St Patrick's Day In IrelandPosted on: 24 February 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves
Join in the craic with a visit to Dublin, Galway or Cork this March.
Be a part of the wonderful festivities this St Patrick's Day and celebrate with a trip to the Emerald Isle.
See Ireland truly come alive with an explosion of fun and entertainment that's sure to rival any carnival street party with lavish parades, street theatre and music galore. Our top spots to be on 17th March this year start with Dublin of course, but for an alternative destination why not try the rugged beauty of Galway or the friendly bustle of Cork?
St Patrick's Day in Dublin has a phenomenal five days and five nights of celebrations to contend with, starting from 13th March until the actual day on 17th March. From the opening night celebrations to the parade on the last day, there is certainly a lot to keep revellers amused in between, including street theatre, fireworks, outdoor spectacles, visual arts, music, comedy, dance, funfairs and treasure hunts.
As always the jewel in the Festival crown is the St. Patrick's Festival Parade, which this year takes its inspiration from the theme Energy. A total of 16 marching bands will take part in this year's parade with a strong American contingent present once again. Other countries represented include Japan, Italy and of course Ireland. A fantastical array of pageants will delight the crowds in the capital, adding lashings of colour, energy and excitement to parade 2009.
On Tuesday 17th March dust off your dancing shoes for the Céilí Mór - a great opportunity to dance along to the sounds of the Kilfenora Céilí Band. Music has always been an integral part of the St Patrick's Festival programme and 2009 is no different.
Another one of the highlights of this years Festival is sure to be National Lottery Skyfest @ Cashel. Skyfest, which will be held against the iconic back drop of the Rock of Cashel, will be the first festival event to be held outside of Dublin. Expect a truly spectacular event on the site of the Rock of Cashel - an extravaganza of fireworks, music and light to enthral and entertain.
GaelSpraoi is an exciting series of events available throughout the festival promoting the use of the Irish language in fun and novel settings. Participants will follow an informal itinerary of workshops, tours, gigs, and film suitable for all ages. All levels of language competency are welcome.
Aside from the festival, a trip to Dublin must include a visit to the Guinness Storehouse where you can see how Guinness is made as well as enjoy a pint of 'the black stuff' in the Gravity Bar, which has stunning panoramic views of Dublin.
Try your luck in the wild west of Galway - this seaside city will this year be hosting its 105th St Patrick's Day Parade and the carnival atmosphere always draws strong crowds. Performers from all over the world will boost the entertainment, and when the parade is over find a place to eat in the city that has more restaurants per capita than any other Irish city. Enjoy the lively culture and shops of this small but bustling hive and soak up the atmosphere of the 'real' Irish pubs.
While staying at Galway, if you are feeling adventurous you can take a scenic ride to the mystical Aran Islands, steeped in history and legend. Explore the Iron Age ruins of Dún Aengus, savour a Guinness in the traditional thatched pub on Inis Meáin, the only pub on the middle island or hire a bicycle to explore these magical islands, also the inspiration for Father Ted. Fly from Galway to the Aran Islands from €40 (about ₤26) for a day trip, in Aer Arann's nine seater island hopper plane.
Experience the wonderful charm of Ireland and the Irish in the beautiful city of Cork. The newly refurbished Cork City centre has attractive shopping boulevards, restaurants and pubs. With over 600 retail outlets located around Patrick Street you will be spoilt for choice. Cork is renowned for its cuisine - indulge in some of its famed delights at Barry's Tea Market held in conjunction with Mahon Point Farmers Market on Emmet Place.
Cork's St Patrick's Festival 2009 from 15th to 17th March will be fun for all the family, with a parade celebrating the many cultures of Cork. Find a good spot to watch marching bands, dancers, street theatre performers, community carnival groups and other professional and amateur entertainers bring sound and colour to the city's streets.
Flight prices one way including tax with Aer Arann from Southampton to Cork start from £33; Cardiff to Cork and Dublin from £25; Newcastle to Galway from £29; Edinburgh to Cork and Galway from £29; Bristol to Cork from £29; Leeds Bradford to Cork from £25; Luton to Galway from £25; Manchester to Galway from £25.00; Inverness to Dublin from £30 and Isle of Man to Dublin from £25.
Are you going to Ireland for St Patrick's Day? Do you have any tips to pass on?
Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below or share your thoughts with other readers in the 50connect forums.
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