Best alternative places to celebrate St Patrick’s Day

Best Alternative Places to Celebrate St Patrick’s Day (Beyond Dublin)

St Patrick is an absolute legend. You know you’ve made it when millions of people worldwide throw you an insane annual party, some fifteen-hundred years after you graced the earth.

On the 17th of March, pockets of the globe descend into green, white and gold-coloured madness, all in the name of the man himself. St Patrick’s Day is the party of the year, and everyone’s invited.

There is, of course, no better place to celebrate Ireland’s celebrity saint, than the Emerald Isle itself. While Dublin seems the obvious destination for such an occasion, there are some alternatives you should consider. Whether you choose a city, town or island, you can expect packed pubs, non-stop nonsense and fun. Prepare to shroud yourself in shamrocks, release your inner leprechaun, and indulge in more ‘craic’ than you know what to do with.

To help plan the perfect St Patrick’s Day adventure, Shamrocker Adventures have compiled a list of where you need to go this year. 

Where will you paint the town green?

Killarney Town

Best alternative places to celebrate St Patrick’s Day
Killarny National Park – Ross Caste – Stephen Bridger – Image supplied by Shamrocker Adventures

Who needs pots of gold and rainbows, when you’ve got Killarney National Park? Scenic delights are served in abundance, from lovely lakes and deep forests to mighty mountains and magical waterfalls. Throw in some castles, grand estates and swimming deer, and you know you’ve landed in a real-life fairy tale.

Nestled on the fringes of this glorious green expanse is the tourist town of Killarney, also known as ‘The Town in the Park’. Vibrant and charming, Killarney is a hub for holidaymakers, day-trippers and St Patrick’s Day revellers. Bag yourself a front-row spot on Main Street for the St Patrick’s Day parade, and immerse yourself in the explosion of colour, music and dance.

A one-day-only ‘Green 99’ from an ice-cream shop is a must, as well as a visit to nearby Ross Castle to see it bathed in green light. Soak up the atmosphere in the quintessentially Irish O’Connor’s pub, before dancing ‘til the wee hours with the locals in The Grand Hotel.

Blow away the cobwebs the next day in the fine, fresh air of the National Park. Visit Torc waterfall, kayak on Lough Lein, or walk the Muckross Lake Loop. Finish the day back in town with a hearty Irish meal at Cronin’s restaurant. Find your next adventure to Killarney Town with Shamrocker here.  


Once a small fishing village, Galway has since bloomed into a bustling harbour city. Galway is home to the iconic ‘claddagh’ ring, which denotes a lady’s relationship status based on the hand it is worn, and the direction of the heart. Galway’s Latin Quarter is sure to steal your heart, with its pretty boutiques and traditional pubs behind quirky, colourful facades. Once you’re in, there’s little excuse to leave.

The St Patrick’s Day shenanigans officially start at 11.30am with a parade through the city centre, where the elaborate costumes, theatre, and drummers create a full-on festival experience.  Enjoy the mega-lively beer garden at O’Connell’s on Eyre Square, and look out for the fountain lit green, as per tradition. Spend the rest of the day people-watching and pub-hopping, from The Quays Bar and The King’s Head, to the more traditional Monroe’s or Tig Coili. For a much-needed kebab before bed, The Charcoal Grill is a local favourite.

To restore some balance after the Guinness-fuelled celebrations, visit the Galway City Museum for a culture-fix, then treat yourself to a civilised seafood lunch on one of Galway’s oldest streets at The Seafood Bar at Kirwans.

Inis Mór  

Best alternative places to celebrate St Patrick’s Day
Inis Mor – Pheobe Greenacre – Image supplied by Shamrocker Adventures

The Aran Islands are a wee slice of Irish paradise, and Inis Mór is the largest of them all. The ferry transports you over the Atlantic, and back in time. Remnants of ancient history are scattered across the island, and little exertion of the imagination is required to picture life as once was. The locals speak native Irish and the pace of life is palpably slower. That said, they certainly know how to throw a good old knees-up for St Pat’s!

Partygoers follow the parade across the island from 1pm, before swarming to the pubs to continue the celebration. Try Tigh Joe Mac’s for a crackin’ pint and atmosphere, and Joe Watty’s for tip-top pub grub in the lovely garden out front. The small scale and sense of community deliver a totally different experience to the cramped streets in the cities and towns. It’s traditional, it’s remote, and the craic still flows are freely as Guinness.

Dust yourself off the next day with a bike ride along the rolling country paths which intersect the island. The stunning sheer cliffs and prehistoric fort of Dún Aonghasa are a sight to behold.


Best alternative places to celebrate St Patrick’s Day
Dublin –The Glasspassage – Image supplied by Shamrocker Adventures

If you do decide to stick to the capital, you will not be disappointed. The city is awash with painted faces and novelty wigs, and the antics are brilliantly bonkers. The parade starts at midday, and squeezing into a pub is the challenge thereafter. Avoid the over-hyped chaos of Temple Bar and instead base yourself in the pubs around Dame Lane for toe-tapping tunes. Head to Harcourt Street for a trendy or tracky clubbing experience, before indulging in a classic late-night junk food binge at Rick’s Burgers.

Nurse the inevitable hangover the next day by strolling through St Stephen’s Green, or with a hair of the dog at the Guinness Storehouse. Top up your intake of the famous stout, with a Beef & Guinness pie at The Hairy Lemon.

Best alternative places to celebrate St Patrick’s Day
St Patrick’s Day Dublin – Image supplied by Shamrocker Adventures

Then, all that’s left is a toast to St Patrick, to say “thanks a million” for the fun, frolicking, and unforgettable craic.

Shamrocker Adventures 3-7 day trips have it all. Since 1999, Shamrocker Adventures has led travellers to follow in the footsteps of giants at The Giant’s Causeway, get the ‘gift of the gab’ kissing the Blarney Stone, view the mighty Cliffs of Moher and discover why Guinness really does taste better in Ireland. If you’re looking for shamelessly good fun or ‘great craic’, look no further. Follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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