Where to fly for a Saint Patrick's Day to remember

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Where to fly for a Saint Patrick's Day to remember

On 17 March, everyone becomes Irish for the day. Everywhere, this hugely popular festival whisks you up in a whirlwind of parades, music and Celtic dancing.

Where to fly for a Saint Patrick's Day to remember

Dublin goes wild for Saint Patrick's Day

As night falls and the Spire of Dublin turns green, an entire nation revels in the ambient joy. The lighting of this tall needle-like sculpture kicks off the Saint Patrick's festivities in Dublin. As you take a night-time stroll through the Irish capital, green-lit buildings, such as the Four Courts and Trinity College, plunge you deep into the symbolic world of this huge popular gathering. Everyone is Irish, at least in their hearts, during Saint Patrick's festival. For the whole duration of the festival, from Thursday 14 to Monday 18 March, all over the city, you will come across crowds dressed in green, Irish flags in their hands or painted on their cheeks.

The first few days, admire Dublin through a green filter: buildings, tourist trails and concerts all take on the colour of the festival. In the evening of the 16th, make your way to EPIC, the Irish Emigration Museum. An event entitled “Gnás: Thousands are sailing” tells you all about the Irish exodus through songs and vibrant artistic performances.

Then, it is time to party! On O'Connell Street, you can watch the street entertainment while munching on fluorescent-green popcorn. On the banks of the River Liffey, you get caught up in the frenzy of folk dancing. The Irish zest for enjoying life, their high spirits and craic are infectious. Near Temple Bar, the trendy nightlife area of town, the atmosphere is on overload at O'Shea's Merchant pub. Recharge your batteries with a fish and dill chowder and raise your pint in honour of these warm and friendly people.

Sunday 17 March is the day of the big parade. Make up your face and put on a scarf in the colours of the Irish flag, and head off to Parnell Square. Street theatre groups and extras in historic costumes prepare to march by on the theme of story-telling. Find yourself a good spot by the barriers and enjoy a show full of glitz and glitter, retracing the history of Ireland with good-natured humour.

Saint Patrick's Festival
From 14 to 18 March 2019
Internet House
26 Temple Bar
Dublin 2
+353 1 604 0090

Gnás: Thousands are sailing
16 March 2019 at 6:45 p.m.
CHQ, Custom House Quay
Dublin 1
+353 1 906 0861

O'Shea's Merchant
12a Lower Bridge Street
Dublin 8
+353 1 679 3797


Where to fly for a Saint Patrick's Day to remember

London decks out in green

From 15 to 17 March, the Irish in London take to the streets for the free Saint Patrick's festival. On Saturday, the famous Camden Market dresses with Dublin-colors. Catch talented musicians performing along a live music trail. Stroll amongst the maze of fashion boutiques and street food stands on your way to Dr Martens Boot Room, a small music venue which may just have a surprise guest on the line-up…

And you simply cannot celebrate Irish culture without spending an evening in a pub. That is appropriate then, as the party is in full swing at The Dublin Castle, a famous Camden venue. Make a toast to the patron saint of the Emerald Isle in this pub, known far and wide for its gigs and 100% rock vibe.

Next day, excitement reaches fever pitch in Piccadilly. At midday, a large parade sets the centre of London alight with countless brass bands, riotous floats and Irish dance schools. Follow this joyous procession down to Trafalgar Square. The crowds, painted and dressed in green, gather around a large stage where traditional Irish bands perform one after the other. Whipped along by this crazy atmosphere, you sit down to enjoy an Irish lamb stew which goes perfectly with the bitter taste of a good Guinness, all in moderation, of course!

Saint Patrick's Day Festival
From 15 to 17 March 2019
Trafalgar Square
London WC2N 5DN
United Kingdom

Dr Martens Boot Room
26–28 Camden Stables Market
Chalk Farm Road
Camden Town
London NW1 8AH
United Kingdom
+44 (0)20 300 68080

The Dublin Castle
94 Parkway
London NW1 7AN
United Kingdom
+44 (0)20 7485 1773


Where to fly for a Saint Patrick's Day to remember

The parade of parades in New York

If you are going to New York in March, do not miss the Irish national holiday. The Big Apple is home to the biggest community of Irish Americans anywhere in the United States. And the city's Irish associations do not do things by halves when it comes to celebrating this event! Get to Fifth Avenue at the crack of dawn on Saturday 16 March if you want to catch this huge parade which attracts over two million other curious souls! Majorettes, firefighters and police officers, musicians in their kilts… A procession bursting with colour makes its way along the famous Manhattan artery to the sounds of bagpipes, as Stars and Stripes and Irish flags flutter side by side.

Get in sync with the crowds by sporting a ‘Today I'm Irish' badge and follow the party to the Triple Crown Ale House, a pub not far from Madison Square Garden. With its highly charged atmosphere, long bar and mahogany panel work, you would be forgiven for thinking you are in the heart of Dublin. As evening falls, head out into the streets, thronged with costumed party-goers, and look up to the sky – the top of the Empire State Building is lit with a green glow.

NYC Saint Patrick's Day Parade
16 March 2019
5th Avenue
New York
United States of America

Triple Crown Ale House
330 7th Ave
New York NY 10001
United States of America
+1 212-736-1575


Where to fly for a Saint Patrick's Day to remember

Chicago and its river of fluorescent green

Another great US city celebrates Saint Patrick's Day with gusto. On this day, Chicago even dyes its river bright green! To watch this surreal spectacle, position yourself on the Riverwalk, between State Street and Columbus Drive, from early in the morning. As you wait for the parade to start at 2:00 p.m., you take a walk around the Lincoln Park neighbourhood. A crowd of merry revellers sporting their typical leprechaun hats, that mischievous creature from Irish folklore, pulls you towards Halligan Bar. In this former speakeasy, founded during the Prohibition, you are certain to get a warm welcome. Everyone is having fun and the beer flows freely. Then, go back to the corner of Monroe Street and Columbus Drive. This strategic spot ensures you get a front-row position so you do not miss any of the parade of floats, dancers and folk groups as they make their way through Downtown.

Dyeing the river
Saturday 16 March 2019 at 9:00 a.m.
Columbus Drive
Chicago IL
United States of America

Halligan Bar
2274 N Lincoln Avenue
Chicago IL 60614
United States of America
+1 773-472-7940


Where to fly for a Saint Patrick's Day to remember

Paris – a festive programme at the Irish Cultural Centre

The Irish community also celebrates its patron saint in Paris. Make sure you are wearing something green and head off to join the festivities organised by the Irish Cultural Centre, housed in a building at the Irish College. In its pretty cobbled courtyard, get your fill of Riverdance, gourmet specialities and the legendary Irish craic.

On 16 March, enjoy moderately a cool Guinness as you watch the last day of the Six Nations Championship at O'Sullivans By The Mill, an Irish pub right next door to the famous Moulin Rouge. Book a seat for an evening concert in Saint Patrick's Chapel, where the young quartet Strung will fill you with emotion with its take on traditional music.

On Sunday 17 March, you will want to go and have fun with your family in the courtyard of the Cultural Centre. Your children's eyes will shine in amazement as they watch a burlesque show by acrobat and juggler Mr H. They will emerge from the face-painting workshop with clover leaves painted on their cheeks, all ready to join the parade organised by the Irish in France association, as it makes its way through the city's fifth arrondissement. In the evening, the party takes on a cosier atmosphere as you go and watch another musical interlude in the chapel. The Mac Gloinn brothers from the group Ye Vagabonds will thrill you as they play old Celtic refrains and acoustic folk compositions.

O'Sullivans By The Mill
92 Boulevard de Clichy
75018 Paris
+33 (0)1 53 09 08 49

Irish Cultural Centre
5 rue des Irlandais
75005 Paris
+33 (0)1 58 52 10 30