Yes, the day of green beer is growing closer, the day of the year when all of Ireland goes crazy for their patron Saint Patrick, he who rid the country of snakes and made it the green and pleasant haven it is today. March 17th, put it in your diary, if it’s not already there. In Dublin, the city holds a major festival from March 16th to 20th. This includes a parade on March 17th which this year has the theme of How? What? Why? in line with Dublin being the City of Science 2012.
Marching bands from Ireland, the UK, Russia and the USA will add music to the pageantry which begins at noon at Parnell Square and finishes near St Patrick’s Cathedral. If you prefer to hit the streets yourself rather than being a bystander you can join in the seventh annual St Patrick’s Festival 5km Road Race on Sunday 18th. To encourage you along the way there will be face-painters, jugglers and fire eaters – or perhaps they are more to entertain those you run past than the serious runners. The other sporting event held during the festival is the Dublin University Boat Races, a traditional rivalry between Trinity College and University College starting at O’Connell Bridge.
But back to St Patrick himself… Each day of the festival there are walking tours: In the Footsteps of Saint Patrick which includes visits to the two great medieval cathedrals of Dublin: Christ Church and St Patrick’s. And to kick the whole thing off, literally, there is Irish street dancing on Friday 16th on St Stephen’s Green from 4-30pm. If you’ve always wanted to learn an Irish jig, this is your moment.