The best places to celebrate St Patrick’s Day around the world

From New York to Budapest, you can celebrate St Patrick’s Day almost anywhere in the world. Ciara McDonnell helps you get planning for next year

NEW YORK

New York commits to St Patrick’s Day like no other city, and is the host of the oldest and the largest St Patrick’s Day celebration in the world.

New York has celebrated the day ever since 1762 with thousands annually lining the streets to watch its world-famous parade.
New York has celebrated the day ever since 1762 with thousands annually lining the streets to watch its world-famous parade.

Ever since 1762, Irish Americans have been lining the sides of Fifth Avenue to take in New York’s fantastical parade. This year, 150,000 people will march in the parade, which draws about 2 million spectators

Travel notes: American Holidays have four-night trips to New York staying at the ultra chic Hotel District with flights from Dublin from just €727pp. www.americanholidays.com

BUDAPEST

Hungary may not scream St Patrick’s Day to everyone, but in fact the celebrations go on weekend-long in Budapest. Initiated by Irish man Mark Downey, the parade counts over 5000 spectators who walk with the procession as it meanders through the fifth and sixth districts of Budapest.

In Budapest celebrations carry on throughout the weekend.
In Budapest celebrations carry on throughout the weekend.

The parade culminates in celebrations on the famous Szabadság Tér (Freedom Square) where families can enjoy lots of high jinx including face painting, photos with Irish wolfhounds, and this year, 100% Irish beef burgers.

Travel notes: Ryanair will fly from Cork to Budapest starting on April 4. Stay at Hotel Moments, a modern and well-appointed hotel with luxury rooms at decent prices. hotelmomentsbudapest.hu

ROME

The Irish celebrations in Rome kick off with Mass by the Pontifical Irish College at St Isidore’s Church. This weekend there will be trad sessions playing in all of the Irish pubs in Rome (in between big screen showings of Six Nations matches). As part of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, this year, the Irish Embassy in Rome will turn green for St Patrick’s Day, along with several other Italian sites such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa and St Patrick’s Well in Orvieto.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa goes green every year to mark St Patrick's Day.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa goes green every year to mark St Patrick's Day.

Travel Notes: Travel Department have a three-night city break to Rome, which includes a walking tour of Ancient and Baroque Rome, taking in all the major sites the city has to offer. The trip costs from €499 per person, and includes return flights, transfers, 4 star B&B hotel accommodation and excursions. www.traveldepartment.ie

LONDON

With almost six million people across the UK claiming at least one Irish grandparent, it’s no surprise that London throws a huge shindig for St Patrick’s Day. The family-friendly celebrations are free of charge and citywide, starting with a huge display of pageantry as the annual parade moves through some of London’s most iconic landmarks, including The Ritz, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and onto Whitehall. Trafalgar Square hosts a St Patrick’s Day festival, with free performances and lots of great food and fun for the family.

Travel Notes: Aer Lingus flies from Cork to London Heathrow, and Ryanair flies from Cork to London Gatwick. Assembly London offers supremely comfy and stylish rooms in a city centre location and is shockingly, reasonably priced. www.assemblyhotels.com

CHICAGO

Chicagoans take St Patrick’s Day very seriously. They have been dyeing the city’s river green since 1962, and each year thousands of spectators will line the bridges and scenic river walk to catch a glimpse of the bright green waters. The river dyeing is followed by the city’s parade; locals in the know take a perch in one of the many rooftop bars across the city to ensure a prime view, with crucial access to refreshments.

The city of Chicago takes the day very seriously and has turned the river green ever since 1962.
The city of Chicago takes the day very seriously and has turned the river green ever since 1962.

Travel Notes: Aer Lingus flies from Dublin to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago up to twice a day. Stay in the Kimpton Palomar Hotel, a luxury city centre hotel with massive beds, nice bathrooms and a swimming pool.palomarchicago-kimpton.hotel-rn.com

DISNEY PARIS

Celebrate your Irish roots in the most wonderful place of all – Disney Paris. Predictably, Disney goes all out for St Patrick’s Day – think endless parades and green drinks and leprechauns and even getting the opportunity to see Sleeping Beauty’s iconic pink castle turn green for the day. There’s shows and singing and dancing, and all your favourite characters will be wearing green in honour of Ireland for the day.

Travel Notes: Shandon Travel take the fuss out of all the planning that comes with a trip to Disney with trips that include flights, accommodation, transfers and park passes. There are a huge amount of accommodation options on offer at Disney, so be sure to talk through your requirements when making the booking. www.shandontravel.ie

BRUSSELS

Every year, the Irish community of Brussels take over the Parc Cinquantenaire for a celebration of GAA with camogie, hurling and Gaelic football matches, followed by a parade. What was started as a once-off celebration is now in its tenth year, and is one of the city’s most treasured annual events.

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Travel Notes: Ryanair, Aer Lingus and KLM fly from Dublin to Brussels year round. The Sofitel Brussels offers a central place to lay your head, with a reliable sense of luxury and good service. www.accorhotels.com

AMSTERDAM

The St Patrick’s Day Amsterdam festival is now in its sixth year.

It showcases some of the greatest talent coming out of Ireland. This year, the festival will host performances from Mary Coughlan, food demonstrations from Rory O’Connell and a talk by our very own Louise O’Neill. Founded by Aisling Casey and Deirdre Daly of the DeeAispora Foundation, this is a true celebration of modern Ireland and well worth travelling for.

Travel Notes: Aer Lingus flies from Cork to Amsterdam year round. Stay at The W, both for its central location and achingly hip interior – be sure to check out the rooftop pool. www.wamsterdam.nl

SYDENY

While Sydney used to host the second biggest St Patrick’s parade in the world, these days, the celebrations focus on a more intimate, family-friendly vibe.

This year’s walking parade sets off from First Fleet park and will make its way through the area finishing at Dawes Park and families can apply through the festival website to become a part of the parade.

The Rocks is the venue for the festival proper, where live music and face painting and fancy dress competitions guarantee a great family day out.

Travel Notes: Emirates now fly direct from Dublin to Sydney, making the trip altogether more comfortable.

Stay at The Four Seasons Sydney, where you’ll get five star accommodation overlooking Sydney Harbour.

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