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17th March is the biggest day in the Irish calendar it's the day when the nation's naturally high levels of exuberance and hospitality go off the scale as the Ireland celebrates its patron saint.
St Patrick's Day is Ireland's national holiday, a day celebrated not only in Ireland but worldwide. Known as the day that the world goes green, expect to see cultural landmarks from around the world such as the Sydney Opera House and Niagara Falls bathed in an emerald Isle hue, and some 50 million people worldwide joining in the celebrations on 17th March. There'll be parades in New York, in Chicago they'll dye the river green, in Brazil they'll fuse Irish Dancing with Samba and even as far as Moscow and Tokyo the streets will be turned green, white and orange. But despite this Ireland the home of the holiday is the place to be to get into the true Irish festive spirit and get to the meaning of our national holiday.
From its roots in the ninth and tenth century as a way of honouring and remembering St Patrick, our patron saint from the 5th century who brought Christianity to this Fair Isle, banished the snakes (metaphorical of course) and who established shamrocks as the national emblem, our national holiday has grown into a worldwide celebration of Irish culture in which everyone, no matter their place of birth or heritage can take part, witness and ultimately celebrate the many facets of Irish culture.
For despite its international reach St Patrick's Day is at its heart a uniquely Irish affair with Ireland the place to be to grab hold of the true spirit of the occasion. The holiday is celebrated in every village, town and city in Ireland with special parades and general good cheer. Aside from the traditional aspects of honouring our saint with a special mass and the wearing of shamrock and green, it is a day of fun and national festivities with celebratory events specific to each locale ranging from local parades in villages and towns to huge spectacles, marching bands, 4 day festivals and events in the major cities. After the parades, comes a day for fun and revelry with lasting celebrations, ceol agus craic (music, fun and drink) in the local pubs and on the streets that last well into the night.
From humble origins, today it is much more than a national holiday, having grown in scale and emphasis to become a international celebration of all that is great about our country, its traditions, heritage and distinctive culture. Whilst the world joins in in its own way, here in Ireland in every village, town and city you will find a variety of special events celebrating the holiday, some of which will go own for almost a week in special festivals in the capital and the town of Downpatrick (the final resting place of St. Patrick). So whether Irish by blood or in spirit there are many ways to get into the spirit of things and join in the celebrations on March 17th. So whatever your idea of St Patrick's Day why not lookup the legend or checkout the many events happening in Ireland or worldwide on the day.
But if you want to experience the real story of St Patrick and enjoy the celebrations in his old stomping ground, then Ireland is the place to come and there are plenty of St Patrick's Day celebrations, carnival parades and cross community festivals to choose from or why not take our St. Patrick's Day Tour.