The St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Dublin, Ireland is a relatively new event. The first festival was held in 1996.
Before 1996, St. Patrick’s was considered a high holy day, a day for church and not for parties. The saloons in Ireland were closed in on the holy holiday, unlike the sometimes rowdy events in America.
In 1995, Ireland decided to capitalize on the popularity of the event and draw tourism by starting to have a celebration event. The first festival was successful and the festival has grown every since.
The St. Patrick’s Festival will run from March 15 to 19 this year. Visitors to the festival will find music, games, street theater, Tastefest (food from around the world), fun fair (rides), City Fusion (art), Parade, Skyfest (fireworks)
The event now attracts about one million visitors, so this festival is a great party .
Here is an overview of some of the highlights of the Festival:
St. Patrick’s Festival Parade
Saturday, March 17
The parade is a delightful array of color and pageantry. The Theme is “Legendary” with spirits of Irish and European and world myths set to come alive through giant inflatables, breathtaking costumes and theater. There will be performance groups from Ireland, Europe,, India, Africa and the USA. The multi-cultural parade is set to rival any parade in the world.
RDS Main Hall
Tastefest, in association with the St. Patrick’s Festival, is a multi-cultural food festival with food from around the world! There will be taster portions from Japan, Malaysia, India, Turkey, Lithuania, Italy, Spain, France, Ireland and more. “Tastefest Tokens’ will purchase taster portions, so you can sample away. There will be cookery demonstration, beverage tastings and live entertainment.
Festival rides in a carnival playground. Jubilee Wheel gives you views from 150 feet high There will be kiddie riders and high flying attractions. You can also play your hand at a game of chance.
The National Lottery Skyfest
Sunday, March 18
The biggest-ever fireworks and music spectacular will light up the magnificent Docklands site. The most exciting show in town will also be a celebration of the National Lottery 20th birthday. The dazzling fireworks will light up the sky. There will be giant illuminated creatures on the Liffey and spectacular lighting effects.
Luminarium at Docklands
Amozozo is a luminous inflatable maze filled with runnels, slopes and 60 triangular shaped domes. The maze is inspired by Islamic architecture. The kaleidoscopic voyage of light and color is based on wandering paths similar to that of a bazaar.
There will be concerts throughout the festival. Musical entertainers include:
Tommy Fleming Concert at the Olympia
Christ Church Cathedral Concert
Clannad Concert at the Olympia
Sharon Shannon Concert at the Olympia
The Waterboys Concert at The Point
There are several hotels that the organizers of the festival recommend.; The festival website has Paddy’s Picks for recommended hotels:
Dublin 2, Ireland
Dublin’s most luxurious five star hotel. The hotel is the epitome of relaxed grandeur with stunning rooms and fine facilities. There are restaurants and bars on the premises. Unwind at the Tethra Spa, which offers advanced fitness equipment, an expansive infinity swimming pool, steam room and luxurious treatment area.
Located in Dublin’s South City centre. Boutique hotel with contemporary decor. Restaurant and bar on premises.
O’Callaghans has six luxury hotels and apartments.
The Westin Hotel
Located within walking distance of many major attractions, pubs and restaurants.
The St. Patrick’s Festival has spectacular entertainment, music, food, games and rides. The parade and fireworks are special events that are magnificent.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Information may be subject to change. It is always wise to verify before making plans