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St Patrick’s day in Ireland: What to do

By March 18, 2020January 18th, 2023FinGlobal

St Patrick’s day in Ireland: What to do

March 18, 2020


If you have ventured off to Ireland to live, work, and play, you can expect to be confronted by one or two St Patrick’s Days along the way. As a South African living in Ireland, you should probably know that St Patrick’s Day 2020 is set to be a good one – are you ready? As a South African expat, you are probably quite well acquainted with St Paddy’s Day events. As South African’s the festivities associated with the day are cause for great celebration, but is the background and history of this day really understood? 


The History of St Patrick’s Day

St Patrick’s Day is actually a feast celebrated on the 17th of March each year. It is held in honour of St Patrick who is the patron saint of Ireland. St Patrick’s Day history is quite interesting in that he was born in Roman Britain towards the end of the 4th Century. He was taken to Ireland when he was kidnapped as a slave. He escaped his captives but returned many years later to work at converting the Irish to Christianity. He spent his adult years doing many good works and deeds across the country, such as building churches, monasteries, and schools. When he died on the 17th of March in 461, he was already well-known as a do-gooder in the Irish community. 

St Patrick’s Day first become the massive celebration that we know it to be today in America. It was the work of Irish migrants who had flocked in droves to many American cities. On the 17th of March, they celebrated all things Irish in the name of St Patrick.

While blue was traditionally associated with St Patrick, most people began associating the day with green, ever since Chicago coloured its river green to celebrate the day in 1962. That’s probably something you did not know!


St Patrick’s Day Has All the Quirk of a Unique Celebration

As a South African living in Ireland, you’re probably wondering if the Irish celebrate the day like we do. Everyone seems to celebrate St Patrick’s Day differently and what you end up doing will largely depend on your personal preferences

Some of the typical things that people do to celebrate the Irish holiday are:

  • Feasting on dishes of corned beef and cabbage. 
  • Drinking green-dyed beer (and lots of it).
  • Participating in parades. 
  • Wearing green.
  • Adorning outfits with shamrocks and Irish flags.

Keep in mind that these things and festivities were largely enjoyed in America and it is said that Irish adopted some of these festivities, mostly for the benefit of tourists to Ireland


SA Expat Advice: St Patrick’s day in Ireland

As a newbie to the Irish scene and a South African living in Ireland, you might wonder what to expect in terms of St Patrick’s Day celebrations and how to celebrate it. Is it anything like South Africa’s St Paddy’s Day celebrations and where are the best spots to head to for a good old-fashioned festivity? 

The most popular celebrations for St Paddy’s Day happen in Ireland. That’s not too surprising as Dublin is the country’s tourism hub. If you head over to the official Dublin St Patrick’s Day Festival website, you will note that the celebrations run for a full 5 days this year (13 – 17 March 2020). The festival is designed to shine a spotlight on Ireland’s traditional and contemporary culture and heritage. If you are looking for a true taste of traditional Irish spirit, you will find it at this particular festival.

Something to note is that there are shows, activities, events, and festivities all over the city and at differing times. It’s best to consult with the programme to make sure that you head over to the festival at times that would interest you most

A few of the entertainment possibilities to enjoy during the festival include the likes of:

  • Singing trails throughout the city.
  • Talks and tastes of Irish foods.
  • Talks on Irish superstitions.
  • Night club promotions with live music and current artists.
  • Visual art displays and presentations.
  • Heritage walks and tours through the city.
  • Irish culinary dining experiences. 
  • Library projects. 
  • Theatre shows. 
  • Live music and Irish dancing.


Other Must-Do Activities in Ireland for St Paddy’s Day

Once you have done your time at the St Patrick’s Day Festival in Ireland, it’s time to think about other must-do activities. Below are a few options to consider:

  • Head off to Grafton Street in Dublin to have your photo snapped next to the statue of Molly Malone.
  • Spend the day in Westport, known as one of Ireland’s prettiest town (in fact, it’s one of the prettiest towns in the world).
  • Visit the Temple Bar in Dublin which is a hot and happening bar for a rowdy St Paddy’s night.
  • Head to Blarney Castle in Cork to kiss the Blarney Stone. 
  • Visit the Maonastic ruins and learn a bit of history in Glendalough, County Wicklow (this is a good day trip).


Last Word

When you’re all set to live and work in Ireland, there’s much to see and do, especially around the time of St Paddy’s Day. While the Irish festivities won’t be quite what you have come to expect from television shows, if you head to tourist aligned areas such as Dublin, you can experience a truly festive outing and experience.


FinGlobal: Cross-Border financial service provider for South Africans the world over 

At FinGlobal, we can give you a lot more than just excellent St Paddy’s day celebration advice in Ireland. With our 10 years of experience in the industry, we are able to provide you with a top-notch tax and financial emigration advice and services.  Our team is dedicated to making financial emigration and tax emigration something to celebrate. We firmly believe we are just the team to assist you with all of your tax and financial emigration needs. If you would like further assistance, simply get in touch with us. You can send us an email or give us a call – one of our consultants will advise you further.  







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