I know St. Patrick’s Day seems like a long way away but it’ll come quickly (I should know, it’s also my birthday)! When I started planning my trip to Dublin last year in January I thought there was going to be loads of time to book and plan everything but it sneaked up on me and I didn’t get to do many of the events.
While researching my trip, I found out that there is more to St. Patrick’s Day than day-drinking. Who knew! There was a St. Patrick’s Day Festival from March 16 to March 19 in the City of Dublin and everything was well worth checking out. The schedule comes out early February and events are added until the beginning of March. Be sure to check often: I didn’t and there were a few events I missed because I didn’t request a ticket early enough.
Activities: There are a few paid events and lots of free ones. I went to the Festival Ceili (free), St Patrick’s Day Parade (free) and did a walking tour ($). I really wanted to do the city wide scavenger hunt (free) but had booked my Guinness tour prior to knowing about it, and a few other free events looked so fun but I just couldn’t make it/didn’t get a ticket.
Of course there are tons of people day drinking in the city (particularly along Temple Bar) and keep in mind March 17 is a holiday in Ireland so some places may be closed if you choose to be a tourist.
Accommodations: I tried booking accommodations in January 2017 to attend in March 2017. Most places required you to book a minimum of 3 nights (some were 5 or 7) between dates surrounding March 17. The problem with booking online was that March 17 sold out the fastest. So, when I looked in January only one place was available for a minimum booking of 3 nights but March 17 was booked solid (i.e. I had to book for the 15, 16 and 18 online but couldn’t find a room for the 17). I emailed the hostel and they were able to book me a private room ($$$$$$$). BUT, when I checked in they had single beds in multi dorms available and let me switch (thank goodness, saved myself a pretty penny). I spoke with other people who were staying at my hostel who booked up to a week before St. Patrick’s Day and they were able to get one or two nights’ accommodation. Another guy literally showed up on the 16th and asked if they had any beds available. I recommend looking online but check regularly to get a place you want. If you’re more spontaneous you can certainly show up day of to see if there is anything available but if you’re going with a group then chances are you’ll be split up.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade: A few reviews online told me to go early to get a good spot – they weren’t kidding. I arrived on the street around 11 AM (parade started at 12 PM) and couldn’t get a spot right at the railing so I stood behind a few kids so I could at least see over them. By the time the beginning of the parade got to me on Dame Street near Trinity College, it was 1 PM (see below for a map). A few bars opened around 12 PM and some people (not me) were smart enough to stand by the entrance to get a good seat inside. The parade itself was fantastic! I didn’t get to stick around for the whole thing but what I saw was great (but have you ever been to a parade that wasn’t?).
Guinness Storehouse Brewery Tour: I thought I was being smart and booked my brewery tour for March 18 at 10 AM. I think everyone had the same thought I did (or there were just so many people in Dublin to do it at the same time). It’s a self-guided tour but because it was so busy, each text board was so crowded that I pretty much just walked straight through the tour to the “Perfect Pour” station. The ticket is approximately €20 and you get one pint included: you can choose to get it at the Perfect Pour station or up at the Gravity Bar. If you choose to do the Perfect Pour, you can still go to the Gravity Bar after.
Do you have any interest to go to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day? Have you been?