1 March 2012
Dublin: get into the St Paddy’s spirit on March 17
Beer, shamrocks, leprechauns: these are the three things that come to mind when you think of Dublin, and Ireland of course. Three things that probably have little (logic) correlation with a great Christian icon such St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint. However, you just can’t have St. Patrick’s Day without all that is typically Irish… and green!
St. Patrick was famous for a number of remarkable feats, including driving the snakes out of Ireland and teaching the Irish about Christianity. The national holiday – March 17 – marks the date of his death.
Although every year, on March 17, millions of people around the world head to their nearest pub to celebrate all that is Irish for St. Patrick’s Day, Dublin is definitely the best place to travel for those looking for an authentic St. Patrick’s Day experience, especially this year. Indeed, as Dublin was recently given the status of The City of Science, the 2012 St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Dublin will revolve around the theme of science, with plenty of science-related parties and activities, for children and adults alike.
The St. Patrick’s Festival will bring a four-day party to the streets of Dublin from Friday March 16th to Monday March 19th, featuring a combination of music, sport, culture, family activities and plenty of the city’s famous “craic” (the Gaelic term loosely meaning “socializing, fun and music”.)
March 16, 2012, marks the start of the festival with the St.Patrick’s Day Ceili – dancing in the streets led by expert dance callers who will guide guests through the steps.
As always, the centrepiece of the celebrations will be the St. Patrick’s Festival Parade on Saturday March 17th. It’s all about bands and marching groups from around the world providing music and entertainment. This year, the parade – beginning from Parnell Square at noon and finishing just past St Patrick’s Cathedral – will take on a scientific motif, to reflect, as said, the Irish capital’s year as European City of Science. The theme of the procession is entitled ‘How? What? Why?’, with the city’s leading pageant companies offering children the opportunity to explore questions as “How is a rainbow formed?” or “Why do we dream?” There is also an amazing fireworks display at the end of the day.
Monday, March 19, 2012, is the last and perhaps most anticipated day of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Dublin. The most awaited event is the Treasure Hunt, also accommodating the science theme this year, a free event leading participants through the city to a variety of landmarks, each offering a different science-related connection. During the hunt, street performers and fun fairs will be arranged around the city to keep participants entertained between stops.
As you might imagine, the pubs are packed during this time with locals and tourists alike, and Merrion Square is transformed into a wonderland of family entertainment; each day offers an Irish Craft Beer Festival, tours of Ireland in St. Patrick’s footsteps, fun fairs and much more.
Well then, with as many green clothes as you can press in your suitcase, don’t miss to join Irish in these traditional celebrations: get into the St Paddy’s spirit!
Photo by Conor Heffernan