A close-up of a shamrock, or clover
10 July, 20193 minute read

St Patrick’s Day - the best of Ireland

It’s 17 March, time to pin a muddy shamrock to your top and raise a Guinness to the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. A national holiday in Northern Ireland and Eire, St Patrick’s Day will also be celebrated in many nations around the world, particularly those with large Irish populations such as the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.

Born in Roman Britain in AD 387, Patrick was taken to Ireland as a slave aged 16. After six years he escaped and returned to Britain, where he became a missionary, before returning to Ireland to convert them to Christianity. Famously, St Patrick is said to have taught the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of the shamrock.

St Patrick died on 17 March, 461 AD, which became his religious feast day. For more than 1,000 years, Ireland has observed this religious holiday, which falls during the season of Lent. Traditionally, Irish families would attend church in the morning and celebrate with a meal of bacon and cabbage in the afternoon - Lent prohibitions against eating meat being suspended for the day - followed by festivities, music and dancing.

Originally, due to it being a religious feast day, Irish pubs were closed on St Patrick’s Day. However, that is no longer the case and all across Ireland there will be celebrations and revelries, from the smallest village fete to the immense multi-day St Patrick’s Festival in Dublin (14-17 March), where 1 million people will enjoy concerts, parades and firework displays.

A man in a green hat photographs a St Patrick's Day parade in Dublin, Ireland

Titan hopes everyone celebrating St Patrick’s Day has a fantastic time. If you would like to experience Irish culture for yourself, our popular ‘The Best of Ireland’ tour provides the perfect introduction. This enchanting eight-day journey features the historic and cultural highlights of Eire and Northern Island, enabling travellers to appreciate the astonishing charm and beauty of the Emerald Isle.

First, Titan takes you to admire the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Northern Ireland. Travelling along the stunning Causeway Coastal Route, flanked by the glens of Antrim, you will visit the medieval Carrickfergus Castle, before continuing on to the legendary Giant’s Causeway, a geological wonder and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The famous myth declares that the Causeway was created by the giant Finn McCool.

Medieval Norman castle in Carrickfergus near Belfast, with marina, town, Belfast Lough and far view of Belfast city in the background

Our next stop is the fascinating Titanic Belfast Exhibition, where you can learn the tragic history of the doomed ship. We pay a visit to the arresting 700 foot Cliffs of Moher. And you have time to explore the lovely city of Cork, before enjoying an excursion to see the majestic mountains and tranquil lakes of Killarney Park. We then travel along the scenic Ring of Kerry, admiring the picturesque Irish countryside.

Following a visit to Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city famous for its astonishing crystal glass, we pass through the Wicklow Mountains and come to our final stop, Dublin. While in the great capital, we visit St Patrick’s Cathedral, see the hallowed Book of Kells in Trinity College and enjoy a drop of the good stuff at the Guinness Storehouse. In the evening you can enjoy the lively spirit of Temple Bar, where there are excellent restaurants to dine in.

If St Patrick’s Day stirs you to discover more about Irish culture, check out ‘The Best of Ireland’ tour.

Image of blog author Natalie Carmen

From the coffee-clad highlands of Colombia to getting up-close-and-personal with elephants in Thailand and the exploring the sprawling winelands of South Africa, Natalie is a wannabe-adventurer and finds it hard to pick favourites when it comes to travel destinations. She has a weakness for wildlife and good wine, so her escapades are usually in pursuit of one or the other. As well as writing for The Scenic Route, Natalie also manages our social media channels. Be sure to follow Titan on Facebook to keep up to date with the latest news.

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