Friday 20 October 2017

Show stoppers

With St Patrick's Day around the corner, it's a great excuse to get out and do something fun with the family. Check out our suggestions for the extended weekend that's in it

With St Patrick's Day falling on a Tuesday this year that leaves us with a full four days to entertain the kids, but the good news is there's lots happening around the country. And it won't necessarily cost you a fortune to immerse yourselves in all things Irish.

Head to Dublin

The capital's St Patrick's Day Festival has got bigger and better in recent years, and looks set to continue that trend in 2015.

Brendan O'Carroll has just been announced as this year's Grand Marshal, but even if you miss the parade, there's a full four-day schedule to enjoy. This year's theme is Celebrate Now, and is all about savouring the moment.

For families there's lots on, including a festival treasure hunt on Saturday, 14 March, a fun trail through a collection of Dublin's landmarks. The Festival Big Day Out takes place on Sunday, 15 March, and organisers are promising lots of colour, theatrics and fun zones.

There's the Ceili at St Stephen's Green on the Monday, all of which leads up to the big parade on St Patrick's Day itself. Check out stpatricksfestival.ie.

Visit your local parade or festival

If Dublin city centre isn't your cup of tea, there are lots of parades and festivals around the country. The real capital, Cork, also has a four-day festival. With a theme of Cultural Concepts, it promises lots of good things, including the festival market, circus walkabouts and street entertainers.

Galway too is celebrating its cultural identity and history of creative street theatre, so there will be lots of local buskers performing over the weekend.

Bray in County Wicklow is always packed over the weekend, and its local parade is complemented by the Big Funday Out on the Civic Plaza.

Visit the farm

Many farms around the country will reopen for St Patrick's Day and are a good alternative to the city and town events. The likes of Airfield in Dundrum in Dublin, Glendeer Pet Farm in Athlone, and Kia Ora Mini Farm in Wexford offer great days out for the entire family.

Check out Dublin Zoo

Dublin Zoo is hosting a special St Patrick's Day event this year as it transforms itself into a playground of leprechauns and fairies. The operators have a list of activities planned, including arts and craft sessions and special keeper talks. Go to www.dublinzoo.ie.

Visit Glendalough

If you want to immerse yourself in Ireland's history while taking in beautiful surroundings, a visit to Glendalough will be good for the soul and allow the kids to get in some exercise.

It does tend to be busy on St Patrick's Day, but not so busy that you won't enjoy it. Take a trip to glendalough.ie.

Visit Croagh Patrick

Of course, if you really want to get in touch with our patron saint, you could visit the mountain named after him. If you've got young children and don't fancy a climb, there are a multitude of visitor attractions around Croagh Patrick. Check out Westport House & Gardens, the home of Grace O'Malley, the National Famine Monument in Murrisk, the Boheh Stone for Neolithic rock art, the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life and the Ceide Fields Visitor Centre. .

Attend the All-Ireland Senior Club Finals

The All-Ireland Senior Club finals take place on St Patrick's Day, and are always a great day out for the family. So take the kids into Croke Park and soak up all the atmosphere a final day can bring.

Irish Independent

Editors Choice

Also in Life