After two years with no physical celebration due to Covid-19 restrictions, St Patrick’s Day festivals are back and better than ever.
Excitement has been building around the country for the big day, especially given the once-off bank holiday on March 18.
Towns, villages and cities alike have put together impressive plans for this Thursday, each with it's own twist on St Patrick's Day. One thing most areas around Ireland have in common, though, is the ‘greening’ of landmarks and important buildings.
Here are some of the events around the country for St Patrick’s Day.
Starting off with the capital, the National St Patrick’s Day Parade is back, with the theme of ‘Connections/Naisc’. It will kick off from Parnell Square and march up to the junction between Cuffe Street and Kevin Street.
A number of marching bands and pageantry groups will be taking part, with the likes of inclusion and superheroes of the pandemic celebrated.
Olympic gold medallist Kellie Harrington and Paralympian Ellen Keane have been named this year’s St Patrick’s Day Grand Marshals. Actor John C Reilly is also the guest of honour at this year’s parade.
A new addition to this year’s St Patrick’s Day celebration is the Festival Quarter at the National Museum of Ireland in Collins Barracks. It runs from March 16 to 20 and showcases music, comedy, storytelling, crafts, food and much more.
Damien Dempsey, Le Bloom, Lyra, Soulé and Bobbi Arlo are just a few of the artists performing over the weekend, with a number of traditional Irish acts taking part too.
After the official festivities come to an end, there are plenty of other events taking place throughout the city to keep the party going. Many pubs and clubs are hosting gigs, discos, comedy clubs to name a few.
Outside of the city centre, there are plenty of local parades and events making a comeback for the first time since Covid.
The town of Bray is hosting a festival of its own, starting from Wednesday and ending on Sunday.
There will be funfairs, treasure hunts, workshops, live music, historical talks and storytelling throughout the week, as well as a vintage car show, Irish dancing and face painting.
Down south, Cork city has put together an impressive collection of events for Paddy’s week, including markets, guided tours, traditional music and the St. Patrick’s Hill Ball Run. This event will see 11,000 multi-coloured balls cascade down St. Patrick's Hill for Ukraine Refugee Fund.
Dara Ó’Briain is also doing a show in Cork Opera House on March 16.
The theme of Cork’s parade is ‘Heroes - Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times’. It will be made up of sporting groups, dance schools, community groups, brass bands and “special guests from around the world”.
In Killarney, the earth will be celebrated at this year’s parade. All things sustainability are encouraged and will be part of the festivities.
Organisers of the festival said on their website: “If we have learned anything from this pandemic it is that our planet is under threat from global warming, conflict, and neglect, we need to consider our responsibilities to not only the place where we live but to the others we share the Earth with.”
There will be a ‘Kids Funs zone’ in the area too, with a disco and games on March 17 from 2pm to 6pm.
For those looking to get active this weekend, there is a ‘Paddies Park Run’ on Saturday.
Tralee has adopted a similar theme for their parade with ‘Let’s go the Green Way’. It will celebrate both sustainability and the upcoming completion of a Greenway from Tralee to Fenit.
The parade will aid the town’s initiative to become Autism-friendly by creating a 100-meter section from Moyderwell School to Upper Castle Street where “participants will shine bright with their lights but dim down with their sound”.
Organisers for the event said: “This area will be zoned for those individuals with sensory processing challenges along with their families to enjoy the parade in a supportive environment.”
Limerick’s St Patrick’s Day Festival will take place from March 17 to 20. As part of it, there will be a panoramic wheel, vintage and traditional carnival rides, a scavenger hunt, street shows and a ‘fire and aerial extravaganza’.
On Sunday, the 50th International Band Championship will take place on the streets of Limerick. Competitors from Ireland, Europe and America will be after the title of International Band Champions.
The theme of this year’s parade is 'Belonging and Identity', with a designated route for people with sensory issues, like in Tralee.
Organisers of the festivities in Limerick have put together a playlist on their website for those looking to get into the spirit whilst listening to some of the county’s greatest acts.
Galway’s St Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshalls for this year are Olympians Fiona Murtagh and Aifric Keogh. They will be joined by Frank Downes, who has raised €2 million for the Irish Guide Dogs Association over 40 years.
Organisers for the parade said it “will also feature an array of community, cultural, sporting and international groups including Ireland’s pioneering spectacle theatre company Macnas, led by the Macnas Young Ensemble”.
Highlights from the 2022 parade are said to include Galway Arts Centre, Colours Street Theatre, An Taibhdhearc Theatre and Galway Theatre Festival with community groups such as Foróige, GAA clubs and Amnesty International.
There will also be a number of free concerts and entertainment over the weekend, including performances from BackWest, Niamh Regan, Anna Mullarkey, Big Jelly, Ultan Conlon and Galway Bay Jazz Band.
In Salthill, Curry’s Funpark, or Salthill Amusements, will be open from March 17. There will also be a family fun day on Saturday with Beach Volleyball, Tag Rugby and more.
In Letterkenny, there will be entertainment at Market Centre from 1:30pm before the parade at 3pm.
There will also be a photo booth at Market Square for spectators and their families to get a commemorative picture of St Patrick’s Day 2022.
A band will play at the Old Courthouse from 2pm, and “ with everyone dressing up for the day, there will be lots of colour and fun”.
A number of events have been planned in Belfast to celebrate St Patrick’s Day and weekend.
Live performances, traditional music, féiles, fleadhs and more take place over the next few days, with a Sean-Nós Singing workshop available for those who want to get involved.
St Patrick’s Day itself will kick off with the SPAR Craic 10k run and the Gruffalo and Leprechaun Hunt at Colin Glen.
The ‘pageant parade’ will travel through the city at 1pm with community groups and individuals marching together, “reminding us that We are all Patrick, we are all Belfast,” organisers said.