If there’s one holiday synonymous with visiting Ireland, it must be St. Patrick’s Day. Yes, the Irish observe or celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin and across Ireland.
When is St. Patrick’s Day in 2023? This year, St. Patrick’s Day will be celebrated on Friday, March 17, 2023.
For centuries, the Irish have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day as both a religious and social holiday, and today’s festivities include a massive parade, community events, and a whole lot of green. Increasingly, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most popular days of the year to travel to Dublin.
I have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in other cities like Chicago, Seattle, and Indianapolis, but nowhere tops Dublin to commemorate St. Patrick’s Day. I visited Ireland for this event years ago, and my trip overlapped with celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin; friends and I were able to experience this holiday at its source.
If you’re planning a trip to Ireland – to visit Dublin and/or for an Ireland road trip – and your dates happen to include St. Patrick’s Day, be sure to prioritize it. You won’t regret it when you find yourself standing among 500,000 fellow travelers and Irish people in one of the best cities in Ireland.
Based on my first-hand experience, here are my top tips for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day 2023 in Dublin, plus a suggested itinerary to help you plan your day. Whether you’re in Dublin for one day or spending three days in Dublin, this is an amazing way to spend your time. This guide will give you plenty of ideas for what to do in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day.
This post was originally published in February 2017 and was last updated in January 2023.
Tips for Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin in 2023
Here’s a fun fact about Dublin – did you know that the festival of St. Patrick is actually a five-day event in Ireland? The main day, March 17th, has some special occasions, but you can definitely spread out the festival over several days if you choose. If you’re in Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day, you won’t run out of things to do!
Here are some tips to help you plan your own St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Dublin.
Tip #1: Book Accommodation in Dublin
Okay, I fall for this trap a lot:
- I wait too long to book, and nothing is available, and/or
- There are still accommodations available, but they cost a pot of gold (aka all of your budget for the whole trip).
Thus, I typically decide to stay outside the city center and spend my vacation time taking public transit or walking back and forth. Boo!
First of all, plan ahead. That should be tip #1. Tip #1.5 is that, once you’ve planned ahead, book your stay for where to stay in Dublin. Don’t stay on the outskirts of town; you’ll have a better trip and enjoy your whole experience of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin if you’re actually, ya know, in Dublin.
To be honest, hotels in Dublin are insanely expensive for St. Patrick’s Day… everyone knows how much fun it is! However, it’s worth it if this activity is on your Irish bucket list.
Instead of making recommendations, try browsing the map below. You can also check out some of the best bed and breakfasts in Dublin for a more relaxing stay.
Want to upgrade your experience? You’ll love one of the many Dublin hotels with balconies.
You can also extend your vacation by using your hotel as a base for a day trip from Dublin (such as a quick Belfast day tour from Dublin) to explore the country more after your St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin 2023 celebrations.
Tip #2: Pack Green
If you’re going to be in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day, you’d better not get caught without green clothes. While you won’t get pinched (I don’t think…), there’s no better excuse to pull out all your favorite green items.
Need to stock up? Here are some of the green clothes I recommend:
- Green raincoat (yes, rain is likely!)
- Green rainboots
- Green sweatshirt
- Green backpack
- An Irish-ish blanket scarf
- Shamrocks ☘
I actually have a whole packing list for St. Patrick’s Day, as well as a packing list for Ireland in general. Between the two, they will make sure you have everything you need! As you can see above, my friends and I packed basically every green thing we owned (plus some green accessories we picked up in London on our way).
You can go as green as you like – you won’t stand out for wearing too much green on St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin! While this time of year isn’t as cold as winter in Dublin, you still will want to dress warmly.
If you do forget to pack your own green items, plenty of street vendors sell beads, scarves, and hats. (Don’t want to stand out too much as a tourist? Read things to know before traveling to Ireland first.)
Save up to 50% off attractions with the Go City Pass! It’s a great way to save money if you plan on visiting multiple sights in Dublin.
Tip #3: Arrive Early for the Dublin St. Patrick’s Day Parade
If you decide to attend the Dublin St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 2023, get up early to get a good spot. The parade officially starts at noon.
In 2023, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade route through Dublin runs from Parnell Street on the north side to Kevin Street on the south side. It’s not too hard to find a spot along O’Connell Street, but it can be pretty crowded by the time the parade reaches this point in the route. The only way to beat the crowds is to get there early!
No matter what, you’ll see some amazing floats (like the whale pictured above!), energetic leprechauns, and a lot of drunk foreigners wearing green. You’ll find so many fun things to do in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day.
Tip #4: Let the Guinness Flow
Some people want to let the good times roll… for St. Patrick’s Day Dublin celebrations who feel that way, let’s let the Guinness flow! Like other European countries, Ireland is somewhat liberal in its alcohol laws, and St. Patrick’s Day is a perfectly reasonable day to start drinking in the morning.
If you’re visiting Dublin for three days, like I recommend, consider going early to take a tour of the Guinness Brewery or Jamieson Distillery. You can buy a souvenir from Ireland and enjoy it on St. Patrick’s Day. Having a drink can also help keep you warm – March mornings in Dublin can be chilly.
For the sake of transparency and as an example: during my trip to Dublin, I started celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a Shamrock Shake ☘️ from McDonald’s (and I FEEL NO SHAME ABOUT IT) after breakfast. Then had a couple of pints of Guinness throughout the day.
I ended up drinking an Irish Coffee with Jameson whiskey after the parade (see Tip #4) to warm back up, and had a few more drinks that evening during and after dinner when out in Temple Bar. It was certainly a long (and expensive) day, but it was not excessive. Don’t be that drunk American/Aussie!
Tip #5: Don’t Attempt to Drive
While I do have an article on tips for driving in Ireland, there is no reason to rent a car for this busy event, so you can easily stay in Dublin without a car. Trust me, it’s not going to be worth it – you won’t actually be able to get very far with so many streets blocked off.
There will also be more people than usual in the city, and the roads will be clogged with vehicles, so don’t even try. Parking costs will likely skyrocket for St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin as well, so you might as well save money.
Public transportation in Dublin is great, so check out options like the Luas, which can take you to plenty of places. You could also choose to get some exercise and walk – that’s personally my favorite way to explore cities.
Tip #6: Dress Comfortably
Speaking of walking, you’ll likey do a lot of it as well as standing when you’re waiting for the parade or in the queue to get into a pub in Dublin for a celebratory drink. Good walking shoes are the most important thing I pack no matter where I go, and celebrating St. Paddy’s Day in Dublin is no exception.
Brooks walking shoes are the ones I personally use, but Skechers GOWalk shoes have also served me for many trips. Whichever ones you choose, make sure they’ll let you stand and walk for long periods of time without getting sore feet.
You’ll also want to do a quick check of the weather to dress appropriately for being outdoors for awhile (layers work best in situations like this).
An Itinerary to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day 2023 in Dublin
With those tips in mind, you’re ready for the day itself! St. Patrick’s Day can be a very long day, so it’s important to decide what you want to do throughout the day. Here’s the timeline I followed when I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, and it’s a pretty good guide to help you make the most of this day.
9:00 am – Eat an Irish Breakfast
Start your day with a hearty meal – you’ll need the energy to keep warm and going all day long. It’s not hard to find a local cafe or restaurant serving a Full Irish Breakfast, which consists of:
- Bacon (chewy, not crispy)
- Baked Beans
- Grilled Tomatoes
- Black pudding
- Toast (sometimes Irish soda bread)
- Butter & marmalade
This may look similar to an English Breakfast, but you’ll often find a distinctly Irish twist (like soda bread or black pudding) that makes it distinct.
If you can eat it all, you’ll be set for a whole day of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day!
10:00 am – Head to the Parade Route
Once you’re fueled up, make your way to the parade route. You’ll notice increasing crowds as you draw closer to the main part of the route, which is why I advise going this early. It’s better to stand around for an extra hour than be so far back you can’t see the parade!
11:00 am – Watch the St. Patrick’s Day Parade
The Dublin St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the highlights of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. This massive parade runs from north to south through the city, crossing the River Liffey at O’Connell Street.
This is a great place to view the parade of floats, marching bands, and pageants, as the street is wide and there’s plenty of space – but you can still expect it to be crowded by the time the parade starts!
If you don’t love crowds, you can book a seat in the Grandstands instead for €68 per person.
There are two Grandstands:
- Parnell Square, near the beginning of the parade route
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral, near the end of the parade route
Depending on which one you pick will determine how long you wait for the parade to arrive and pass.
2:00 pm – Have a Late Lunch & Warm Up
After the parade has passed, head to a local pub for lunch and warm up (and a pint of one of the best drinks in Ireland). Most pubs in Dublin will be pretty busy, so you can expect a bit of a wait to get a seat and your food.
4:00 pm – Take a Rest
You might not need it, but I love a good mid-afternoon rest after a long day of standing out in the cold. This could mean popping into a local Dublin pub for another round with friends or heading back to your accommodations to rest.
If you don’t want to rest, consider walking around Dublin to see all of the buildings that are lit up green for St. Patrick’s Day.
5:00 pm – Fill Up With Dinner
For dinner, there are a variety of restaurants open on St. Patrick’s Day to cater to travelers in the area. You’ll have lots of options for different cuisines in Temple Bar, or you can pick a local pub for a more traditional meal.
7:00 pm – Get Drinks in Temple Bar
If you have the energy, head over to the popular Temple Bar district to enjoy a few more libations. Most pubs will have drink specials and be filled to the brim with others celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin with silly behavior.
You can expect a lot more ‘stereotypical’ St. Patrick’s Day behavior and spectacles (green beer, anyone?), but if you love the nightlife, this is a bucket list experience.
As pubs in Dublin stay open until 1:30 am, you can expect to carry on right until the end of St. Patrick’s Day, if you so choose. Just don’t forget to have a few glasses of water throughout the night so that March 18th isn’t a complete loss as you recover from a haze of green fun. Check out my article on everything to do in March in Ireland if you want to extend your trip.
Have fun as you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day 2023 in Dublin, Ireland! If you have questions, let me know in the comments.