Things to do with children over the St Patrick’s bank holiday weekend
Are we there yet?
The Sheriff Street St Patrick’s Parade, Dublin. Photograph: Dara MacDónaill
There’s talk of the St Patrick’s Day Festival, currently a five-day fiesta, being turned into a month-long green gathering but for now let’s focus on this weekend. If the parades around the country aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other activities that will distract the kids and give them a deeper sense of their national identity. Snake hunting anyone?
Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day Festival
Watch out for the Greening the City, where iconic buildings are turned green, family and children’s workshops at Epic, The Ark Dublin and more. The parade begins on Parnell Square at 11.55am on Sunday – make sure you bring waterproofs and wrap up warm – with street theatre companies bringing the usual pageantry to the streets of Dublin. And best of all, in our house anyway, is the funfair later on at Custom House Quay. stpatricksfestival.ie/
Merrion Square, Dublin, March 16th-18th, noon-6pm, admission free: St Patrick’s Festival’s Big Day Out of yore has expanded its range of attractions, and into three days (at last! somewhere to go after the parade!) at the core of the vast line-up in the Dublin festival. The impressive line-up in this shindig will include a Gaeltacht, a Céilí Mór, acrobatics from Tumble Circus in a big top, street theatre, science workshops and shows in a science zone, children’s readings and discos, live music, village hall talks, street theatre, and a world food market. There’s an Actual Reality Arcade – a life-size interactive zone for gamers – and large-scale mathematical exhibits in a Lifetime Lab. Top stuff, and free too; what’s not to love?
Belvedere House, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, March 16th, 2pm-4pm, half price admission: Bring the children for some traditional music and dance at Belvedere House’s annual celebration. Taking part in the knees-up are The Celtic Blondes, Emerald Lakes Academy, Mullingar Harp School, Intermediate Midland Youth Orchestra and other local musicians. belvedere-house.ie
Family Traditional Music Session: This is led by Eoin O’Neill and the whole family can take part so bring your instruments and play along with local musicians. March 17th, 12-2pm, free of charge.
DabbledooMusic Workshops: March 17th 12.30 and 1.30pm €6, Suitable for Ages six-12. Duration: 30-40 minutes, instruments supplied. DabbledooMusic uses shapes, colours and animation to make music. The colour-coded system and musical characters will have everybody singing and playing along. Everyone gets an instrument and everyone joins in.
An Grianán Theatre Productions present Manny Man does the History of Ireland by John D Ruddy: Directed by Rachael Devir. March 17th, 12.30pm €10 adult and €8 Child, €30 family of four. Suitable for ages eight and over. Duration: 70 minutes. Based on John D Ruddy’s hit series of books and YouTube videos, Manny Man’s History of Ireland romps through thousands of years of Irish history, from the Big Bang to the present day, with the help of illustrated cutouts and comedy. Smart and entertaining it will entertain the bigger kids too. https://glor.ie/
Cool Planet Green Slime Labs: Whatever the weather this weekend – children of all ages will love the Cool Planet Experience’s Green Slime Labs. They will pop, play and stretch green slime to discover how to use these types of materials to save the planet. The workshop is designed to make learning about climate action and sustainability fun. Workshops should be booked in advance. Each workshop lasts 90 minutes and are suitable for ages six to 14 years. March 17th and 18th, 2019, at 11am, 1pm, 3pm. Powerscourt House and Gardens, Co Wicklow. €15 per person, ages six to 16 coolplanetexperience.org/
St Patrick’s Day Snake Hunt at Nore Valley Park: Nore Valley Park, Co Kilkenny, Monday 18th March, 10am – 4pm Park admission Adult €8 Child €7.50 (snake hunt included in the price). There are no snakes in Ireland thanks to St Patrick or so the legend goes. He got rid of them all into the sea. But he wasn’t a perfect snake hunter and apparently there are still some snakes left in Kilkenny which only come out in the Spring months. So off you go to the Annual St Patrick’s Day Snake Hunt to finish the job St Patrick started. norevalleypark.com/
St Patrick’s Day Snake Trail, Birr Castle: Birr Castle, March 16th, 17th and 18th, 12-5pm. Family ticket €25 Follow a trail of slithering snakes through the gardens, tree house and playground at Birr Castle and Gardens. This is another chance to find all those snakes St Patrick – the forgetful eejit – left behind. Find them all and discover their secret message to claim your treat. The trail is included in the price of your admission ticket and will be on a first come first served basis. The St Patrick’s fun also includes complimentary face painting. birrcastle.com/
Cork St Patrick’s Festival: This year’s Cork St Patrick’s Festival will happen in the heart of Cork City from March 15th – 18th. The parade will take place at 1pm. It features up to 3,000 members of communities from all walks of life across the city and annual special guests from around the world. corkcity.ie
Galway St Patrick’s Festival: 2019 is the 117th anniversary of the Galway St Patrick’s Day Parade and you can expect the usual spectacle of all things Irish with this year’s guest of honour Galway native and extreme adventurer Gavan Hennigan. The fountain in Eyre Square will turn green as part of the celebrations. The parade will start at 11.30am and finish at approximately 1pm, following the traditional route from Fr Griffin Rd, along Dominick Street, Shop Street and up to Eyre Square.galwaytourism.ie