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11 Mar St Patrick’s Day Travel Guide to Dublin City

Sometimes the best St Patrick’s Day celebrations are spent at home and what better way to immerse yourself in our culture than taking a trip to the capital? Over St Patrick’s Day and the following weekend, there are a number of fun-filled events for people of all ages. So whether you want to take the family out to see the parade on O’Connell St or take the lads down to the RDS for the Irish Craft Beer & Whiskey Village, there really is something for everyone.

Getting Around the City

If you’re hoping to use public transport during your trip to Dublin City, then it may be a good idea to get yourself a Leap Card. Leap Cards can be used on Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann and a number of private bus companies. You can also use your Leap Card to travel on Luas services and all DART & Commuter Irish Rail services within the Dublin area “Short-Hop zone”. For more details on how to get and use a Leap Card see leapcard.ie.

By Bus

Dublin Bus is the primary bus service for Dublin City and surrounding areas with a number of bus stops and routes dotted throughout the city. Over the course of the St. Patrick’s Festival there will be some diversions in place from Wednesday 16th March until Sunday 20th March.

A full nitelink service will operate on Wednesday 16th and Friday 18th but there will be no nitelink service on St Patrick’s Day.

On St. Patrick’s Day, a Sunday timetable will operate on all routes and City Tour, Coastal Tours and Ghostbus Tour services will not operate. For updates on all routes affected see dublinbus.ie.

By Rail

Connolly Station and Heuston Station are the two main train stations in Dublin City. There are also three DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transport) stations in the city centre: Pearse Station, Tara St Station and Connolly Station. Irish Rail provide a countrywide service, while the DART serves Dublin commuter areas.

On St Patrick’s Day, intercity services are expected to be very busy customers are advised to pre-book online. There will be some timetable alterations on Thursday 17th March, so make sure to double-check your train time on irishrail.ie

Changes to services include:

  • DART and Commuter: A Sunday service will operate, but with extra trains before and after the parade. For crowd control reasons, Tara St Station will be closed until 4pm.
  • Intercity: Services will operate to a revised schedule, and customers are advised to check times before travelling.
By Tram

LUAS is Dublin’s light rail transit system. There are two Luas tram lines, the Red line and the Green line. The Red Line runs from Tallaght to The Point and from Saggart to Connolly. The Green Line runs from Brides Glen to St. Stephen’s Green through Sandyford.

Visitors to Dublin City should remember that LUAS drivers are planning strike action on Thursday 17th March. If you’re planning on travelling into the city on St Patrick’s Day, remember to plan your journey in advance. A number of road closures will be in place throughout the city centre to facilitate the St Patrick’s Day parade and parking will be limited. Full details of road closures on St Patrick’s Day can be found here.

For more information on the planned LUAS strikes see here or luas.ie.

By Bike

Dublinbikes is a self-service bike rental system open to everyone from 14 years of age. With around fourty stations and 450 bikes available, it enables you to travel around the city centre at a leisurely pace. 3 day tickets are available for visitors to Dublin.

What's On
Dublin City Parade

Dublin City Parade

Of course, the focal point of the St Patrick’s Day festivities in our own capital city is the annual parade. This year, the parade theme is ‘Imagine If’ and over fourteen musical bands from around the world and eight spectacular pageant processions are set to take part. The parade will begin at midday and the starting point is on Parnell Sq North. It will then make its way onto O’Connell St via Parnell Sq East. From there it will travel south over O’Connell Bridge to Westmorland St and College Green before heading towards Christchurch on Dame St. It will then turn left onto Nicolas St before ending just past St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Patrick St. If you can get there good and early, the best spot to catch a glimpse of the parade is along O’Connell St but remember, the streets will fill up pretty quick and you’d have to be a dedicated early riser to actually nab a good viewing point.

All-Ireland finals in Croke Park

All-Ireland finals in Croke Park

For a great number of GAA fans here at home, March 17th brings a whole other kind of excitement – the All-Ireland Club Finals. This year, Limerick’s Na Piarsaigh take on Cushendall of Antrim in the hurling final at 2pm while Mayo’s Castlebar Mitchells face Ballyboden St Enda’s of Dublin in the football final later on at 4pm.

It’s set to be an enthralling afternoon of GAA action on St Patrick’s Day with fans from all corners of the country making their way to Croker for the day. Tickets for both games are still on sale here.

Big Day Out in Merrion Square – Sun 20th March

Big Day Out in Merrion Square – Sun 20th March

If you’re lucky enough to be staying an extra night or two in Dublin City, then the Big Day Out in Merrion Square is a fun-filled day you will not want to miss. From midday until approx. 6pm, Merrion Square transforms into a colourful and energetic carnival, full of spectacles and activities for the entire family. The kids will love planting their own fruit and veg in the hands-on Children’s Garden while you’ll get enjoyment out of the various acrobatic and juggling shows – Is there really a better way to spend a Sunday?

Dublin Bay Prawn Festival – 18th to 20th March

Dublin Bay Prawn Festival – 18th to 20th March

If you’re looking to pass a few days in our capital city, then a quick spin out to Howth should definitely be on your to-do list. Not only can you revel in the spectacular coastline views but from Friday 18th until Sunday 20th March, you can also take in The Dublin Bay Prawn Festival. The Festival Food Village is any seafood lover’s idea of heaven and there is honestly no better way to sample the tasty seafood Dublin has to offer – why not try some of the special Dublin Bay Prawn dishes while you’re there? If you’re not a massive seafood fanatic then don’t fret, the festival is also famous for music, entertainment, walks, talks and seaside activities.

Irish Craft Beer & Whiskey Village – Wed 16th until Sun 20th March

Irish Craft Beer & Whiskey Village – Wed 16th until Sun 20th March

The Irish Craft Beer and Whiskey Village comes back to the RDS for the fifth year in a row this St Patrick’s Day. The Craft Beer industry in Ireland is booming and if you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of the parade, then this fair in the RDS is the place for you. You can take a browse through the stalls, take part in a whiskey-tasting masterclass and soak up the festive atmosphere, with a pint of renowned Irish Craft beer in hand. The fair takes place each day between 12:30pm and 12:30am apart from on Friday 18th, when it runs from 5pm until 12:30am. Entry is just €10 and with that, you also get your hands on a free souvenir glass and free half pint!

Sharron Lynskey
Sharron.Lynskey@theaa.com