St Patrick’s Day 2016 – A Travel Guide

It’s that time of year again – time to don the green feather boas and the tricolour and embrace our national holiday – St Patrick’s Day.

A number of colourful and fun-filled parades will descend on towns and villages across the county this Thursday 17th March to celebrate our patron saint. Here at AA Roadwatch, we have all the details of the major parades taking place, including what routes are likely to be affected.

St Patrick’s Day Parades – An Interactive Map

Dublin City Parades

The big event dominating Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day will be the city’s annual Parade. It starts at midday at Parnell Sq North before making its way onto O’Connell St via Parnell Sq East, over O’Connell Bridge to Westmoreland St and College Green before heading towards Christchurch via Dame St.

The Big Day Out in Merrion Square is another fun-filled day you and the family will not want to miss. From midday until approx. 6pm on Sunday 20th March, Merrion Square will transform into a colourful and energetic carnival, full of exciting 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?

Other events taking place in the city centre on St Patrick’s Day and throughout the following weekend include funfairs at Merrion Square and Custom House, the St. Patrick’s Festival Treasure Hunt and the St Patrick’s Day Céilí.

If the thought of facing the hustle and bustle of the city centre fills you with dread, then worry not – there are a handful of smaller parades taking place around the county that promise to be just as entertaining. Click on the links below for more details on the parades in your area:

  • Blanchardstown at 3pm
  • Clondalkin at 3pm
  • Lusk at 1:30pm
  • Rush at 1pm
  • Lucan at 3pm
  • Rathcoole at 1pm
  • Stepaside at 1pm
  • Swords at 11:30am

Parades in the East – Wicklow, Kildare and Meath

The Bray St Patrick’s Day parade in County Wicklow starts at 2pm. It will begin at the Town Hall on Vevay Rd and travel along Main St, Quinsboro Rd, Seymour Rd and Seapoint Rd before finishing on Strand Rd. Road closures will be in place between 1:30pm and 4pm, while Strand Rd will also close from the DART station to Boathouse coffee dock on Bray Seafront during the same time. Of course, there are other parades taking place across the county too:

  • Greystones at 2pm
  • Wicklow Town at 3:15pm
  • Baltinglass at midday
  • Arklow Town at 3pm

In North County Kildare, the St Patrick’s Parade in Celbridge will take place from 4pm and will follow a route from Church Rd up Main St before finishing up on the Maynooth Rd. That route will close to traffic from 3:45pm until 6pm. A number of vintage vehicles will also take part in the parade and this will add to St Patrick’s Day delays.

Another big parade taking place in the county will be Newbridge which will run from 12:30pm until 2pm. The parade will commence at Tesco and head onto Main St before finishing at Liffey Bridge. Main St will remain closed to traffic from 12:15pm until 2:15pm. If you’re looking to avoid the town centre, use the Inner Relief Rd instead.

These aren’t the only parades taking place in County Kildare:

  • Clane at 3pm
  • Kilcock at 1pm
  • Leixlip at 1pm
  • Athy at 3pm
  • Maynooth  at 11am

If you’re in County Meath, you have a variety of St Patrick’s Day parade options. In Navan, the parade will run from around 2pm until 4pm, with Gardaí expecting roughly 10,000 people to attend. To facilitate street entertainment, Trimgate St will close for most of the day; from 6am until 8pm, and the parade route will also close to traffic from 1:30pm to 4:30pm. Gardaí are advising motorists to use the N3 Dublin/Cavan Rd or the Athboy Link Rd where possible. Elsewhere in the county, you can enjoy the following parades:

  • Athboy at 11am
  • Enfield at 3pm
  • Kells at 3pm
  • Slane at 3pm
  • Trim at 3pm

Parades in the South East – Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, Carlow

Waterford City’s parade starts at 1pm and a crowd of 40,000 people are expected to go along. Participants will gather at The Glen which will be closed from 11am. The parade begin at 1pm and travel towards Thomas St, The Quay, The Mall and onto Parnell St where they will disperse. There are also other parades taking place in The Déise including:

  • Dungarvan at 3pm
  • Tramore at 3pm

Staying in the sunny south east but moving to County Wexford, there are St Patrick’s Festival parades taking place in Wexford Town, Enniscorthy, Gorey and New Ross.

Wexford Town’s parade gets underway at 10:30am and will finish up at approx 1:30pm. Over 10,000 people are expected to attend and Gardaí are advising people to arrive early. Traffic restrictions will be in place throughout the town from 10am. Wexford Bridge will be closed for the duration of the parade. Click on the links below for details of other parades taking place in County Wexford:

  • Enniscorthy at 2pm
  • Gorey at 3pm
  • New Ross at 2pm

Parades will also take place in counties Kilkenny and Carlow and for more details on those, be sure to check out our Event Guide:

  • Kilkenny City at 1pm
  • Carlow Town at 2:30pm
  • Tullow at 2pm

Parades in the South – Cork and Tipperary

To Cork City first, the parade begins at 1pm and will take in Grand Parade, Patrick St and Merchants Quay. About 50,000 spectators are expected to be there for the spectacle. A number of major road closures will be in place throughout the day to facilitate the festival. The following parades are also taking place in the Rebel County:

  • Fermoy at 11am
  • Ballincollig at 2pm
  • Bandon at 2:30pm
  • Clonakilty at 3pm
  • Cobh at 3pm
  • Macroom at 3:30pm

A look to County Tipperary; the parade in Thurles will start at 4pm and will follow a route from Abbey Rd onto Friar St, Liberty Square and Slievenamon Rd. As a result, road closures will be in place between 3pm and 6pm. If you can’t make that one, don’t fret – the following towns in The Premier County will also hold St Patrick’s Day Parades:

  • Templemore at 12:30pm
  • Cashel at 2pm
  • Clonmel at 3pm
  • Nenagh at 2pm
  • Cahir at midday

Parades in the South West – Clare, Limerick and Kerry

Looking to Limerick City first where the St Patrick’s Day parade is expected to draw 80,000 people. It starts at midday and a number of road closures will be in place throughout the afternoon to facilitate the celebrations.

On Sunday 20th March, the Limerick International Band Competition will take place at midday and that will also involve some road closures.

Elsewhere in County Limerick, there are a number of parades taking place, particularly along the N21 Limerick/Tralee Rd so expect some delays if you’re using that route over the few days:

  • Rathkeale on Thursday 17th March at 12:30pm
  • Newcastle West on Sunday 20th March at 3pm
  • Abbeyfeale on Thursday 17th March at 4pm

Moving to the Banner County, the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Ennis starts at 11am with road closures in place from as early as 8am. To avoid the heaviest delays around the town centre, you can use Clon Rd or the N85 Ennis Bypass. There’s another parade in the county taking place in Shannon, with a later start time of 1pm. This parade will take place start at Bothar Sioda and will finish in the town centre plaza. The route will close for the duration of the parade with some diversions in place.

In County Kerry, the two main parades are in Tralee and Killarney, both starting at 2pm. The Tralee celebrations begin from John Joe Sheehy Rd while in Killarney, participants will gather at Ross Rd with restrictions in place from 11am until 4pm.

 

Parades in the West – Mayo, Galway, Roscommon

To Galway City first, where the St Patrick’s Day celebrations will take place from 11:30am until at least 1pm and will travel through Bridge St, Shop St and Eyre Square. City centre traffic is expected to be very busy but if you want to avoid Galway City tailbacks, you can make your way to one of these parades instead:

  • Oranmore at 3:30pm
  • Tuam at 2pm
  • Gort at 12:30pm

Moving up the west coast and about 5,000 people are expected to travel to the beautiful town of Westport in County Mayo on Thursday 17th March to take in the town’s parade which will start at 1:30pm. Rolling road closures will be in place and Gardaí are advising motorists to use the car parks available outside the town. Other parades taking place in County Mayo include:

  • Ballina at 4:30pm
  • Swinford at 3pm
  • Charlestown at 1pm

As Castlebar Mitchells are playing in the All-Ireland Club finals in Croke Park on St Patrick’s Day itself, the town’s parade has been moved to Sunday 20th March at 2:30pm.

In County Roscommon, Gardaí say the parades most likely to impact traffic include Ballaghaderreen and Boyle. The Festival Parade in Ballaghaderreen starts at 2:30pm on the Sligo Rd while in Boyle, festivities start a little later at 3pm. Traffic on the N61 Roscommon/Boyle Rd will be stopped for the duration of the Boyle parade and diversions will be in place.

Parades in the North West – Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim

Looking to Sligo Town first, about 20,000 spectators are expected to come to this coastal town to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. If you’re attending, remember that the parade will begin at midday on Wine St and will finish up on Pearse St. Closures will be in place from as early as 7am until about 3pm. Elsewhere in County Sligo, the following parades are taking place:

  • Ballymote at 3:30pm
  • Dromore West at 3pm

Moving to nearby County Leitrim, Carrick-on-Shannon’s parade starts at 12:45pm and will travel along the spectacular River Shannon. Motorists can expect some tailbacks on the N4 Dublin/Sligo Rd while the parade is underway. There’s also a parade in Manorhamilton, which will start at a later time of 5pm. Rolling road closures will operate during that parade but Gardaí don’t expect any major delays to traffic.

In County Donegal, the parade expected to draw the biggest crowd is the one taking place in Letterkenny. It will begin at 3pm from the Station R/A and you can expect some road closures along the route from 1pm until approx. 5:30pm. Parking facilities will be available at Letterkenny IT and traffic disruption is likely throughout the afternoon and evening. Here are the other parades taking place elsewhere in the county:

  • Ballyshannon at 2pm
  • Buncrana at 3pm
  • Donegal Town at 3pm
  • Bundoran at 3:30pm

Parades in the North East – Louth, Monaghan, Cavan

If you’re around County Cavan this St Patrick’s Day, you can expect a variety of parades around the county. In Cavan Town, the parade starts at 12:30pm from Main St. Local diversions will be in place throughout the afternoon and Gardaí and stewards will be there to direct traffic. The following parades are also due to take place in County Cavan:

  • Bailieborough at 2:30pm
  • Kingscourt at 1pm

Moving to neighbouring County Monaghan, the parade in Monaghan Town kicks off a little later in the day at 3pm. The parade will follow the usual route by starting at the Monaghan SC car park, before continuing onto Broad Rd, right up Park St, down to Church Square, left and out North Rd, into the town centre via Glaslough St and then dispersing on Dublin St. If you’re driving in the area, you’re advised to stick to the bypass, as traffic around the town centre will be very busy.

A parade will also take place in Carrickmacross at 3pm until approx 4:30pm. Road closures will be in place from around 2pm with around 5,000 people expected to attend.

And in The Wee County, Gardai are expecting the biggest parade to be in Dundalk, where you’ll be amongst about 20,000 others. It starts at 1pm and the route will be closed from 12:30pm. Gardaí will be on duty to direct traffic but motorists can avoid the town by taking the N52 Bypass or the M1. Other parades that are likely to bring extra traffic to County Louth will take place in:

  • Drogheda at 11am
  • Ardee at 3pm

Parades in the Midlands – Westmeath, Offaly, Laois and Longford

In Mullingar, County Westmeath, the parade starts late in the afternoon at 4pm. It will commence from Army Barracks and finish at Dublin Bridge and the town centre will be closed to traffic from 2pm until 7pm. You can divert via Sealink Rd, the N4 Sligo/Dublin Rd and the N52 Kells/Tyrrellspass Rd. In the rest of the county, the following parades are taking place on St Patrick’s Day:

  • Athlone at 2:30pm
  • Moate at 4pm

A look to County Laois, the parade in Portlaoise will take place at about 2pm and will start at the County Hall. Rolling road closures will operate along the route however Main St will be completely closed from 7am until 5pm to facilitate a 5k run as well as the parade. Other parades taking place in the county include:

  • Abbeyleix at midday
  • Durrow at 2pm

In Longford Town, the parade will take place between 1pm and 2pm and around 5,000 spectators are expected. It will start at Battery Rd and travel onto Church St, Lower Main St, Dublin St, New St, turning right onto Ballymahon St, from there onto Killashee St and Harbor Row before finishing up on the N63 Longford/Lanesborough Rd.

It’s an early start in Offaly, with the Tullamore parade starting at 11am. It will travel along High St, Bridge St and finish on William St. These roads will be closed for the duration of the parade however William St will be closed a little earlier from 9:30am.

If the early start isn’t your cup of tea, the St Patrick’s Parade in Kilcormac will take place from 3.30pm to 5pm. The display starts at the Kilcormac GAA Grounds, continuing onto the N52 Tullamore/Birr Rd before finishing on the Kinnity Rd. Local diversions will be in place.

 

Main Image Credit: LibreStock.com