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St Patricks Day Dublin 2024: 13 Ways to Celebrate

St Patricks Day Dublin 2024: 13 Ways to Celebrate

There are plenty of things to do on St Patrick’s Day in Dublin, both for those that want to embrace the festivities and for those that want to avoid the crowds!

For those visiting Ireland for St Patrick’s Day, the big parade in Dublin City and (although hopefully not…) Temple Bar will likely be at the top of your list.

For those of you, like me, who live in the capital and want to avoid the mayhem, you’ve plenty of options, too!

In the guide below, you’ll discover what to do in Dublin on St Patrick’s Day, from hikes and mass services to unique tours and live traditional music sessions!

What to do in Dublin on St Patrick’s Day 2024

I’m going to include the main festive things to do on St Patrick’s Day in Dublin along with some non-festive activities.

Below, you’ll find everything from the St Patrick’s Day Parade and trad music sessions to walks, hikes and unique St Patrick’s Day activities.

1. The Dublin St. Patrick’s Day Parade

St Patrick's Day Parade Dublin 2024

Map and photos courtesy St Patrick’s Festival Dublin

Many tourists spend St Patrick’s Day in Dublin solely to experience the St Patrick’s Day Parade, however, it’s popular amongst many locals, too.

If you’re heading over to Dublin and the parade is at the top of your list of things to see, then you’re going to have to arrive bright and early.

The last thing you’ll want as the performers and floats pass by is to be stuck behind rows and rows of other visitors raising their arms and taking photos all day!

Starting at midday, the parade snakes its way through the streets of Ireland’s capital from Parnell Street on the north to Kevin Street on the south. The streets start to fill up from around 9am, so try to arrive around then. 

Key info: The parade starts at Parnell Sq. North at 12pm on March 17th and there is expected to be 400,000 people in attendance

2. The St. Patrick’s Day Festival Quarter

what to do on st patrick's day in dublin

Courtesy Allen Kiely for St Patricks Festival

There’s a heap of things to do in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day in the Festival Quarter (located in Collins Barracks a short walk from the Smithfield LUAS stop and Heuston Station!).

The Festival Quarter is free and it’s open on the 16th (12pm – 5pm) and the 17th (12pm – 10:30pm) and here’s a taste of what to expect:

  • The Céilí Mór
  • Bang Bike (DJs)
  • Rathfarnham Ukulele Orchestra
  • Mark the Science Guy
  • Performances by Denise Chaila, Faró, Niamh Bury, Ispíní na hÉireann and many more

3. Escape the hustle and bustle and head for a hike

If you’re wondering what to do in Dublin on St Patrick’s Day that keeps you well aways from the crowds, tackle one of the many walks in Dublin.

Regardless of whether you head to the Dublin Mountains or take a spin out to do the Poolbeg Lighthouse Walk, you’ll succeed in avoiding the hustle and bustle in the city.

From wind-whipped trails to forested strolls, there are some lovely walks and gorgeous views to be enjoyed and the drive out to the mountains from Dublin should only take around 30 minutes.

Some of our favourites include the 5.5km Ticknock Fairy Castle Loop, the steep 5.5km Hellfire Club walk and the 2.5km Tibradden Wood Walk

Handy tip: March 17th is a public holiday. If the weather is in any way good, expect many walking trails to be busy

4. Head to a trad music session

pubs with live music in Dublin

Plenty of pubs run trad sessions on St Patrick’s Day in Dublin (see our guide to live music pubs in Dublin).

The soundtrack to Ireland and Irish culture is trad music and there are an almost endless amount of options in Dublin if you want to hear a few tunes. 

Arguably the best spot to head to is The Cobblestone in Smithfield. It’s a short trip away on the Luas and the sessions here are always memorable.

Some other notable live music pubs in Dublin are Darkey Kelly’s, the Celt, the Old Storehouse and O’Donohues on Merrion Row.

5. Dodge Temple Bar and kick-back in an old-school pub

Many of those visiting Dublin for St Patrick’s Day head for Temple Bar. The result is absolute chaos.

Why not dodge the messiness of Temple Bar and enjoy the atmosphere and ornate surroundings in some of the more historic pubs in Dublin?!

If you want to start with the oldest pubs in Dublin, then make a beeline for the ancient Brazen Head (dating back to 1198, no less!).

Also up for consideration is Slattery’s and its gorgeous tiled mosaic floor, while the Long Hall’s Victorian mahogany bar and red ceiling catch the eye immediately.

6. Or get lost in the merriment of Temple Bar’s mayhem

Temple Bar on St Patrick's Day

Photos via Shutterstock

OK. It’ you’re visiting Dublin on St Patrick’s Day and it’s your first time in the city. Temple Bar is on your bucket list. Fair enough!

Personally, we’d give Temple Bar a wide berth on a day like St Patrick’s Day as it’s always carnage, but there’s no denying that it’s popular with tourists.

Expect massive crowds, huge queues for toilets, drinks and food and general chaos. Throw in live music (if you can actually squeeze in anywhere) and you’ve a recipe for a headache.

Tourist tip: If you’re planning on visiting Temple Bar, get in and out early. The Garda (police) often cordon it off due to overcrowding.

7. Sample some Irish food

Irish food for st patrick's day

Photos via Shutterstock

Since this is a day of Irish celebration, why not sample some traditional Irish food when the big day comes around? 

There are plenty of great places to sample Irish food in Dublin, you just need to know where they are!

Not only is the Gravediggers one of Dublin’s greatest pubs, they also do a great coddle while Gallagher’s Boxty House is the best spot for a boxty. 

You’ll find a delicious Irish stew at the Brazen Head and no trip here would be complete without a taste of the sea, so grab some cockles and mussels at the Woollen Mills near the beautiful Ha’penny Bridge.

8. Tackle a Dublin whiskey-tasting tour

If you’re wondering what to do in Dublin on St Patrick’s Day that’ll give you an insight into why Dublin was once the Irish whiskey capital of the world, try a whiskey tour. 

While a pint of the black stuff is now what most visitors drink in Dublin, whiskey heritage here runs deep and whiskey-tasting tours are a great way of understanding the history and fine flavours of classic pot still Irish whiskey. 

Dublin Whiskey Tours run whiskey-tasting experiences from  €39 and you’ll get to sample some of the best Irish whiskies around, as well as learn the difference between Irish whiskey and scotch and many other interesting tidbits and tales. 

9. Or visit one of Dublin’s distilleries or breweries

Guinness Storehouse

Photos © Diageo via Ireland’s Content Pool

Or, you could get an up-close experience at one of Dublin’s famous distilleries or breweries! 

The Guinness Storehouse is Dublin’s most popular attraction and, while it’ll be very busy on St Patrick’s Day, it’s a great experience (the panoramic views from the Gravity Bar are the business).

While they no longer make Jameson whiskey on Bow St (the operation is now in Co. Cork), the distillery building still runs excellent tours and tastings and is well worth a visit. 

Other smaller and newer distilleries in Dublin are cracking too, including the likes of Teeling and Pearse Lyons (their church location is unique to say the least!).

10. Escape to the coast for the day

Howth Dublin

Photos via Shutterstock

If you’re looking for active things to do in Dublin on St Patrick’s Day, head for the coast – the only decision to make is north or south?

To the north, the Howth peninsula offers a mighty cliff walk, several beaches and a harbour packing in some fine restaurants with nice views up towards Lambay Island. 

To the south, Dalkey boasts a walk past the swanky mansions on Vico Road, spectacular views from Killiney Hill and some excellent restaurants in Dalkey Village. 

11. Discover some of Dublin’s rich history

St Patrick’s Cathedral

Photos via Shutterstock

There’s no escaping the fact that in Dublin (and around the world, frankly), St Patrick’s Day is largely associated with enjoying many a pint. 

But if you want to escape the pub scene for a while then Dublin’s a city with a rich history and plenty of attractions to explore (just check ahead first to make sure they’re open). 

Trinity College is sat in heart of the city and the stunning Library and Book of Kells are high up on any Dublin bucket list.

Kilmainham Gaol offers a more morbid look into the city’s more turbulent history, while Marsh’s Library is a hidden gem and the first public library in Ireland.

12. Have a ramble around the city for a look at the ‘greened’ landmarks

green buildings dublin

Photos via Shutterstock

In the lead-up to St Patrick’s Day in Dublin, there are a number of famous landmarks and heritage sites that ‘go green’, so to speak!

If you’re interested in seeing these places in a different light (pun intended!), then head out when night falls to see them all lit up in green. 

Some of the famous sites that will be ‘greened’ include Dublin Castle, the Custom House, the National Gallery and the entrance to St Stephen’s Green. 

13. Attend a St Patrick’s Day mass service

Christ Church Cathedral

Photos via Shutterstock

If you’d like to pay homage to St Patrick in the original way it was intended (before the green and the Guinness got involved, anyway!), then why not attend a mass service on St Patrick’s Day in Dublin?

1000 years ago, simple religious services were all that took place on March 17th, and you can do that at a number of cathedrals and churches around the capital. 

Though perhaps the most appropriate place to attend mass would be his namesake – St Patrick’s Cathedral

FAQs about spending St Patrick’s Day in Dublin 2024

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What to do in Dublin on St Patrick’s Day?’ to ‘Where does live trad sessions?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below. Here are some related reads you should find interesting:

Is St Patrick’s Day a big deal in Dublin?

Yes and no. For some, visiting the parade is one of the biggest events of the year. For many, however, March 17th is just another Bank Holiday and they won’t celebrate it in any way.

What is there to do in Dublin for St Patrick’s Day?

One of the most popular things to do in Dublin on St Patrick’s Day is to head to the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin City Centre. You can also attend trad music sessions or escape the city and head to the mountains or coast.

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