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Celebrating St Patrick's Day in Dublin

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Dublin is always a great place to visit for a long weekend, but is there really any better time to visit than St Patrick’s Day?


This year, the St Patrick’s Day festival takes place between 15th and 18th March, giving you lots of time to soak up the atmosphere. Whether you’re into history, art, literature or simply just the craic, there’s loads to do around the Liffey this weekend.

Here’s just a selection of the events taking place over the long weekend!

Walking tours
Dublin is such a concentrated city that it is perfectly possible to walk around it and see so much more than you could by bus or car. For St Patrick’s weekend, a number of walking tours have been put together to celebrate the city in diverse ways.

‘In the Footsteps of St Patrick’ does exactly what it says on the tin – it takes you around the city to significant places associated with the patron saint. Running across all four days of the festival, it promises to let you “See the places that most tourists and many Dubliners miss”, giving a fascinating new insight into the city. It starts at the statue of Molly Malone, an iconic monument in itself, which is a must-see for any first-timers.


Taking a different approach to the city, ‘HerStory’ is a walking tour focusing upon the suffragette movement, which is overlooked somewhat given the political tensions in Ireland at the time. On this tour, you’ll be shown sites with connections to the courageous struggle of women to secure equal rights, although the meeting place, City Hall, has its own connections to the Easter Rising, the 1916 insurrection which began the Irish revolutionary period.

If your main association with Dublin is a certain drink, you could do a lot worse than the tour at the Guinness Storehouse – speaking as someone who isn’t a fan, it turned out to be surprisingly interesting and almost 14,000 reviews on TripAdvisor can’t be wrong! For St Patrick’s weekend, you can indulge yourself in further in “the black stuff” with the ‘Guinness in the Liberties’ walking tour, which reveals the impact the Guinness family have had upon the city since first arriving in 1759. This walking tour has a treat at the end too: a special experimental beer tasting session at the iconic Open Gate Brewery. That should make all of that walking well worth it!


Art
Having spent a slightly soggy weekend in Dublin myself, the National Portrait Gallery was a lifesaver because it was dry and free! It was also a really pleasant afternoon; its focus on Irish artists and people gives it a different feel to other galleries, so is well worth a visit.

If you’re interested in how art documents life, the special St Patrick’s exhibition at Dublin Castle is a great place to start. ‘Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger’ boasts ‘the world’s largest collection of Famine-related art’ ever exhibited on Irish soil, and is a reminder of one of the biggest disasters to have hit the country and has ramifications to this day.

‘Made in Dublin’ is a much more modern installation, blending image, sound and lights to represent what life is like in the city today. What’s incredible about this work is that it has no beginning or end, but plays itself continuously. It promises to be a thought-provoking experience!

Art is taking to the streets as well, with ‘Greening the City’, a light show which will – well, green the city! All across Dublin, iconic buildings will be turning green in honour of St Patrick’s weekend and will offer a unique vision of the city. Get out there in the evening and truly experience the (very) Emerald Isle!



Literature
The most famous Irish literary export is probably James Joyce, the man whose life, legacy and literature is celebrated every 16th June with Bloomsday. But Ireland has given us so many more famous writers, from Seamus Heaney and W B Yeats to George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett. The Oscar Wilde Memorial Sculpture in Merrion Park pays tribute to one of the country’s most infamous writers.


For St Patrick’s weekend, Samuel Beckett’s best-known play Waiting for Godot is being performed by Druid in the Daisy Market, an outdoor venue. Trying to explain quite what this play is about is a tough ask – you’re probably better off just seeing it! Here’s hoping the weather holds for them!

The craic
‘Craic’ is the Irish term for fun or banter, and Dublin is famous for offering it to all of their visitors. Seriously – a night out in Dublin is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before, and is well worth the trip, St Patrick’s day or otherwise!

The biggest event in the St Patrick’s Day calendar is the parade, a carnivalesque-extravaganza which wends its way through the streets. Expect floats, dancing, music and spectacle – and all for free! Just make sure you get there early enough to pick a prime spot – the parade starts at midday. Continue the fun with the Festival Funfairs all weekend and the carnival in Merrion Park on Sunday.


Whatever you’re into, I guarantee you will find something to appeal in Dublin for St Patrick’s Day.

You could still get a last minute deal online, so get craicing!

 

Image credits:

Dublin via TourismIreland

Walking tour, Spoken word poet and parade via www.stpatricksfestival.com 

 

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