St Patrick's Day is an excuse to celebrate all things Irish, and Dublin is all set with music, dancing and street performances, fun fairs and walking tours, and, of course, the highlight, the grand St Patrick's Festival Parade. The grand parade is an explosion of fun and colour, which this year is expected to attract over 650,000 spectators as it winds its way through the streets of the city centre en route to St Patrick's Cathedral.
This year, Dublin is in the limelight as City of Science. Not only is the city playing host to Europe's biggest science conference in July, but throughout 2012 an innovative science festival is running across the country. In conjunction with this, the theme of this year's St Patrick's Parade is How? What? Why? and the festival will explore the wonders of science. Parade floats and costumes will be inspired by a number of scientific questions posed by the children of Dublin including 'How do you tell the age of a forest?', 'Why do we dream?', 'How is a rainbow formed?' and, 'If the earth is spinning why don’t we fall off?'. The city itself will be spinning with the sound of marching bands from Ireland and Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, Russia and America.
There's no doubt the parade, which starts at noon on Saturday, is the flagship event of the Festival, and scenes will be transmitted live and videos downloaded for the excitement to be relived around the world. But it's by no means the only big event of the four-day celebration. At St Stephen's Green, from 4:30 pm on March 16th , a ceilli offers a fun way to get into the festival spirit, with expert callers, dancers and musicians on hand to guide you through the steps of some traditional Irish jigs and reels. The key event on Saturday is the Grand Parade, but for those who've a taste for Irish music, Ceilli House Live, presented by Kieran Hanrahan at the city's regal National Concert Hall offers a stellar line up of traditional music today (tickets on sale at the box office or online).
On Sunday, the craic moves to the heart of Georgian Dublin, and in Merrion Square, the Big Day Out promises something for everyone with circus acts, comedy, juggling, puppet shows, music, storytelling, dance and all sorts of family fun. On Monday, the last day of the Festival, the Discovering Science Treasure Hunt, devised in conjunction with Ingenious Ireland, makers of quirky Dublin tours, promises to be a fun-filled trail of discovery. Venues include some of Dublin's landmark buildings, each with their own unique science-related connection, and with clues to be solved and entertainment and spot prizes throughout the day, it's a great way to learn about science and the city.
These are just a few of the events and activities in the fun-filled four-day programme of street theatre, outdoor shows and performances, music and general merriment that the Irish capital has planned in honour of the patron saint. Check out the Festival website for further details.
Learn more: St. Patrick's Festival in Dublin