Whatever the reason, St Patrick’s Day is one of, if not the most, widely celebrated days in honour of a saint. Especially in North America, many cities have huge parades on St Patrick’s Day and those Irish pubs become very busy with everybody joining in the merrymaking!
It’s ironic that until 1996, the celebrations in Ireland itself couldn’t rival those around the world, so the Irish government established the St Patrick’s Festival, a national festival that would make the Irish proud!
What is the St Patrick’s Festival?
The first St Patrick’s Festival took place in Dublin in 1996 and included a huge parade and spectacular fireworks. Since then the festival has grown and there are now celebrations of one kind or another going on for about four days, covering the weekend before St Patrick’s Day itself, on March 17. This year the St Patrick’s Festival will be from the 12th to the 17th of March.
Dublin is now home to probably the best St Patrick’s parade in the world, but the fireworks, known as Skyfest, have been on the move over the past few years, happening in County Tipperary in 2008, and in the beautiful city of Waterford in 2009. Where exactly Skyfest will take place in 2010 is still a mystery, but the official St Patrick’s Festival website will give you more information as soon it’s been released.
Who was Saint Patrick?
Saint Patrick is one of three patron saints of Ireland, and though there are two others he is the most famous. He came to Ireland as a bishop to spread the world of Christianity, using a shamrock to explain to the Irish about the Holy Trinity. After his death he was declared a Saint in Heaven, and a few hundred years later Saint Patrick was widely accepted as a patron saint of Ireland.
Visiting the St Patrick’s Festival
All across Ireland you’ll find towns and cities celebrating St Patrick’s Day in one way or another, whether it’s on the day itself, or maybe the weekend before, but Dublin is home to the national celebrations.
If you’re heading to Ireland’s capital city, Dublin, be aware that you’ll be one in about a million other visitors who have come for this family fun event, so make sure you book your travel arrangements and hotel accommodation well in advance. Dublin has many excellent hotels, from budget to 5 star, but with a million people in the city hotels will get booked up fast.
The festival parade is the main event of the celebrations, but as the festival takes place over the course of several days you have the opportunity to enjoy more than simply the parade. There’s usually a large fun-fair for example, maybe live music, and of course you have the whole of the great city of Dublin to explore too; so take your time and stay for a while!
Find out more about exactly what will be included in the 2010 St Patrick’s Festival by checking the official website nearer the time.