A cultural St Patrick's day guide

An alternative to the often drink-fuelled day can be enjoyed with this cultural treat

You didn’t get a float ready in time; you’ve had your fill of vintage cars and floral tractors; green doesn’t suit you or crowds don’t agree with you. Whatever the excuse, it doesn’t mean you should stay in over St Patrick’s weekend. Every town has a parade, but plenty of other happenings are taking place that celebrate Irish culture, creativity and community – what national pride is really about.

Jape at the RHA
Richie Egan, along with Glenn Keating and Ross Turner, headline the St Patrick's cultural programme in Dublin. Hear their crafted lyrics and electronic rhythms, in one of Dublin's best galleries, the Royal Hibernian Academy. Friday, 7.30pm.

One City, Many Cultures
Ease your way into the weekend at the National Gallery with Milk and Cookie Stories. They've been at the helm of Dublin storytelling for years, mixing home-baked treats with home-spun yarns. Themed One City, Many Cultures, stories about Dublin as a multicultural place will be shared. Participation is encouraged but not mandatory. Free. Friday, 7pm.

Footsteps of St Patrick
Get your staff out, put your sandals on and follow in the footsteps of Ireland's patron saint. Much of the pre-Viking development of Dublin owed its origins to the legacy of St Patrick and this walking tour, led by historian and author Pat Liddy, seeks to uncover some of this history. At 11am and 2.30pm, Thursday-Sunday, and Tuesday; 2.30pm, Monday. From outside Discover Ireland Centre, Suffolk Street.


Beckettian clowning
If you fancy swapping your shamrock for a red nose, clown expert Raymond Keane of Barabbas Theatre is facilitating a two-hour workshop examining the world of one of our literary greats, Samuel Beckett. Using the mask of the four temperaments, or four humours, Beckett's love of slapstick comedy (Krapp's bananas?) and his dark sense of humour will be explored through the human body. Saturday, 11am and 2pm, The Warehouse, 32 Mill Street, Dublin 8.

The Enchanted Banquet
This evening of food, music and performance by Hunt&Gather features some lesser-known Irish fables, fairy tales and folklore. Within the empty halls of Earlsfort Terrace, a mystic menu is promised for the five-course banquet. With entertainment by the Petty Cash collective, this looks like a sensory celebration with myth-making potential of its own. Saturday, 7pm.

Floating cinema
A floating cinema will screen Waking Ned , in the heart of Dublin's waterways at the lively Grand Canal area. It stars Ian Bannen, David Kelly and Fionnula Flanagan and more. Bring your thermals, and possibly a cushion. Sunday, 7.30pm.

Offset & Souvenir design trail
Creative instigators Offset are teaming up with Souvenir to bring you a 100-minute art trail across Dublin, featuring posters inspired by the question of, Home: coming or going? Ten artists are partaking and 30 prints will be sold for €10 each within the 100 minutes. Culinary treats served along the way are courtesy of Gruel Guerilla. Starts at Clement and Pekoe, South William Street, Sunday 3pm.

Music in the chapel
Those looking to escape the madness on Monday can head for the Chapel Royal at Dublin Castle and hear the intimate surroundings soar with music and song by three top solo performers, Iarla Ó Lionáird (voice), Seán Mac Erlaine (clarinet) and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh (hardanger d'amore fiddle). Spacious sounds promise an imaginative journey bringing you far from Dublin's heaving streets. Free. Monday, 5pm and 7pm.

ThereisBear! Theatre Company are putting up a St Patrick's Day matinee of Terminus by Mark O'Rowe in Chancery Lane Theatre. Those hungry for more Irish make-believe can check out John B Keane's Sive at the Abbey Theatre or Stones in his Pockets by Marie Jones at the Gaiety Theatre, following its Broadway tour. Both play Friday and Saturday.

We need to talk about Ireland
What does it mean to be Irish? The Trailblazery will put this to some of Ireland's brightest innovators, thinkers and artists to answer the big questions. With Ted-style talks, music, poetry and a choral spectacle at Dublin's Mansion House, this promises to be an inspiring celebration of Irishness, past and present. The line-up includes Colm O'Gorman from Amnesty, broadcaster Manchán Mangan, comedian Eleanor Tiernan and more. If you can't get a seat, stream the event on RTÉ Player and the Washington Post from 9pm. Monday.

The 'One Book' Bookshop
If Ever You Go: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Verse (Dedalus Press ) has been chosen as Dublin's One City One Book for 2014, and it has got its own pop-up bookshop at the Discover Ireland Tourism Centre on Suffolk Street. The shop will also host readings in the afternoons by poets whose work features in the anthology, which celebrates the city, its history and traditions. Visitors are also encouraged to read their favourite poems from the book. Friday-Saturday, noon-6pm.

Dora, Columbus or Paddy himself; dress up as your favourite explorers for the festival treasure hunt going from City Hall at 10am. For something more stationary, the Little Museum on Stephen's Green welcomes children to join in Dabbledoo Music at 11am, a multimedia experience for young children, while parents can peruse the museum. At Grand Canal, art and music workshops are happening at the Waterways Visitor Centre from 12pm.

The 1968 Francis Ford Coppola film Finian's Rainbow , based on the Broadway hit, is coming out of the vaults at the IFI. The musical contains all our favourite whimsical St Patty's Day figures, such as a leprechaun and a pot of gold, has songs to boot and a more serious comment on 1960s US racial politics. 1.30pm.

The Paula Lambert Puppet Theatre is at Glór with Snow White with Bosco for all the family on St Patrick's Day. The squeaky-voiced, red-haired puppet will make a nostalgic appearance in the opening part of the show, making this a treat for all ages. Ennis, Monday, 1.30pm.

Lee Sessions
Those in the people's republic won't be short of aural pleasures, with an extensive series of free traditional Irish music sessions in Cork city centre pubs featuring masters of traditional music. National pride comes in a cup of Barry's Tea from the Barry's Tea Market, where food and crafts stalls will tempt with their wares. Afterwards find place at a cosy, watering hole to hear some of the finest jigs and reels.

Plugd and Lisa Lemur present
Plug'd records in Cork is hosting an alternative event called Sayn't Pah Tricks Week'nd at the Triskel Arts Centre. Stanley Brinks and the Wave Pictures, Katie Kim and No Spill Blood will play with support from local, national and international acts. Handmade tickets for all three shows are €15. Friday to Sunday.

Women's choir
St Nicholas's Collegiate Church is hosting a St Patrick's Day concert in aid of the Simon Community, helping those for whom the streets aren't a place to parade, but one to survive. The University of Wisconsin Women's Concert Chorale have travelled to perform, with a repertoire of American and international pieces, focusing on music written for female voices. Free, 8pm.

Kilkenny Trad Festival
There will be no escaping traditional Irish music in Kilkenny over St Patrick's Weekend. With a range of workshops from beginners to advanced in all instruments and sean nós dancing, there's also no excuse not to join in the session. Dervish, Dónal Lunny, Sharon Shannon, Phil Coulter and more are in town. Kilkenny knows how to do festivals, so there's no better place to ceilí than with the Cats.

Paddy's Day Unlocked
Making Paddy's day about people and not pints, Happenings are in Limerick for the City of Culture 2014 to take the post-parade party out of the pub and into public space. Taking over The Milk Market, Paddy's Day Unlocked is a four-hour feast and celebration, an alternative to the often drink-fuelled day with a full line-up of cultural entertainment. Monday 3pm-7pm.

Chamber Music
Two of Ireland's premiere classical musicians, who can also boast international success, are bringing vibrant chamber music to the Solstice Arts Centre. Violinist Elizabeth Cooney and pianist Finghin Collins are joined by prominent French cellist Marc Coppey and the evening's programme includes Haydn, Shostakovich and Dvorak. Navan, Saturday, 8pm.

Their music has been described as "Riverdance for toddlers", their debut album recently won a Parents' Choice music award in the US and they're back at the Hawk's Well in Sligo. The Speks, a six-piece traditional Irish music band for children, live on a mysterious island where everybody wears glasses. That idea alone sounds sufficient to capture children's imaginations. Monday, 2pm.