St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland – History & celebrations

St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland – History & celebrations

With March being just around the corner, Irish people prepare for their most popular holiday: St. Patrick’s Day. Today, the holiday is celebrated all over the world and has evolved many festive traditions. It’s origin, however, remains Ireland, and here some of the biggest parades and festivities take place. We will let you know all you need to know about St.Patrick’s Day in Ireland and present some of the festive traditions which have been established over the years.


Why do the Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

St. Patrick’s Day takes place on March 17th. The holiday celebrates St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, who brought Christianity to the island in the 5th century. Legend has it that St. Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity, a symbol that has since become synonymous with both the saint and the holiday. His feast day, March 17th, marks his death and is commemorated with reverence and festivity alike.


Beyond its religious roots, the day has evolved into a jubilant ode to Irish culture, unity, and resilience. It's a time when the Irish and international admirers alike don their emerald attire, raise a glass of stout or whiskey, and revel in the shared spirit of camaraderie.

Source: photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash


Festive Traditions

St. Patrick’s Day Parades

You may have heard about the big St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin. However, there are parades all over the country. With floats, marching bands, dancers and musicians clad in traditional or vibrant green attire the parades snake though cities like Cork, Tullamore, Killarney, and even smaller towns like Bray, not too far away from Dublin. Of course, also Northern Ireland is in on the celebration with parades in Belfast and Derry.


Traditional Music & Dancing

Ireland is known for its music as well as Irish dancing (ever heard of Riverdance?). That’s why it’s only logical to celebrate Irish culture and heritage through live music and céilí dancing. Many participants in the parades are dancers or musicians playing traditional instruments like the banjo or bagpipes. But also other St. Patrick’s Day events, from smaller pub performances to the St. Patrick’s Day festival in Dublin, showcase Irish creativity

Source: photo by Johnny Cohen on Unsplash


Greening of Landmarks

With St. Patrick’s Day being celebrated all around the globe – especially in the US, because of their many people of Irish heritage – some traditions that originated there, even come back to Ireland. One example is the dyeing of the river Liffey. Inspired by the city of Chicago, where Chicago River is dyed green every year since 1962, the Liffey was also dyed green for some years, for example 1998 or 2009.

Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day
Source: photo by Viviana Rishe on Unsplash


But not only rivers take on green colour in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day: Many sights in Ireland and around the world are illuminated or dyed to appear green. In Ireland, examples are the Rock of Cashel, Dublin Castle or the Cliffs of Moher, while in Italy it might be the Leaning Tower of Pisa, in Australia the Sydney Opera House or even the christ statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Visit Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day

So, wherever you are in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, it is likely that there are celebrations near you. As March 17th draws near, the Emerald Isle invites everyone with open arms to partake in the magic of St. Patrick's Day. Whether you're savoring a pint of stout in a cozy pub, tapping your feet to the rhythm of a céilí dance, or simply enjoy Irish hospitality, this iconic celebration promises an unforgettable journey into the heart and soul of Ireland. Sláinte!

Source header photo: Amanda Marie on Unsplash

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