St Patrick's Day Parade
Ireland celebrates its patron saint St. Patrick on the 17th of March each year. Dublin stages the biggest and most extravagant St. Patrick's Day Parade outside New York. Literally half of Dublin's one million population plus more than a hundred thousand visitors from all over Ireland and from abroad line the parade and turn it into Ireland's largest street carnival.
The Dublin Parade
On St. Patrick's Day Dubliners wear something green, a t-shirt, sweatshirt or even an odd scarf will do, and watch the parade before drowning the shamrock, that is they are having a pint in one of the many pubs lining the route of the parade. More than 675,000 revellers watched the 2009 parade through Dublin's streets. Marching bands from Ireland, Europe and the USA partake in the parade. The music played at the parade ranges from Irish pipe and drum marches to current chart hits and bands compete with each other in costumes and dance routines. The award for Best Marching Band in 2009 went to a German carnival band from the Black Forest. A typical Dublin St. Patrick's Day Parade also features a dozen or more floats and pageants, all extravagantly decorated. Every year, the Dublin parade is traditionally closed by the roar of engines of the city's motor bikers on their Harley Davidsons and Honda Gold Wings.
St. Patrick's Day Festival
Over the years, an ever increasing number of events have been launched to warm up Dubliners and tourists alike for the parade day. Comedy, theatre, music, arts and sports events now form part of the official St. Patrick's Day Festival which lasts for up to a week before the parade takes place on the 17th of March. Many of the events are free and there is a good choice of activities for families with small children.
The route for the Dublin St. Patrick's Day Parade is 2.5 kilometres long and leads from Parnell Square on the city's Northside down O'Connell Street, over the River Liffey via O'Connell Bridge into Westmoreland Street, past Trinity College at College Green and on to Dame Street. It then turns left at Christchurch Cathedral into Lord Edward Street, Nicholas Street and Patrick Street before finally finishing at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Times Of The St. Patrick's Day Parade
It is strongly advisable to be at the parade route before 10:00 on the day. The route gets crowded fast and the best spots will be gone well before noon. The Parade starts from the northern edge of Parnell Square, near the Hugh Lane Gallery, at 12:00 noon. It then winds its way slowly down O'Connell Street, past Trinity College at College Green and on to Dame Street before it finishes at St. Patrick's Cathedral. The entire parade lasts approximately two hours. Festivities spill over into Dublin's pubs after the parade has passed. On St. Patrick's Day, Dublin is at its most mellow from 14:00 to 18:00. By then you have seen the best. After 18:00, the locals head for home or their local pub to end the day's festivities on a quiet note.
Grandstand Seat Prices
You can attend the St. Patrick's Day Parade free of charge. However, if you would like to watch the entire parade in comfort, then you should consider a Grandstand seat. Seats on one of the grandstands lining the parade are €60.00 per person. Grandstand seats for the 2010 parade can be bought online on the Dublin St. Patrick's Day Parade's website (see below). Events associated with the St. Patrick's Festival on the day of the parade, such as the Ceili Mor traditional music concert, are typically free. Stalls at the fun fair charge standard prices for rides and amusements. Pubs and restaurants do not typically bump up their prices for the day, but do expect longer queues than usual.
Visiting The Parade With Children
The parade is suitable for children of all ages. Like at all large scale events, parents should be aware that the crowds of visitors make it difficult for kids to see much of the action and that moving through the crowd with small children often requires patience and nerves of steel. You will likely end up carrying your toddler on your shoulders for much of the day.
How To Get To The Parade
Public transport in the city centre on St. Patrick's Day is restricted due to the parade, particularly bus services and the Red Luas tram line. All the main DART stations are operating, however. The closest DART stops to the route of the Dublin St. Patrick's Day Parade are Connolly and Pearse Street. Buses to St. Stephen's Green and the Green Luas tram line are convenient if you want to watch the parade on the second half of its route between College Green and St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Home Page: http://www.stpatricksfestival.ie/