Everything you need to know about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland
For the weekend that’s in it we wanted to share some insight into the customs and traditions of St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland.
Many of those new to Glandore, or indeed new to Ireland may not be aware of the origins of this festive day. Perhaps some of our long term members and partners may need just need a little refresher – don’t worry we won’t judge!
St. Patrick’s day is celebrated on March 17, the date of the saints death. It has become one of the most popular cultural events worldwide, and is celebrated by millions of people worldwide. Buenos Aires hosts an annual street party in the city centre, Tokyo has held a parade every St. Patrick’s Day since 1992, and in Singapore the river is dyed green and a Harley-Davidson convoy leads the pack for the annual parade.
So what’s it all about?
St. Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland and his feast day has been an important date in Ireland’s religious calendar. Popular belief is that he introduced Christianity to Ireland, banished snakes from our island, and used the 3 leaf Shamrock to teach the Holy Trinity. Regardless of the folklore behind the day, it’s a public holiday here in Ireland, which means many companies, schools and businesses take the day off work.
Many people wear something green on St Patrick ’s Day, whether you want to go all out in head to toe green, put on some shamrock shades, or even an thrown on an Irish rugby or football jersey. Some chose to wear a small bunch of Shamrocks on their chest. The Shamrocks are blessed at Church ceremonies all over Ireland by either the local priests or Bishops, this is known as Blessing of the Shamrock.
Going green isn’t just for people, iconic buildings around the world are getting in on the action thanks to Tourism Ireland and their ‘Global Greening’ campaign. Now in its eighth year the campaign will see old favourites like the London Eye, the Colosseum, Burj al Arab in Dubai, the ‘Welcome’ sign in Las Vegas and the Great Wall of China all turn green. This year it’s bigger than ever with One World Trade Center in New York, Plaça de Catalunya in Barcelona and Cloth Hall in Ypres join in for the first time.
Glandore’s Fitzwilliam Hall has also gone green, if your passing take a snap and tweet us @GlandoreNetwork.
Although the drinking of green beer is a tradition in the US and Canada, it’s not typically done here. If you want celebrate Irish style why not raise a pint of Guinness or try a local craft beer or spirit? Your friendly bar tender will be able to give you some super suggestions.
Drinking in pubs and clubs on St. Patrick’s Day is relatively new for Ireland. It wasn’t until the late 1970’s that the Irish law permitted pubs to open their doors on March 17th.
Parades & festivals
It was actually the United States that held the first St Patrick’s Day parade in New York City in 1766 and today parades are held all over the world inviting millions of people to celebrate being Irish for a day.
Half a million visitors are expected to line the streets of Dublin this St Patrick’s Day to celebrate ‘Ireland You Are’ — a celebration of “a culturally diverse, complex and brave society, notwithstanding its challenges”.
Led by grand marshal Olympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy, musicians, dancers and performers will march along the streets of the capital. The parade promises a variety of performances themed around faerie stories, ancient mythical tribes and trailblazing pirates, as well as bands from America, France, Germany, Switzerland, the Bahamas and, of course, Ireland.
Visitors are urged to make the most of the long weekend with a four-day festival featuring 30 events spread across the four days.
On Thursday March 16th you can don your dancing shoes for a traditional Céilí in Earlsfort Terrace from 4:30 to 7:30.
Friday March 17th is the main event as the grand parade kicks off from midday at Parnell Square. Organisers ask the public to take note of the changes to the parade’s route this year — the parade will now come down the east side of O’Connell Street, on the same side as Cleary’s, before proceeding on Westmoreland Street.
On Saturday March 18th 4,000 people are expected for the treasure hunt at City Hall on Dame Street, which kicks off at 10am and lasts till 1pm. Another open-air cinema will show the recent hit film Sing Street at Fingal County Council Civic Offices on Grove Road in Blanchardstown from 7.30pm.
Sunday March 19th will see Merrion Square as the main venue, with a street carnival full of theatre, music, arts and crafts. Budding scientists can embrace the Science Zone and epic story lovers can listen to fantasy storytelling at the Festival Big Day Out from midday to 6pm.
Belfast will mark St Patrick’s Day with a colourful carnival parade and free concert on Friday 17 March. The streets will be awash with colour, music and people from 12 noon as the parade leaves Belfast City Hall weaving its way through the heart of the city to Custom House Square where the annual concert will start at 12.45 and will run until 3pm.
Community groups from across Belfast’s cultural spectrum will take part in this year’s Belfast themed parade, alongside professional and amateur performers, costumed characters, musicians and dancers.
This year’s concert line-up will showcase music from all genres, including headline act, X Factor runner-up, Fleur East. Supporting acts will include Reggie ‘n’ Bollie and Stooshe. There will also be drumming talent from the local Belfast Boys’ Model, and ofcourse traditional tunes from The Rare Aul Stuff.
St George’s Market will be celebrating St. Patrick all weekend long with live music, Irish dancing and Shamrock design workshops. On Friday March 17th there will be live traditional Irish music from An Droichead from 11am as well as an arts and crafts session. Saturday 18th March will see live entertainment from Fortwilliam musical society as well as Irish dancing.