St. Patrick's Day is probably the Ireland's largest festival (or at least one of the largest). Lot of tourists use to gather here during this time to enjoy the festival. And the City center is the real center of this festival. You'll see lot of tourists on the Dublin street during this time compare to other seasons.
The flight fares go high, and so do the hotel rents. Tourists had to take a long preparation for that. But for me it was really an easy one. I have just moved in Ireland a couple of weeks back. And I didn't need to go through that process. I was really luck that I could move here just before the festival.
The festival organizing committee has arranged a three day long programs for this year (2016). But the main attraction of the festival is the Saint Patrick's Day Parade. This starts from the Parnell street and ends near the St Patrick's Cathedral. People like us use to gather beside the roads and enjoy the parade. The color of the day is green. So most of the people wearing something green on their dresses. You can buy the hats and scarfs from the street hawkers for €2-€5.
This year the parade was scheduled at 11:00am at the morning. The buses were closed as the city center was blocked for the parade. I decided to go there just an hour before the parade. I had to walk and initially I went near to the Parnell Street (from where the parade starts). But that place was totally packed and after some point I couldn't move further. At one stage I felt like I couldn't observe the parade.
But there were people moving to some other places. I was following them and realized that they were going near to the finishing point. That was a good idea as that part could be free. But it wasn't. Because everyone was moving towards that direction. But luckily I got myself managed to stand behind a petite girl.
People were everywhere. Everyone was trying to catch a place for the observation. Climbing the walls, the street side pillars, etc were very common. The kids were siting on the shoulder of their father. Windows near the roadside buildings were packed. Even people were standing at the rooftop. It was a nice atmosphere to enjoy the parade.
The parade comprised of lot of things. Different bands from the different services have participate and they mostly played the traditional bagpiper. I really liked that music. Few of the bands were wearing their uniform, and few were wearing the traditional male and female outfit. Their music simply created a vibe amongst the people.
Apart from these, there were different team who were depicting as a flower, animal, tree, vehicle, etc. They were passing one by one and it was really a colorful one. Through these sort of depictions they use to give us some sort of messages. For example the house under water really tells us what would happen due to the global warming.
After nearly two hours the parade came to an end. It was not only the Irish people who have participated here but also teams from other nationals were here (i.e. a team from University of Missouri). Also at this day the celebration has performed in many other countries (i.e. USA, Australia, Canada, etc). Once upon a time it was only Irish festival, but slowly it started happening across the world.
There were few other events happening on the same day. I went to observe the street comedy show by Tayto. It was a small one but not that much attractive as the parade. So I didn't spend more than 30 minutes there. All the restaurants near city center serves special menu for that day (i.e. traditional Irish breakfast and Wine). Those restaurants were overwhelmed by the tourists. I don't like crowd that much, but I really enjoyed the noise. It reminded the Pohela Boisakh Festival of our Bangladesh.
About St Patrick:
He was a Christian missionary and Bishop from Ireland. His exact living time is not confirmed, but scholars assumed this could be 4th or 5th century. Ireland doesn't have any snake, and it has a legend that the Saint himself had driven the snakes out of the island. You can read more about him from the wikipedia. The St Patrick's Day parade is performed during the 17th March of every year (assumed his death day). This day is the Irish public holiday.
What to do during St Patrick's Day Festival:
Of course the parade is the main attraction. But there are lot of other events during this festival. It lasts for three days. Stpatricksfestival website publishes the event detail on their website. You can follow the site. You can join with some day tour events where you'll be with historical places near Dublin. And foods and walking around the streets you won't want to miss. There will be small musical shows and street drams too. Just check which one matches best for you and your time schedule.
You must have to book the plane's ticket a bit earlier to avail lower price. It will not only the price will be higher, but also you may find sold out situations. This goes same for the hotels. Dublin has different quality hotels. Just pick the one that suits most with you. You can have a look on this list of Hotels from Dublin city. There are several hotels which are just beside the parade routes. You can search them on internet and then try your luck there too. And finally to enjoy the parade, go there early to make sure you get a nice viewing position to watch the parade. Remember its free so you can't book your seat beforehand.
St Patrick's Day Festival,
From Parnel Street to St Patrick's Cathedral
List of Hotels from Dublin
This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog http://icwow.blogspot.com/