Friday 18 October 2019

11 St Patrick's weekend events you can't miss

The parade in Dublin. Photo: Steve Humphreys
The parade in Dublin. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Anna Balmaine

Thinking about changing up your St Paddy's Day celebrations this year? Check out some of the fun, family-friendly activities you can enjoy nationwide.

1. Festival Ceili - Thursday, March 16

Free event - Outdoor celebration at Earlsfort Terrace from 4.30pm
Eve Kirby (6), Erin Kirby (7) and Saoirse Kenny (6) encouraging people to attend the St Patrick’s Day Festival ceili in Dublin on Friday.

Kick off Paddy’s weekend by having a dance alongside Dearbhla Lennon and Jerry O’Reilly at the world’s largest outdoor ceili ,right in the city centre at Earlsfort Terrace.

Learn the steps and dance to the finest Irish traditional music and ceili classics with demonstrations by the dancers of Brooks Academy, as well as world class accompaniment from the Matt Cunningham Band, The Devane Family and sean-nos dancers from Connemara. It's free and no experience is necessary. Ceili starts at 4:30pm.

2. Open Air Cinema: In America – Thursday, March 16

Free event - ticketed. Swords Castle at 7.30pm

Tattersalls Country House, outdoor cinema

The screening of In America, co-written by Jim Sheridan and his daughters Naomi and Kristen, is a great opportunity to relax with family and friends in the stately surrounds of Swords Castle, Co. Dublin, to watch the story of an Irish immigrant family who moves to New York in the 1980s. Patriotic, emotional, timely.

The screening begins at 7:30. Wrap up warm and bring waterproofs. Some seating is provided but patrons are advised to bring their own seating in form of blankets or fold-up chairs.

3. Kilkenny Tradfest  - March 16 - 19

Most events are free or priced between €10 - €35

paul brady.jpg
EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 15: Paul Brady performs at the Queens Hall on April 15, 2010 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Marc Marnie/Redferns)

Join Kilkenny’s finest musicians at the Kilkenny Tradfest for the celebration of its fifth anniversary on St. Patrick’s Weekend. The festival showcases the best Irish traditional and folk music in the country at a variety of venues across the city including Kilkenny Castle, the Medieval Mile Museum and the stunning St. Canice’s Cathedral. Enjoy spine-tingling trad gigs with artists such as Paul Brady, Beoga, Dermot Byrne, Steve Cooney, Matt the Millers and much more.

For more information go to

4. Nationwide parades

St Patrick's Day Parade in Galway

Galway: 11.30am

The World's Strongest Man from Duffy's Circus is leading the charge at the 114th anniversary of the Galway St. Patrick's Day Parade at 11:30 on Friday.  The acts in this year’s parade will feature local artists, community and theatrical groups. This is a fun family activity that will be flooded with colour and excitement.

Cork: 1pm

This year the streets of Cork will be packed with activity and exciting events at the St. Patrick’s Day festival. Have a taste of the treats in the festival market, listen to the traditional Irish music at the Lee Sessions and have some fun with family and friends. The parade begins at 13:00, see you there!

Dublin: 12noon

The City Centre will come alive to celebrate St Patrick’s Day which will weave its way through the heart of the capital starting in Parnell Street. The theme of this year’s parade is ‘Ireland You Are’ which is where Ireland’s finest street theatre companies will bring you a spectacular performance with the aid of bands from Ireland and other countries. Cheer on the energetic and colourful parade this St. Patrick Day!

5. City at Play: Funfairs - Friday 17- 19 March

Free event - Merrion Square and Custom House Quay

Nine year old Emily O'Brien from Clonsilla at Merrion Square enjoying the St Patricks Day Festivites in Dublin. Photo: Peter Houlihan

No matter the weather, this is a great spot to have some fun with friends. The little ones will have a ball but it's also an appealing day out for the young-at-heart. Have a fantastic time on family attractions, waltzers and other rides that are based in Merrion Square, Dublin 2 and the Custom House, Dublin 1. Whether you are young or young at heart, have some fun at the City at Play Funfair.

6. The Riptide Movement at the Olympia Theatre

Tickets: €26 - Olympia Theatre from 7pm

The Riptide Movement_MN_By Sea_LS_0280.jpg
The Riptide Movement

Dublin band The Riptide Movement have planned a musical celebration in the Olypmia Theatre. Support comes from Cry Monster Cry and Two Cities. A good opportunity to enjoy a decent night out on St Patrick's Day away from the thronged pubs and bars.

7. #JJinstarail Goes West: The Mystery Tour - Saturday, March 18

Free event - ticketed


Departing Heuston Station on Saturday 18 of March at nine o’clock sharp is the mystery train with the largest global Instagram photo community on board. Calling all photography lovers, join the #JJ COMMUNITY on a mystery adventure to the Wild Atlantic Way. Meet other photo-lovers and once you reach your destination you can snap until the sun sets. Register at 9am at Heuston Station and set off on a picture perfect day.  

8. Festival Treasure Hunt – Saturday, March 18

Free event - historical locations across Dublin

Captain Peter Kelleher from the 27th Infantry Battalion reads the Proclamation at the GPO on O'Connell Street on March 27, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland.

Search for clues as you navigate through the thrilling tail and enjoy visiting some of Dublin’s beautiful, historical locations this St. Patrick’s weekend. Have a wonderful time at HQ in City Hall and watch theatrics, listen to music and win a prize for the best costume (the theme is explorers). Register online now to insure you have an amazing weekend.

For more information visit

9. Spirit of Dublin’ Craft and Food Fair – Saturday, March 18

Free event - Teeling Whiskey Distillery

Jack Teeling at the Teeling Distillery in Newmarket, Dublin 8

Visit the Teeling Whiskey Distillery to see the design offerings from Irish artisan food and craft producers at the fair this Paddy’s weekend. Enjoy the live music and talks throughout the distillery as you journey through the remarkable indoor boutique fair. The ticketed tours of the distillery are Dublin’s newest destination for whiskey fans and will be operating throughout the day.

Further information from

10. St. Patrick’s Festival 5K Road Race – Sunday, March 19

Free event - St Stephen's Green

3 June 2013; Sophie Fleming, left, Rebecca O'Toole and Lorna Merrins, all from Nurney, Co. Kildare, celebrate finishing the Flora Women's Mini Marathon 2013. St. Stephen's Green, Dublin. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

This event is perfect for the more energetic festival goers. Starting at St. Stephens Green, the 5k road race course takes in Georgian Dublin and is suitable for families, fun runners and dedicated athletes. The atmosphere will be electric and face painter and musicians are there to entertain, as well as all of the supporting spectators who will cheer you on.

11. Festival Big Day Out – Sunday, March 19

Enjoying the St Patricks Day Parade in Dublin was Emily Vaughan and Shauna Rouse from Artastic in Kildare

Free event - Merrion Square

An exciting carnival is coming to Dublin with an incredible array of family activities. There will be street theatre, music, aerial performances, workshops, crafts, Irish language activities and more. Good, family-friendly fun at Merrion Square between 12 and 6.

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