself including storytelling sessions, exhibitions and plenty of parties in some of London’s best Irish pubs.
Image ©EDF Energy London Eye
2. New York, USA
The Empire State Building, one of New York’s top attractions, is ‘going green’ for this year’s celebrations. A staple of St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans in the USA (it’s shown on national TV to millions of viewers), this annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the largest in the world. Starting at 11am on Saturday, March 16th, and lasting for six hours, the parade will march down Fifth Avenue and will feature floats, dancers and bagpipers galore. Expect huge crowds and lots of green beer at the city’s ubiquitous Irish bars.
Image ©Empire State Building
3. Brussels, Belgium
If you’re visiting Brussels on St Patrick's Day and feel like being Irish for the day, you're in for a treat. This year is the 40th anniversary of Ireland’s membership in the European Union – not to mention that Ireland currently holds the Presidency of the EU.
On Saturday, March 16th, the Irish Club of Belgium will be hosting their annual Irish Ball at Concert Noble from 7pm until 4am. The city's St Patrick's Day Parade will be staged the following day in the Schuman area of the EU Quarter in Brussels, which is known as the city's Irish village. Even the Manneken Pis, which is one of the most popular landmarks in Brussels, will be wearing tweed for the occasion.
4. Sydney, Australia
OVisitors to Sydney on the day we all turn Irish will be able to enjoy the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Family Day. The parade is set to start at noon, leaving from the Town Hall on George Street and heading along Park Street and Elizabeth Street before ending up at Hyde Park. This is actually said to be the second-biggest St Patrick’s Day parade, after NYC.
Along with the spectacle of the parade itself, you’ll also be able to enjoy lots of entertainment in Hyde Park from the local and international music acts performing on the main stage to the food stalls and plenty more. This year’s celebrations have an extra-special element, as Hyde Park will also be having its annual citizenship ceremony that day at 2pm.
5. Toronto, Canada
Starting at noon on St Patrick's Day, Toronto’s annual parade will travel along Bloor Street, down Yonge Street and along Queen Street where it will finish at Nathan Phillips Square. Traditionally, leading figures of the local Irish community are selected to be Grand Marshall and this year will see Brian Farmer from Co Armagh lead the parade – he was awarded the GAA President’s Award in 2011. A colourful mix of floats and performers are set to take part in the event, from marching bands to Irish athletic organisations.
6. Munich, Germany
Munich’s St Patrick’s Day parade starts at noon on Ireland's national day and the route will take a great variety of floats and performers from Münchner Freiheit to Odeonsplatz along Leopoldstrasse and Ludwigstrasse. Following the arrival of the parade in Odeonsplatz, revellers will be able to enjoy an after-parade party featuring Irish bands Caladh Nua and Mutefish, alongside a number of other Irish music and dance acts.
7. Boston, USA
Considered to be the most Irish city in the US, Boston celebrates St. Patrick’s Day in style with its annual parade. The second-biggest St Patrick’s Day parade in the country, it’s held in the predominantly Irish-American neighbourhood of South Boston, better known as ‘Southie’. Each year, this parade attracts around a million spectators and is also broadcast live on TV to overseas troops. This time around, the parade is set to start at noon and travel from the Broadway T Station to Andrew Square. Elsewhere, the Dropkick Murphys will have their annual gig at the House of Blues, an unmissable event for anyone looking to party after the parade.
8. Auckland, New Zealand
New Zealand’s tallest manmade structure, the Sky Tower at SKYCITY Auckland, will go green as part of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Leading up to the big day itself, you’ll find plenty of things happening around the city. You can check out the parade which will start at 11am on the day itself and head along Queen and Albert Streets. It’ll be followed by a Fleadh on Aotea Square, where you’ll be able to enjoy traditional Irish music and dancing. Irish music legends Glen Hansard and Lisa Hannigan play the Auckland Arts Festival on Wednesday, March 13th. Of course, Auckland’s numerous Irish pubs will also be hosting lively parties celebrating all things Irish throughout the festival week.
9. Chicago, USA
The dyeing of the Chicago River is one of the highlights of the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the Windy City, one of the USA's top destinations. This year the river will go green on March 16th at around 10am. If you’re in the area and want to watch as it happens, some of the best viewing spots are the east side of the Michigan Avenue Bridge, the west side of the Columbus Drive Bridge and Upper and Lower Wacker Drive between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive. The parade itself will then start at noon leaving from Balbo and Columbus, and heading north up Columbus Drive towards the Buckingham Fountain. Plenty of other events are set to take place throughout the city to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, from a fun run to theatre shows.
Image ©City of Chicago / GRC
10. Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo’s 21st St. Patrick’s Day Parade also will take place this year on the holiday itself. Starting at 2pm, the parade will head along Omotesando Street near Harajuku Station, closed off specially for the parade. Expect colourful costumes, marching bands and floats aplenty to feature as part of the celebrations. Make sure to cheer extra loud for Fukushima's Onahama Daiichi elementary school tin whistle band, who will be bussed down specially for the event, thanks to Ireland Support Japan.
So where will you celebrate St Patrick’s Day?