There are plenty of things to do in Ireland. From kissing the Blarney Stone to touring the Guinness Factory, Ireland offers visitors a wide array of historical attractions, beautiful natural landscapes, and Irish-brewed beverages. Come March 17th, though, and the list of things to do in Ireland focuses on one event – St. Patrick’s Day.
For a lot of American tourists, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is the ultimate bucket list item and one of the absolute best times to visit Dublin. However, some Americans find the events to be a bit overwhelming, trying to navigate in a new city that is now crowded and full of drunk people. Additionally, American tourists who lack general knowledge about Ireland and who assume that Irish stereotypes are true, often experience embarrassing interactions with the locals. This guide will help American tourists celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland like the locals, participating in the festivities and creating fun, bucket list-enhancing memories.
Do Stay for More than One Day
In order to get the full experience of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, tourists should plan on staying in Ireland for at least four days. The reason being that most Irish cities and towns start celebrating St. Patrick’s Day before March 17th. This year is no different. With a car rental in Dublin, you will have full-access to all the festivities, on a schedule that best suits your needs. In Dublin, the festivities start on Saturday, March 14th. For 4 days, the city will celebrate with fun fairs, live music, a 5K race, and “Greening the City,” where Dublin’s most iconic buildings are lit up with green lights. Cork, the second biggest city in the Republic of Ireland, also hosts a 4-day festival, bringing in street performers, food vendors, and musicians for the celebration. In Northern Ireland, the big cities, such as Belfast and Londonderry/Derry also celebrate with events and parades. Additionally, the town of Downpatrick, the burial place of St. Patrick, hosts a festival with live entertainment and events for the whole family.
Do Book Ahead
Just like for any big event in America– SXSW, Mardi Gras, etc.– flights and accommodation for St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland are expensive. In this case, booking earlier is the lesser of two evils; it will cost an arm and a leg, but at least it won’t cost two arms and two legs.
Do Dress Up, but Don’t Dress as a Sexy Leprechaun
St. Patrick’s Day is all about wearing green. So put on a green shirt, green hat, green socks, green sunglasses, and a green necklace. Accessorize with temporary tattoos, as well, such as a shamrock on the cheek. Avoid dressing as a Leprechaun, especially if that Leprechaun outfit is a “sexy” leprechaun outfit. Just because they sell it, doesn’t mean people should buy it!
Don’t Pinch People
Pinching people who aren’t wearing green is a tradition in America only. Bring that tradition over to Ireland and expect to be the victim of an Irish bar fight.
Do Wake Up Early to See a Parade
On March 17th, cities and towns celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with parades. To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland like a true Irish local, don’t miss this spectacle, especially in Dublin. Ireland’s capital city hosts an amazing parade that draws a crowd of over 500,000 people. So, wake up early, and be on the streets at 9 am, prowling for the best parade-watching spot.
Don’t Expect to Pay with Plastic; Do Get Cash Money
Cabs in Ireland only take cash, and some pubs have a card minimum. So, before St. Patrick’s Day, head to an ATM and withdraw cash. Come March 17th, the lines at the ATM are long and avoiding them means more time for things like drinking.
Don’t Wear a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” Shirt
If you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, then the majority of people you’re celebrating with are Irish, and actual Irish people don’t need to advertise that they’re Irish. So, wearing a “Kiss me I’m Irish” shirt can mean only one thing – tourist!
Do Know Basic Facts about Ireland
Seriously, this brief summary could save you from angering an entire pub full of drunken Irishmen, so read carefully! Irish people are not British. The Republic of Ireland has been independent since 1922. Only Northern Ireland is part of the UK and even that is controversial, so avoid this topic. You’re welcome.
Do Order a Guinness
Drinking a pint of Guinness is one of the most important things to do in Ireland, and on March 17th, this Guinness drinking reaches a whole new level. During St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, 13 million Guinness are consumed. No pressure, but everyone’s doing it. Don’t be lame; instead, add to the statistic and try the famous Irish beer. To look really cool, say “Sláinte”, the Irish word for “Cheers” before taking that first sip.
Don’t Make Potato Jokes
When talking with locals, remember that potato jokes are never a good way to break the ice. Irish people hate potato jokes, which is fair, considering 1 million people died in the famine. So, don’t be a jerk; leave the potato jokes at home.
Do Eat Chips
St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is a drunken good time, so drink and then drink some more. But, when it comes to drunchies (drunk munchies), fulfill the strong desire for food with chips, not French fries, but chips. These delicious wedge-cut, fried potatoes are served at just about every pub in Ireland, so they’re easy to find, affordable, and so dang good.
Don’t Mention Your Irish Roots
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland means being surrounded by people who are 100% Irish and proud of it. Americans with Irish roots need to understand that this does not put them on the same level with full-bred Irishmen and Irishwomen. For example, having an Irish great-grandfather might be cool in America, but in Ireland, being 1/8th Irish won’t get much respect.
St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland with Auto Europe
Now that you’re fully prepared for the ultimate St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, the only thing you have to do now is reserve your hotel accommodations, airfare, and car rental in Ireland so you can really enjoy your stay on the Emerald Isle. Thanks to Auto Europe, all of this can be accomplished in just a few clicks, or a short phone call to one of our expert reservations agents at 1-888-223-5555 – available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your convenience.