Ok, so you decided you want to spend your St. Patrick's Day in Dublin but you haven't planned anything special so you're looking for some ideas. Fear not! In the Capital of St. Paddy you have plenty of options to choose from to keep yourself entertained.
Some statistics estimate that on this cheerful day around 14 million pints of Guinness are drunk, so it's quite easy to make new friends and engage in drunken shenanigans!
With all that being said, let's all have a toast for health, good cheer and happy travels!
Almost forgot about the tips:
1. Hit the Bars
I think I read a quote that said a real challenging way of travelling through Ireland is not to enter in any of the pubs.
But do we reeaaally want that?
Raise your glass for a strong NOOO!!
Of course, you have to be a little smart about how you're gonna do this! Try to avoid the Temple Bar area this time of year since it will be crowded af and pricey.
Instead: Go to smaller pubs outside the center area and the suffocating atmosphere will suddenly disappear!
2. Enjoy the Parade the Smart Way
If you want to attend the parade, you have to do a bit of preparations beforehand so you can fully enjoy it. Get yourself a city map which shows the parade route and choose the best spot for your needs (spectacular photos, less crowded places, better protection from the wind/rain etc.).
Oh, and be ready to wait aprox. 2 hours! Yep, that's how early you need to arrive to catch a decent place.
If you want save time, I recommend just staying near the starting point of the parade. This way, you won't have to wait an extra half hour-hour until the parade reaches your position - like you would if you would choose a place near the middle or the end of the parade route.
3. Go All Green
If you feel really festive just buy or make everything that suits you: Irish flags, green hats, green clothes, a shamrock temporary tattoo, whatever brightens your St Patrick's Day.
And the fun doesn't stop there! Go even greener by drinking green beer, Irish-flag shots all night and green jello sweets!
After all, March is all about welcoming the spring. And what a better place to to that than ever-green Ireland? :)
4. Join a Trad Session
If you want a truly authentic Irish experience, you should partake in an Irish trad session. Don't know the lyrics or the moves?
Don't worry! People are really friendly and they will invite you to join the party even if you're shy or a newbie.
5. Cure Your Hangover with Some Irish Dishes
If you celebrate St. Patrick's Day like a local, go traditional all the way and splurge on some delicious Irish dishes like Guinnes Irish Stout or Colcannon mashed potates.
In this photo, we ordered an Irish lamb stew and enjoyed it in the The Stag's Head Pub.
BUT WAIT! THERE ARE 2 MORE BONUS TIPS!
6. Book Your Accomodations Way in Advance
Now let's get serious for a bit. If possible, book your stay a year in advance so that you can have plenty of options to choose from and not be limited to some dirty and shady-looking places to spend your nights.
And keep in mind that the sooner you book your stay, the more money you'll save. Properties can get really expensive during this period - especially if you make your booking a few weeks or months in advance.
Plus, and this is no joke, if you wait until it's too late, you might not even find any free bookings, and that's even true 4-5 months before St. Patrick's. That's not speculation, because it happened to us in 2015, when we tried to book our St. Patrick's hotel 5-6 months in advance.
P.S.: In the photo, you can see our 5-night accommodation which we booked a year in advance.
7. Take a Day Trip to Another City
This tip is only useful if you're not a fan of big cities (we aren't either, so we get where you're coming from). So, in case you want to celebrate St. Patrick's while you're in Dublin but don't want to do it in Dublin (sounds weird at first, we know), there are plenty of alternatives. Don't forget - this holiday isn't restricted to Dublin alone!
My recommendation? Cork. You will have a great time there, as we did when we spent an entire night in Sin É but on a different occasion.
This little pub was even given the award of "one of the best places in the world to spend your St Patrick's Day in" so if your not tight with your schedule you can give it a try!
Now I suppose it's the right time to resume our toast from the beginning of our talk.
So, safe travels and a happy St. Paddy's Day!