It’s time to dust off your green jumper and pin on those shamrocks. With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Friday this year, there’s a full weekend to honour our patron saint and all things Irish. If you’re travelling to any of the festivities, or simply making a journey over the weekend, remember that lots of traffic restrictions will be in place country-wide, especially on Friday. 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 16th to Sunday 19th. Kicking things off – literally – is the ceili on Thursday. Earlsfort Terrace will be closed from 8:30am to 9pm, with the Sieges of Ennis and Walls of Limerick starting at 4:30pm.
On St. Patrick’s Day, Dublin’s main attraction is the St. Patrick’s Festival Parade, starting at midday. Marching bands and theatre groups from around the world will explore this year’s theme: “Ireland You Are”. The parade takes off from Parnell Square and makes its way through O’Connell St, around College Green, up to Christchurch and down to the new finish point on Cuffe St.
Roads on and around the route will be closed from early morning until 6pm, so make sure to plan your route in advance using AA Routeplanner. Traffic from the North Quays will be diverted via Church St and the NCR, with parking restrictions in effect.
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 Friday until Sunday evening.
There will be further traffic restrictions on Sunday, when the most active of green-wearers take on a 5k Road Race, starting from midday at St Stephen’s Green. Street performers will keep participants on track as they run through Leeson St and Pembroke St.
For those who aren’t all that keen on running, the Big Day Out shares Merrion Square with the funfair on Sunday. Two sides of the square and Merrion St Upr will be closed for the day to allow for street performers and workshops.
Outside the city centre, smaller parades take place around the county on Friday, including Blanchardstown, Lucan, Swords, Balbriggan, Lusk, Rush, Skerries, 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 using the map at AA Routeplanner.
Dublin City Council’s pay-and-display parking spaces are free on Friday, while public transport schedules will be modified across the weekend. See our round-up for full information.
Limerick City boasts not one, but two parades: the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Friday and the International Band Championship on Sunday.
On Friday, 80,000 spectators will be entertained by marching bands and performances on the theme of “Our Stories, this is where we belong”. The parade begins on O’Connell Ave at midday and finishes on Merchant’s Quay. Most city streets will be closed between 7am and 3:30pm, with Gardaí directing traffic.
Then on Sunday, 1,000 musicians compete in the International Band Championship. The first bands will leave Pery Square at midday and make their way to Arthur’s Quay for a free concert and the all-important awards ceremony. Again, many city-centre road closures will be in place between 7am and 3:30pm.
If you’re not attending the parades, you can avoid the city centre using the N18 Galway Rd and M7 Dublin Rd.
In County Limerick, the N21 Limerick/Tralee Rd will be closed for the Abbeyfeale parade between 3:30pm and 5:30pm on Friday. Diversions will be set up, but expect long delays.
Around 50,000 revellers are expected to take to the streets of Cork City on Friday, with the St. Patrick’s Parade getting underway from 1pm. This year’s theme – Cork: A City of Community, Culture & Commerce – celebrates the city as much as the saint. Fittingly, the route takes in both Grand Parade and St. Patrick’s St, with the starting point on South Mall and the finish line on Merchant’s Quay.
Most streets surrounding the route will be closed between 7am and 4pm, with diversions and parking restrictions in place.
Several other parades take place around the county. In particular, traffic will be diverted from Ballincollig from 1pm and the N22 Cork/Killarney Rd will be closed through Macroom from 3pm to 5pm.
It’s an early start in Galway City, with the parade leaving Dominick St Lwr 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 road closures along the route.
Elsewhere in the county, there will be no access to Gort from the M18 Limerick/Galway Rd between 12pm and 2pm for a parade there.
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. A significant number of roads in the city centre will be closed from 11:30pm to 5pm, so allow extra time for journeys.
Elsewhere, large parades will be held in Tramore and Dungarvan at 3pm, with the town centres closed to traffic for the duration.
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, Sligo, Athlone, Mullingar, Wexford, Enniscorthy 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 Sligo/Letterkenny Rd will be closed from 2:30pm to 5pm in Ballybofey and Stranorlar.
Drivers in Mayo should bear in mind that long delays can be expected on the N17 Galway/Sligo Rd during the Charlestown parade, which starts at 1pm. Westport’s parade includes the N5 Castlebar Rd from 1:30pm. There’s also a fireworks display the following evening – expect heavy traffic from 6pm.
In Meath, the N2 Dublin/Monaghan Rd and the N51 Navan/Delvin Rd will be closed for the Slane parade from 2:30pm to 4pm. The N51 will also be closed in Athboy from 11am.
Wexford’s N11 Dublin/Wexford Rd will be closed at Old Bridge in Enniscorthy from 3pm to 3:30pm and Wexford Bridge into Wexford Town will be closed from mid-morning. In New Ross, the N25 Waterford/Wexford Rd will be closed to HGVs from 1pm.
In Tipperary, drivers on the M8 Dublin/Cork Rd won’t be able to access Cashel via J7 Cashel North between 1:45pm and 3pm, while parades in Thurles and Templemore also involve national routes.
Restrictions will also be in place on the N81 Dublin/Tullow Rd in Baltinglass and Tullow, the N16 Sligo/Enniskillen Rd in Manorhamilton, the N78 Kilkenny Road in Athy and the N77 Portlaoise/Kilkenny Rd in Abbeyleix.
Finally in Kerry, Killarney’s parade has a new route this year, leaving Fitzgerald Stadium at 2pm and crossing the town via Lewis Rd, New St and Beech Rd.