Whew! There is nothing more Irish than spending St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. And that’s just what we did. We Americans love feeling a little Irish on that day, so, hubs and I thought it would be brilliant to head across the pond to Ireland for the biggest Irish celebration ever. Well, Aer Lingus just started flying out of our airport, so fares were incredible! We simply couldn’t pass up $430 RT airfare to Dublin. It seemed like an awesome idea to begin with, but little did we know it was also the single most busy day and time of the year in Ireland! Oops, my bad.
I’m not saying you shouldn‘t experience this once in your life, but if you do, there are some things to be aware of. So, here are some important tips to know if you’re planning to travel to Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day:
1. Book your hotel early! Waiting late in the game means you’ll end up spending a lot more €€€ on a room. Our room cost us three times as much per night as it normally would have. Stay outside the city for better rates. Hotels out of city center are still close enough to the city by train or bus and you’ll save yourself a lot of money. We booked our room at Booking.com, which was super easy and actually pretty fun to use. Also, you can reserve a room without paying costs upfront!
2. Dress warm! I can’t stress this enough. This year it was cold and wet. That made for a sucky, uncomfortable morning. If you’re a lightweight and hate cold weather, make sure you break out your Northface and/or a good rain jacket. You’ll thank me for this later! Pro Tip: Buy during the summer, as they are much cheaper.
3. Wake up early for the Paddy’s Day parade and get to a good spot downtown before 10 am for the 12 noon parade kick off. If you’re really clever and get there early, find a coffee shop with window views off the street and you’ll stay warm and dry during the parade with choice seats! 😉 Check the local paper or web for the parade route and scope out your spot beforehand.
Side Note: most of the parade goers are tourists. Where do the locals go? I’ve no idea.
4. Doc Martin boots were MADE for UK and Ireland. Nothing better for traipsing through cobblestone streets, stones, wet, mud like a sturdy pair of Docs. Or Timberlands.
5. Expect drunk, shoulder-to-shoulder, selfie-taking college students everywhere. Dublin on Paddys Day is like Mardi Gras in New Orleans..without the boobs.
6. Temple Bar? Sure..knock yourself out. Literally.
7. And watch where you walk, there is most likely throw-up outside every pub sidewalk post Paddy’s Day morning.
8. Don’t rent a car if you’re not planning to go anywhere else. Not only does it cost €55 per day to rent a car, the gas is around $5 per liter (not gallon). Unless you are taking a road trip across Ireland, you don’t really need it. Trains and public transit are pretty great in Dublin.
READ: My 5-Day Itinerary Road Trip Across Ireland
9. If you want to eat, arrive at a pub early otherwise, you’ll probably not get any food. Restaurants are hit and miss here. Most of the ones we found were on Yelp, and it helped a great deal. If you are a sandwich lover, good luck. Ireland sandwiches are not like our east coast hoagies and grinders. If you love Guinness, you are in LUCK! It’ served everywhere! 🙂 And the Guinness Storehouse is a lot of fun for St. Paddy’s Day.
10. Think outside the box for parade day. There are parades all over Ireland for Paddys Day celebration. Try Cork, Killarney, Shannon, Galway, Midleton for a more authentic, village celebration without the crowds.
No matter what you do, or where you find yourself – if you’re in Ireland for St Patrick’s Day, and you’re bound to have the most incredible, authentic St Paddy’s Day ever!