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Best time to go to Ireland

St. Patrick's Day 2023

Explore the top five Irish cities to be on St. Paddy's

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St Patrick's Day is the most important national holiday in Ireland and a fantastic opportunity to experience the best of Irish culture. Themed celebrations typically spread for a few days beyond the weekend closest to March 17. During the festive period, the country is drenched in green decor and illuminations, as all cities throughout the country host parades, festivals, and other merriments to mark the big occasion. We've rounded up our top five destinations.

St. Patrick's Festival & Parade in Dublin (mid-March 2023)

The capital city of Ireland is with no doubt the number one! Dublin annually hosts a huge St. Patrick's Festival with a Parade along O'Connell Street, a 5K Race, and a bunch of family-friendly activities. Dozens of special events take place at Dublin's Temple Bar. Besides, you can enjoy the merriments of street carnival, including genuine Irish singing or storytelling, face painting, and concerts. The only drawback of St. Patrick's in Dublin could be crowds.

Cork St. Patrick's Festival (mid-March 2023)

A decent alternative to Dublin's St. Patrick's is Cork City in the south of Ireland. Cork St. Patrick's Festival is a large-scale carnival, famous mainly for its St. Patrick's Parade, featuring marching bands, dancers, and theatre performers. Besides, Cork boasts excellent Irish cuisine, which you can evaluate yourself at Barry's Tea Market and Mahon Point Farmers Market. Plus, make sure to walk around the city center after dark on March 17—over 40 Cork's landmarks will go green.

St. Patrick's Day in Kilkenny (mid-March 2023)

If you crave a less touristy spot, opt for Kilkenny. The small medieval town will mesmerize you with its castle and historic buildings, as well as a big parade during St. Patrick's Day Festival Kilkenny. You'll see American marching bands, partake in workshops, enjoy free events with the whole family, and dance to the live Irish music, played by national and international artists within Kilkenny Tradfest. The Tradfest is accessible to everyone thanks to the option of free and ticketed events.

Limerick St. Patrick's Festival (mid-March 2023)

Families will also appreciate St. Patrick's Day festivities in Limerick City. Limerick St. Patrick's Festival is a city-wide gala, which involves street entertainment and special events held across local theatres, museums, and libraries. The highlights include a vivid parade, music acts, dance shows, arts and crafts sessions, and greenings, of course.

St. Patrick's Day in Galway (March 17–19, 2023)

The last suggestion is Galway in the west of Ireland, which does draw tourists, but not the foreign ones. Most people you encounter across the city's pubs will probably be the Irish coming from different corners of the country. Thus, Galway will perfectly suit those seeking a purely authentic party. Galway's St. Patrick's Day Parade might seem somewhat low-key compared with other destinations, but you'll feast with locals, which is a unique adventure.

Whatever option you choose, we have to warn you that unlimited alcohol during the holiday is a thing. So if you travel with kids, be sure to get out of the crowds before it gets too messy. And another small tip: the Irish don't say "St. Patty's." The right ways to name the holiday are either St. Paddy's or traditionally St. Patrick's Day.

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