On the 17th March each year, Ireland puts on a fantastic St Patrick’s Day party to honour its most revered religious patron. Thanks to the spread of Irish culture, the festival has grown into a global phenomenon, and today everywhere from New York to New Zealand takes part. While the parade and fireworks in Dublin may be renowned as the spiritual heart of the festivities, this is by no means to only way to celebrate. Take a look at some of these alternative activities across the Emerald Isle that you can enjoy during St Patrick’s Day.
Visit a Castle
Ireland is dotted with ancient castles just waiting to be explored, so instead of watching the parade in Dublin, why not pay a visit to the famous Blarney Castle in the south of the country? Here you can kiss the mythical Blarney Stone – an act said to grant great eloquence – but be prepared to lean backwards over a 10-storey drop to reach it while a castle attendant holds you securely in place! Movie fans should take the time to seek out Trim Castle, the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland and backdrop to the hit movie Braveheart with Mel Gibson.
Enjoy Some Genuine Irish Cuisine
The restaurant scene in Ireland offers a vibrant array of gourmet eateries, experimental pop-ups and riverside brasseries, but to truly embrace the spirit of St Patrick’s Day, why not try some feel-good local delicacies? Taste freshly baked, buttery soda bread or warm up with a rich Irish stew, a hearty blend of potatoes, lamb and steaming broth.
Learn About Saint Patrick
A huge part of the heritage of this nation can be found in the grand cathedrals and quiet monasteries hidden away in the countryside or tucked away in small towns. The beautiful Down Cathedral in Northern Ireland’s Downpatrick is the reputed burial site of Saint Patrick himself, and the nearby Saint Patrick Centre is the only permanent exhibition in the world devoted to telling the tale of the Irish patron saint.
Drink Irish Coffee
A recent boom in the quality of coffee in the country means brew connoisseurs will feel right at home here. Sample high quality beans in the upstairs café of the Project Arts Centre in Dublin’s Temple Bar Area, where the pop-up Roasted Brown serves a delicious array of hot drinks. For a cosy retreat in Cork, head to the impressive 18th-century mansion Bantry House and sip a warming Irish coffee in its elegant tearooms.
Explore Ireland’s Natural Beauty
If you really want to celebrate what makes this green land such a fantastic destination to visit, you’ll need to head out into the countryside. From the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher in County Clare to the volcanic basalt-columned marvel of the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland, you won’t be disappointed by the dramatic, rugged landscape you can find all over Ireland. While you walk, keep an eye out for shamrocks. These three-leaved clovers are believed to have been used by Saint Patrick himself to explain the idea of the holy trinity to non-Christians, and have since become a national symbol.
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