It’s time to dust off your green geansaí and pin on those shamrock rosettes. With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Saturday, there’s a long weekend to honour our patron saint and all things Irish. If you’re travelling to the festivities, or simply making a journey over the weekend, remember that lots of traffic restrictions will be in place country-wide, especially on Saturday. There are also several changes to public transport across the weekend. Click here for more on those.
Dublin City plays host to the St. Patrick’s Festival from Thursday 15th to Monday 19th, with plenty of events across the city.
The main attraction is the Festival Parade, starting at midday on St Patrick’s Day. Marching bands and theatre groups from around the world will explore this year’s theme, Home is Where the Heart Is. The parade takes off from Parnell Square and makes its way through O’Connell St, around College Green, up to Christchurch and down the appropriately named Patrick St to finish on Cuffe St.
Streets around the route will be closed from early morning until 6pm, so plan your route in advance using AA Routeplanner. Traffic on the North Quays will be diverted via Church St and the NCR.
Diversions will also be in place on Custom House Quay and Merrion Square as adrenaline-seekers converge on two funfairs. These run from 11am on Saturday until Monday evening.
There will be further traffic restrictions on Sunday, when the most active green-wearers run the 5k Road Race, starting at midday on St Stephen’s Green. Street performers will keep participants on track through Pembroke St, Wilton Terrace and Leeson St.
For those who aren’t that keen on running, the Big Day Out shares Merrion Square with the funfair on Sunday. Merrion Square Sth and Merrion St Upr will be closed for the day to facilitate the céilí, street performances and workshops.
Outside the city centre, smaller parades take place around the county on Saturday, including Blanchardstown, Lucan, Swords, Balbriggan, Lusk, Rush, Skerries, Tallaght, Clondalkin, Rathcoole and Stepaside. See the map below for traffic restrictions in each of these areas. More detailed information on timings, closures and diversions in your area is available on the bigger AA Routeplanner map.
Dublin City Council’s pay-and-display parking spaces are free on Saturday, though some restrictions will be in place.
Limerick City boasts not one, but two parades: the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday and the International Band Championship on Sunday.
On Saturday, marching bands and other acts will entertain 80,000 spectators on the theme of Circus 250, celebrating the 250th anniversary of circus performance. The parade begins on O’Connell Ave at midday and finishes on Merchant’s Quay. Most streets in the city centre will be closed between 7am and 3:30pm.
Then on Sunday, 1,300 musicians will compete in the International Band Championship. The bands will leave O’Connell St at midday and march to Arthur’s Quay Park for a free concert and the all-important awards ceremony. Again, there will be many city centre road closures between 7am and 3:30pm.
If you’re not attending the parades, stay on the Limerick Bypass (M7 and N18) to avoid the city centre.
A number of smaller parades will take place in County Limerick on Saturday, including in Abbeyfeale, where the N21 will be closed from 4:15pm. Diversions will be set up, but expect delays.
Around 50,000 revellers are expected to take to the streets of Cork City on Saturday, with the St. Patrick’s Day Parade getting underway from 1pm. As in Limerick City, this year’s theme focuses on a significant anniversary: Democracy For All – 100 Years of the Vote for Women. The route takes in both Grand Parade and Patrick St, starting on South Mall and finishing on Merchant’s Quay.
Most streets surrounding the route will be closed between 7am and 4pm, with diversions and parking restrictions in place. Free parking will be available all day in the Black Ash Park and Ride, just off the South City Link Rd.
Several other parades take place around the county. In particular, traffic will be diverted away from Fermoy at 11am, Bandon from 1pm and Ballincollig from 1:30pm. The N22 will also be closed through Macroom from 3:15pm to 5pm.
It’s an early start in Galway City, with the parade leaving Father Griffin Rd at 11:30am. There’s a big emphasis on local culture in this parade, with arts and community groups proceeding through Shop St, William St and Eyre Square to finish at Prospect Hill. 60,000 people are expected to attend, with rolling closures along the route. There’s also a free concert on Eyre Square afterwards.
Elsewhere in the county, there will be no access to Gort from the M18 between 12:15pm and 2pm and rolling diversions will be in place in other towns, including Tuam (12:30pm), Loughrea (1pm) and Oranmore (1:30pm).
Waterford City, reputedly the first city to make St Patrick’s Day a holiday, holds its parade from 1pm. 40,000 people will watch performers make their way from The Glen up Thomas St, along the Quay and onto Parnell St. Many city streets will be closed from 11:30am to 5pm, so allow extra time for journeys.
Elsewhere, large parades will be held in Tramore and Dungarvan at 3pm, with each town centre closed to traffic.
If you’re planning any journey on St Patrick’s Day, allow for traffic restrictions in most town centres during the afternoon. Stick to bypasses where possible and expect delays – many parades feature classic cars and slow-moving vehicles which will be on the move throughout the day.
Especially large crowds are expected at parades in Ennis, Kilkenny, Drogheda, Dundalk, Navan, Newbridge, Sligo, Athlone, Wexford and Arklow. You can see details of all closures in towns on your route on the map above. If you’re using public transport, see our round-up of restrictions.
For drivers, remember that some parades affect national routes:
Donegal’s N15 will be closed from 2:30pm to 5pm in Ballybofey and Stranorlar.
In Mayo, bear in mind that delays can be expected on the N17 during the Charlestown parade at 1pm, and Westport’s parade includes the N5 from 1:30pm.
Those who use the N2 will be affected by parades in Slane at 2pm, where the both the N2 and N51 will be closed from 1:30pm to 3pm, and in in Ardee at 3pm.
Wexford’s N11 will be closed at Old Bridge in Enniscorthy from 1pm to 1:30pm while the N25 in New Ross will be closed to HGVs from 1:30pm. The N80 will be closed at Bunclody from 10:45am, and over the Carlow border, another parade in Ballon will affect the same route at 3:30pm.
In Tipperary, drivers on the M8 won’t be able to access Cashel via J7 Cashel North between 1:45pm and 3pm, while parades in Thurles and Borrisokane also involve national routes.
Restrictions will also be in place on the N4 in Carrick-on-Shannon, the N16 in Manorhamilton , the N81 in Baltinglass and Tullow, the N78 in Athy and the N77 in Abbeyleix and Durrow.