It’s one of the biggest days in the calendar and a day for Irish people at home and abroad to celebrate our culture, identity and heritage.
But St Patrick’s Day is so much more than that.
We give you the rundown on the ‘Top 10 Things to do in the West of Ireland this St Patrick’s weekend’.
1. Sunrise and Pipe Bands (17th March)
For traditional Irish St. Patrick’s Day festivities there’s no place like Achill on the rugged west coast of Ireland. In many villages on Achill there is a tradition of pipe bands, and on St. Patrick’s Day these colourful and compelling bands play a central role in celebrations.
From a 6am reveille, the bands march for most of the day – surely one of the longest St Patrick’s Day parades anywhere. For visitors, a thoroughly enjoyable day can be had following the Achill pipe bands, pausing for refreshments of course and taking time to enjoy the spectacular scenery of Achill Island. In the evening, traditional and modern entertainment is offered in many of the local hotels and pubs.
This schedule allows visitors and spectators to join the bands for a while and then to explore Achill’s other attractions – for the active visitor these include watersports, golf or hillwalking, while for the more relaxed visitor there are always the restaurants and bars to enjoy.
Celebrate Ireland’s national day in traditional style, and follow Achill’s pipe bands on their annual parades.
8.00am – Dooagh Pipe Band starts. Molly’s, Keel West.
8.00am – Keel Pipe Band starts. Minaun View Bar, Keel.
8.30am – Pollagh Pipe Band starts. Dooagh NS, Dooagh.
8.45am – Dookinella Pipe Band starts. Achill Head Hotel, Pollagh.
9.00am – Afreann Gaeilge (Mass in Irish). St. Patrick’s Church, Pollagh.
10am – all bands play. St. Patrick’s Church, Pollagh.
10.30am – begin march from Pollagh to Dookinella.
12noon – Mass @ Dookinella Church.
1pm – bands play individually, then collectively. Dookinella church. Bands then commence march back to their own villages.
2. Galway’s St Patrick’s Day Parade (17th March)
2019 marks the 117th anniversary of the Galway St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The iconic fountain in Eyre Square will even turn green as part of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations. The Parade will start at 11.30am and finish at approximately 1.00pm.
This year’s route is changed to previous years. The Parade will start at 11.30am from NUIG and wind its way down University Road, over Salmon Weir Bridge, up Eglington Street street, and past the viewing stand in Eyre Square finishing at approximately 1 pm on Bothar Na mBan.
Macnas will be bringing their magic to the Galway St Patrick’s Day Parade for 2019. Macnas Artistic Director is delighted to showcase next generation Macnas; the Macnas drumming troupe aged 15 -19 which will be led, under the stewardship of Éimhín Cradock and Debbie Wright, will perform a celebration of the dance between shadow and light to the city streets.
They will be joined by the Macnas Young Ensemble, led by Miquel Barcelo, who will bring a performance inspired by the animal energy in flight and fight with the human spirit. This troupe will pioneer new beats on the street with the Macnas signature high octane performance.
Costume will be designed by Cherie White, makeup by Michelle Ruane. >> galwaytourism.ie/event/St-Patricks-Festival
3. May The Road Rise To Meet You (17th March)
St. Patrick’s Day, with a difference in South Sligo as athletes will once again take to the roads for the Tubbercurry St. Patrick’s Day 10K Road Race.
The first ever Tubbercurry 10K road race was planned for St. Stephen’s Day but was postponed due to snow and ice. It was rescheduled for St. Patrick’s Day 1973 and ever since it has become an annual fixture in the running calendar. Last year saw 375 runners take to the streets of Tubbercurry. >> facebook.com/SouthSligoAthletic/
4. Go Native in Donegal (17th March)
Since 2005, the people of Burtonport, Co Donegal, and surrounding areas have hosted a celebration of Irish culture on St Patrick’s day.
St Patrick’s Day 2019 will see the 15th annual community celebration of Irish culture take place between 12 – 2 at St Columbas Community Centre in Burtonport, Co Donegal.
This is an indoor event suitable for all the family. The event, which has become an annual fundraiser for 3 local causes – The Local Lifeboat fund, St Columbas Community Centre & The Burtonport Festival is packed out each year with individuals coming from far and wide to enjoy some Irish Stew, traditional music, Irish dancing, marching bands, taditional games, children’s FREE raffles & art and craft, refreshments and much much more.
Entry to the event is BY DONATION and we do encourage you to bring some money to take part in the raffles that will be going on throughout the day. >> facebook.com/St-Patricks-Day-celebration-of-Irish-Culture-319144684795563/
5. Join Ireland’s friendliest place for the Ennis St Patrick’s Day parade
Thousands of people are expected to line the streets of the Clare County Capital on Sunday, 17 March for the 2019 Ennis St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
This year there will be prizes awarded for the entrants that provide the “Most Musical & Colourful Spectacle” (1st Prize – €500, 2nd Prize – €300, 3rd Prize – €200).
The parade commences at 11.00am from Clare County Council’s Headquarters at Áras Contae an Chláir before proceeding via New Road, Newbridge Road, Club Bridge, Abbey Street, O’Connell Square, O’Connell Street, with participants finishing in the grounds of the Holy Family School, Station Road. >> clarecoco.ie/services/arts-recreation/news/countdown-to-2019-ennis-st-patrick-s-day-parade.html
6. See the Quaker City String Band at Kiltimagh St Patrick’s Week festival:
Since 1989 in Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo, St. Patricks day has evolved to become a week-long celebration of Irish tradition and culture.
The Quaker City String Band from Philadelphia has visited Kiltimagh for the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade on many occasions, adding to the international flavour and colour of the week.
Visiting bands from Europe also join with various Irish Bands to create a fun-filled festival for everyone.
The highlight of the festival is the parade, and with over 40 floats and many bands, our St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the biggest and best in the West. 3pm, Sunday 17 March >> facebook.com/pg/kiltimaghtourismfestivals/
7. Join Sligo’s ‘Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Leprechauns World Record’ attempt
Sligo’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the only event which has run in Sligo every year since 1971.
2019 celebrates 49 years of Parades in Sligo Town! This year It’ll be Leprechauns-a-Go-Go on the Sunday streets of Sligo when the St. Patrick’s Day Parade joins with local volunteers in an attempt at the Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Leprechauns World Record. it’s time for a new World Champion Town of Leprechauns and is calling on everyone attending this year’s Sligo parade to come dressed in a leprechaun costume. >> sligostpatricksday.com/
8. Fun for all the family at Boyle’s St Patrick’s Day Parade
Boyle St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2019 will start at 3:30pm on Sunday 17th March. If people would like to enter a float, please assemble out in Mockmoyne for registration at 2:30. Best float wins €500. facebook.com/Boyle-St-Patricks-Day-Parade-1041573416026164/
9. Carrick on Shannon’s St Patrick’s Day Parade 2019
The lovely people of Leitrim can attend the Carrick on Shannon parade on Sunday 17th March starting at 12.45pm. mycarrick.ie/428/St+Patrick’s+Day+Parade
10. For something different: Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes
On Monday 19th of March at 3 pm at the Hawk’s Well Theatre in Sligo, enjoy the wonderful anarchic work of children’s favourite Roald Dahl with storyteller and artist Wayne O’Connor as famous fairy tales are reimagined in a suitably revolting manner. >> hawkswell.com/events/event/roald-dahls-revolting-rhymes