St Patrick’s Day: 21 events across Ireland for the bank holiday weekend

St Patrick’s Day: spectators at last year’s Dublin parade. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty

The forecast may not be great for this year’s St Patrick’s Day, but there are lots of events and other attractions, many indoors, to keep you entertained over the bank-holiday weekend. Just be sure to wrap up. Here are 21 that caught our eye, divided into three sections: the St Patrick’s Festival in Dublin; St Patrick’s Day parades outside the capital; and other events that are mainly unrelated to Ireland’s national day but still have plenty of appeal.

ST PATRICK’S FESTIVAL, DUBLIN

1. St Patrick’s Parade
Starts at Parnell Square, Dublin 1, on Sunday, March 17th, at noon; stpatricksfestival.ie
More than 500,000 people are expected to line the route to watch Irish and international street theatre and pageant companies, plus a variety of bands, riffing on this year’s theme, “a celebration of Irish storytelling”. Expect magnificent creations and flamboyant performances, inspired by both legend and contemporary experience. The parade will weave down the eastern side of O’Connell Street, over the Liffey on to Westmoreland Street, then right on to Dame Street, along Lord Edward, Nicholas and Patrick Streets, then left on to Kevin Street, to end at the junction with Aungier Street. Grandstand seats are bookable, and there are designated areas for wheelchair users and others with disabilities or special needs.

St Patrick’s Day: Inishowen Carnival Group in last year’s Dublin parade. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
St Patrick’s Day: Inishowen Carnival Group in last year’s Dublin parade. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

2. Festival Village
Merrion Square, Dublin 2; Saturday, March 16th, to Monday, March 18th, noon-6pm; free; stpatricksfestival.ie
St Patrick’s Festival’s Big Day Out has expanded, with more attractions over three days. The line-up includes a céilí mór, big-top acrobatics, street theatre, science workshops and shows, children’s readings and discos, live music, village-hall talks, street theatre, a world-food market and even a Gaeltacht. There’s also the Actual Reality Arcade, an interactive zone for gamers, and big mathematical exhibits in the Lifetime Lab.

3. Standing, Sitting, Lying Down
City Assembly House, Dublin 2; Thursday, March 14th, and Friday, March 15th, 7pm and 9pm; €12; stpatricksfestival.ie
An immersive audiovisual performance in which four composers – Simon Cullen and Michael Gallen on Thursday; Jennifer Moore and Simon Cullen on Friday – perform over a multispeaker system to envelop the audience, who will be standing, sitting or even lying down, on rugs, in sound.

4. The Muskerry Queen of Song
Knight of Glin Room, City Assembly House, 58 South William Street, Dublin 2; Saturday, March 16th, 2pm; €12; stpatricksfestival.ie
An afternoon of musical stories inspired by Bess Cronin, as Donal Dineen explores Cronin’s traditional singing with the singers Eilish Ní Thuama, her granddaughter, and Eithne Ní Chatháin. Cronin spent her life in the Gaeltacht of Baile Bhuirne, on the Cork-Kerry border; her influence spread far and wide from the 1940s onwards, and her songs and style of singing have had a profound influence on generations of Irish singers.

5. Eamonn Doyle: Irish Contemporary Photography
Royal Hibernian Academy, 15 Ely Place, Dublin 2; Friday, March 15th, to Monday, April 22nd, 11am-5pm; free; stpatricksfestival.ie
This world premiere of work by the acclaimed Irish photographer Eamonn Doyle features 146 images, many of them huge. Doyle also presents Made in Dublin (Friday, March 15th-Sunday, March 24th), an immersive multimedia installation designed by Niall Sweeney, with music by David Donohoe, words by Kevin Barry and a panoramic nine-screen surround-sound work of 10,000 images.

6. The Words That Bind Us poetry trail
Leaves from the Gutter Bookshop, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, on Monday, March 18th, at 1pm; free; stpatricksfestival.ie
The Words That Bind Us project brings together poets from Ireland and Scotland (including Stephen James Smyth, Felispeaks, Leyla Josephine and the Laureate na nÓg, Sarah Crossan) to collaborate with a new generation of young writers through workshops and performances. This part of it is a curated spoken-word poetry trail around Dublin. There are performances of the students’ spoken-word pieces at Axis, Ballymun, on Saturday, March 16th.

This Land: at the National Concert Hall in Dublin and the Civic Theatre in Tallaght
This Land: at the National Concert Hall in Dublin and the Civic Theatre in Tallaght

7. This Land
Civic Theatre, Tallaght, Dublin 24; Friday, March 15th, 7.30pm and 9pm; and the Studio, National Concert Hall, Dublin 2; Saturday, March 16th, 8.30pm; all €12; stpatricksfestival.ie
Artists living in direct provision weave their stories with ancient Irish mythologies of arrival, along with the actor Raymond Keane, the singer Farah Elle and Candlelit Theatre, using storytelling, song, spoken word, music and movement.

8. Terra Firmish
Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin 2; Friday, March 15th, 7.30pm; 16.50; stpatricksfestival.ie
A festival commission: contemporary music and dance by the composer Seán Mac Erlaine (for dance, harp, clarinet, marimba, percussion, and electronics) and the dancer Emma O’Kane, with visual design by Michelle Browne. A poetic interpretation of the sinking church on Inis Oírr.

9. Finest Minds
Festival Village, Merrion Square, Dublin 2; Saturday, March 16th, 8pm; free; stpatricksfestival.ie
The actor Liam Cunningham’s brain will be picked (by the journalist Jim Carroll) in a show that includes performers such as the future-Afro soul singer-songwriter Fehdah.

10. Cormac Begley & Friends
Pepper Canister Church, Dublin 2; Thursday, March 14th, 8pm; €17; stpatricksfestival.ie
The concertina player Cormac Begley is joined by Liam Ó Maonlaí, Libby McCrohan, Stephen James Smith and Lisa O’Neill, among others, for musical stories and tunes. The event is hosted by Donal Dineen.

PARADES AROUND IRELAND

11. Limerick St Patrick’s Day parade
From noon on Sunday, March 17th; limerick.ie
At Ireland’s largest regional St Patrick’s Day parade, this year’s theme is “one giant leap”, to reflect the revitalisation of the city. Part of Limerick St Patrick’s Festival, which also includes Limerick International Band Championship, and fireworks, from Saturday, March 16th to Monday, March 18th.

12. Cork St Patrick’s Day parade
From 1pm on Sunday, March 17th; corkcity.ie
Part of the city’s St Patrick’s Festival, the parade will involve up to 3,000 people from communities across the city, from sporting groups to dance schools, new communities to long-established brass bands, and international guests.

13. Galway St Patrick’s Day parade
Leaving from NUI Galway on Sunday, March 17th, at 11.30am; discoverireland.ie
Taking the theme of diversity, the parade features community, cultural, sporting and international groups, including the spectacle theatre company Macnas, led by the Macnas Young Ensemble. Starting at 11.30am and finishing around 1pm, the route has changed this year: starting at NUI Galway, it will go down University Road, over Salmon Weir Bridge, up Eglinton Street and past the viewing stand in Eyre Square to finish at Bóthar Na mBan.

14. Waterford St Patrick’s Day parade
Leaving from the Glen on Sunday, March 17th, at 1pm; facebook.com
The parade in the first city to mark St Patrick’s Day as a national holiday – in 1903 – this year celebrates colour, culture and community, on a route starting at the Glen and continuing down the Quay, proceeding along the Mall and finishing at the Bishop’s Palace.

OTHER BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND EVENTS

15. Kilkenny Tradfest
Venues around Kilkenny city; Friday, March 15th, to Monday, March 18th; various prices; kilkennytradfest.com
Concerts, céilithe, sessions, Irish dance, pub gigs and more. Highlights include Altan at St Canice’s Cathedral and the Banner county’s national and world champion Kilfenora Céilí Band at the Watergate Theatre. Also featuring the Inistioge resident, and Gloaming lead singer, Iarla Ó Lionáird with his long-time collaborator Steve Cooney, and Téada with Seamus Begley. The KGB – aka the trad legends Paddy Keenan, Frankie Gavin and Dermot Byrne – perform to raise funds for the new Kilkenny CBS school.

Kilfenora Céilí Band: at the Watergate Theatre for Kilkenny Tradfest
Kilfenora Céilí Band: at the Watergate Theatre for Kilkenny Tradfest

16. St Patrick’s Weekend of Racing
Greenmount Park, Patrickswell, Co Limerick; Saturday, March 16th, and Sunday, March 17th, from 2pm; €10/€15; limerickraces.ie
The first national-hunt two-day fixture of the year has seven races on the card, with the features races on St Patrick’s Day itself including the Dawn Run EBF Mares Novice Chase Grade 2 and Shannon Spray EBF Mares Novice Hurdle Grade 3.

17. AIB GAA All-Ireland Senior Club Championship Finals
Croke Park, Dublin; Sunday, March 17th, 2pm and 3.45pm; €25 (€5 for under-16s), including access to the GAA Museum; crokepark.ie/fixtures
Ballyhale Shamrocks, from Kilkenny, take on St Thomas from Galway in the hurling final, at 2pm; and Corofin, from Galway, play Dr Crokes, from Kerry, in the football at 3.45pm. The ground is minutes from the city centre after the St Patrick’s Day parade.

18. Charlie’s a Clepto
Civic Theatre, Tallaght, Dublin 24; Thursday, March 14th, and Friday, March 15th, 8.15pm; €16/€14; civictheatre.ie; and Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny; Saturday, March 16th, 8pm; €16/€14; watergatetheatre.com; then touring
Charlie is a kleptomaniac. The queen of self-sabotage tries desperately, for once in her life, to keep her mouth shut long enough to make it count. Clare Monnelly’s debut as a writer promises a fast-paced, poignant and funny play about motherhood, messing up, and doing your best to make it up. The production is on a nationwide tour until April 13th that will also visit Letterkenny, Longford, Drogheda, Cavan, Monaghan, Roscommon, Sligo, Waterford, Cork, Ballina, Dún Laoghaire, Birr and Galway.

19. Mullingar Half-Marathon
Mullingar, Co Westmeath; Sunday, March 17th, 10.30am; medal presentations from 12.30pm; mullingarhalfmarathon.com
The fifth Mullingar Half-Marathon will raise funds for the local charity Team, which provides temporary emergency accommodation for women and children.

20. SubOver80
Civic Theatre, Tallaght, Dublin 24; Saturday, March 16th, all day; €25-€40; civictheatre.ie
SubOver80 will be hosting 32 of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu grapplers from Ireland and Britain to compete in one of two 16-man tournaments, one for sub-80kg athletes, the other for over-80kg athletes. The event is suitable for all ages.

21. Green Slime Lab
Cool Planet Experience, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow; Sunday, March 17th, and Monday, March 18th, 11am, 1pm and 3pm; €15; coolplanetexperience.org
Cool Planet’s workshops come at an appropriate time, following Friday’s planned climate-change protest by school students. This 75-minute workshop, for ages six to 14, aims to make learning about climate action interactive and fun, taking a closer look at environmental science with slime, goo, jelly balls and seaweed.

Check local media for other events, as well as discoverireland.ie, wildatlanticway.com, irelandsancienteast.com and visitdublin.com