St Patrick’s Day festival: All you need to know about the parades

Bank holiday will mean a four-day celebration for many people

St Patrick’s Day falls on Friday but festivities across Ireland will outlast the feast day itself.

Dublin’s St Patrick’s Festival is now a four-day event and marks the start of the tourism season. The main focus will be in the National Museum of Ireland in Collins Barracks which will have free events from Thursday to Sunday.

There will also be an outdoor main stage, performance spaces, a mini-funfair and an Irish food and craft village.

Friday’s Dublin parade runs between noon at 2.30pm. The theme is One and is intended to reflect the diversity of the people now living in Dublin. The parade will include 4,000 participants and 15 marching bands from Ireland, the US and Canada.


The parade route will begin from Parnell Square North, make its way down O’Connell Street before crossing the River Liffey and proceeding on to Dame Street, Lord Edward Street, Nicholas Street, Patrick Street before finishing up on Kevin Street near St Stephen’s Green.

The Ireland women’s football team, who made history by qualifying for this year’s World Cup for the first time, will act as grand marshal. Despite the cost-of-living crisis, all 1,700 tickets for the grandstands along the Dublin parade route on Friday have been sold. The tickets cost €100-€250.

Cork city’s parade will begin at 1pm from the South Mall to Grand Parade and is called A Century of Stories and marks 100 years of Irish statehood.

Cork is also having a four-day St Patrick’s Festival with the Lee Sessions of traditional music being held in various pubs throughout the city. Nano Nagle Place market will host local artists from across Cork and the St Patrick’s Hill Ball Run in which 12,000 multicoloured balls will cascade down St Patrick’s Hill will be in aid of the Cork Life Centre. It takes place on Sunday at 2pm.

Galway city’s St Patrick’s Festival will run from St Patrick’s Day to Sunday. The city’s parade begins at 11.30am and runs from University Road to Prospect Hill.

The 2023 parade will be led by two grand marshals in an open top bus. They are Connacht Rugby director of rugby, Andy Friend, and 11-year-old Saoirse Ruane who has helped collect millions of euro for cancer research since her appearance on the Late Late Toy Show in 2020.

There will be three days of free outdoor gigs taking place in Eyre Square as part of this year’s St Patrick’s Day weekend in Galway.

Limerick’s St Patrick’s Festival includes the parade at 12pm from O’Connell Street to Henry Street and the 51st Limerick International Band Championship on Sunday.

Waterford will host its second St Patrick’s Festival. The parade will go from The Quays to the Mall from 1pm. Before the parade there will be the presentation of the national flag on the Mall. Numerous events have been organised around the city until Sunday.

Belfast’s St Patrick’s Day parade takes place from Belfast City Hall at 1.30pm and will loop around the city returning to City Hall.

Trad Trail by Féile an Phobail is taking place until Sunday in venues across Belfast and throughout the city centre, with local musicians and musicians from across the island.

The weather on St Patrick’s Day for the parades looks much better than of late. It will be dry with temperatures of up to 12 degrees in Dublin.

Temperatures could rise to 16 degrees in other parts of the country, but heavy showers are expected along the south coast.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times