Perhaps without argument St Patrick’s Day in Dublin is the most festive celebration of the Irish national holiday in the world. As the capital of Ireland, Dublin’s festive atmosphere should come as no surprise. This is the city where Guinness and Jamieson are made, where street theater, music, comedy, and wacky costumes are all just another normal element of the celebration. After a long winter, the St Patrick’s Festival in Ireland is also a way to welcome spring. Local people emerge from their winter hibernation and take to the streets bedecked in green for one of their favorite holidays of the year. While festivities are spread over the course of several days, one of the highlights is the 2016 Dublin St Patrick’s Day parade.
St Patrick’s Day in Dublin is celebrated when purists say it should be—on the date of March 17, no matter what day of the week it falls on. Other cities throughout the world, such as Boston, Chicago, and Vancouver have all scheduled their festivities for the weekend closest to March 17, but in Dublin, the holiday is still celebrated as it should be. As this is a national holiday, the local people have the day off work, and the general atmosphere is a festive one. The only businesses you can expect to be open are pubs, restaurants, and a few shops, and even the people working might have an unusual smile on their faces as the infectious atmosphere of St Paddy’s Day takes over.
The Dublin St Patrick’s Day Parade is the main event. Beginning at noon, the parade marches down O’Connell Street and through the city center past Trinity College. If you want to get a good view of this favorite part of the St Patrick’s Festival in Ireland, it is best to arrive early, and be prepared to climb onto someone’s shoulders for a glimpse of the giant puppets, dance groups, floats, marching bands, and theater groups. One aspect of the colorful display is more impressive than the next, and the parade each year features a theme.
If you’ve arrived at the parade route too late to get a good seat, don’t worry—the parade is broadcast live on television. Head for the nearest pub and spend your St Patrick’s Day 2016 in Dublin nursing a few pints of Guinness, enjoying an Irish delicacy or two, such as Irish stew with brown soda bread, and reveling in the atmosphere. Many pubs in Dublin are known for their live music, and St Paddy’s Day is an occasion where the best performers in town take to the stage to play the traditional favorites. The pub in Ireland is a family-friendly place, so don’t be shy about bringing the kids in to see this side of Irish culture during the day.
The St Patrick’s Festival in Ireland is spread over several days leading up to the main event. Get your kids involved in treasure hunts or the fun fair, book tickets for one of the many comedy shows, or attend one of the concerts featuring Irish music. If you’re in Dublin for the first time, the general atmosphere of the holiday will be upbeat. Whether you’re strolling down Grafton Street or taking it all in from a seat in the pub, the pride and welcoming nature of the Irish will make watching the Dublin St Patrick's Day parade and festivities a day you won’t soon forget.