Bringing millions of people together from different parts of the world, St. Patrick’s Day is perhaps one of the most hotly-anticipated celebrations of the year. Originally, this religious and cultural event commemorates when St. Patrick, the most recognized patron saint of Ireland, died on March 17th. Throughout the festival’s history of more than 400 years it has moved away from its origins. It began to receive international recognition when Irish immigrants brought the holiday to America.
Assuming that you already know the basic history of this day and the importance of wearing green (if not, this brief video will bring you up to speed), we selected popular places in Europe where everyone becomes Irish for a day -or even two – by celebrating St. Patrick’s day with a lot of joy, dancing, festivities, eating and, of course, drinking!
So put a shamrock on your collar, or go all out in green, because no matter where you happen to be in Europe (or the world!), we are sure that there will be a St. Patrick’s Day event happening near you.
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Dating back to 1952, Birmingham was one of the first cities in the UK where St. Patrick’s Day celebrations took place. Ever since parades were canceled from 1974 until 1996 a revival has been going on. The city hosts one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the world after Dublin and New York. Of course, St. Patrick’s Day events in Birmingham center around Irish culture but it also celebrates the city’s multicultural diversity with the involvement of other communities around Digbeth High Street.
Birmingham St. Patrick’s Day Parade:
Sunday, March 12th, 12:00-14:00
Digbeth High Street
It’s no surprise that Munich boasts big St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Take the Bavarians’ fondness to drinking, and the large Irish community in Munich, into consideration and you’ll understand why this city is home to one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Europe. Organized by the German-Irish Society of Bavaria in 1996, the number of attendees grow every year. St. Patrick’s Day in Munich has various events, ranging from parades (starting on Münchner Freiheit at noon) to parties at Odensplatz, usually on the Sunday preceding March 17th.
Munich St. Patrick’s Day Parade:
Sunday, March 12th, 12:00-13:30
With a local Irish community of 10,000 to 15,000 people, Belgium is one of the major European cities that celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. What is also noticeable is that the number of people celebrating are not only Irish but also from various cultural backgrounds. This is in part due to Irish culture’s outgoing characteristics of bringing people together! The Irish in Europe Association, whose function it is to help to promote Irish culture in Europe, is even located in Brussels.
St Patrick’s Day parades in Brussels take place in Schuman, locally known as the Irish village of the city!
Brussels St. Patrick’s Day Parade:
Sunday, March 19th, 13:00-17:00
Parc du Cinquantenaire / Jubilee (Metro Schuman)
Cabo Roig, Spain
Not as big as the other European St. Patrick’s day hubs on our list, Cabo Roig is a tourist resort situated on the Southern Costa Blanca Mediterranean coastline in the Alicante province of Spain. This beachside town turns green once every year to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with typical Irish antics. But why Cabo Roig? The reason could stem from the influence of Irish tourists on the region. As a matter of fact, the celebrations in Cabo Roig have frequently become the largest in Spain, usually followed by Madrid – another destination with a large number of Irish pubs around the city. If you feel like celebrating St. Patrick’s day in a warmer climate, Cabo Roig should be your destination to follow with no hesitation.
Cabo Roig St. Patrick’s Day Parade:
Friday, March 17th, 12:00
How could we not mention Dublin! The capital of the Emerald Isle is known for its year-round happy-go-lucky atmosphere, but St.Patrick’s Day is when the city really shines. As the morning sun rises, families and tourists alike begin to turn the city streets into a sea of green feather boas and leprechaun hats. Rain or shine, onlookers gather in masses to watch the festival’s parade. If you want a decent spot it’s wise to arrive at the barriers before 10 am.
As day turns to night, the city’s cultural quarter of Temple Bar becomes a hub for anyone and everyone wishing to take part in the celebration, as Shannon from TheWanderlustEffect.com says. From Michael Flatley enthusiasts to trad music bursting out onto the streets; the ambiance of “craic” can’t be beaten.
Dublin St. Patrick’s Day Parade:
Friday, March 17th, 12:00