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5 Top St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations Worldwide

istock1For such a little island, Ireland has truly had a big impact on the world. With an estimated diaspora of ten million emigrants and their almost eighty-million descendants, an average of 1 in 88 people on Earth can claim to have Irish blood in them. More than just an excuse to wear green and drink beer, the Catholic holiday of St. Patrick’s Day has become a de-facto day to celebrate that heritage, it’s history and culture—and what’s not to celebrate?

New York, New York
The world’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade, both in terms of attendees and in terms of events! The city’s history with Irish immigrants makes this an important holiday for its many citizens. Along with the city’s parade, which first took place in 1762, New York City hosts the annual NYC Craft Beer Festival, if you’re feeling up for a beer crawl. For a more historical experience, take a tour of Little Ireland or dance at the Irish American Center’s interactive céilí (party; pronounced kay-lee).NYC

Sydney, Australia
You’ll want to get your camera out for this one: Sydney’s eight hours of entertainment includes performances by some of Ireland and Irish-Australia’s biggest name bands in both modern Celtic Rock and traditional seisiún music, as well as the parade. Enjoy traditional Irish fare, dancing, and face-painting. Make sure to protect that camera in the Pacsafe anti-theft camera bag or a similar protective product, though. Sydney’s parade and family day celebrations mark the largest Irish celebration in the Southern Hemisphere, with almost eighty thousand people attending each year; losing it would likely mean it’s gone forever.Sidney

Manchester, UK
If New York and Sydney are some of the world’s largest festivals, then Manchester’s is certainly one of the longest! Lasting from March 6th to March 19th, this two-week celebration involves a two-city pub crawl and a sprawling Irish market. Artisans from both Ireland and the local area show up to sell food, books, hand-woven clothing, and other crafts. Comedy, music, and art performances are also shown.

© Flickr/Ed Chadwick

© Flickr/Ed Chadwick

Even the Caribbean is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! In fact, this island, known as the “Emerald Island of the Caribbean” is the only country outside of Ireland to consider this day a national holiday. It is certainly like no other St. Patrick’s celebration in the world; the combination of Irish and African cultural influences are unique to this island. Masked street performers, musicians, and storytellers dance and tell traditional fables, with a concert and footrace occurring on the last day.

And of course this list wouldn’t be complete without…

Dublin, Ireland
St. Patrick’s Day in the Republic’s capital city is just as big as you’d suppose, though perhaps not as secular as most of its expatriate counterparts. Dublin’s festival is just as big, with its fair share of pub crawls and a number of music, comedy, and storytelling competitions great for entertainment, but an equal number of people are there for the day’s religious significance. St. Patrick’s Cathedral sees a large number of visitors, as does the famous Máméan Pilgrimage site in Connemara.

Flickr user William Murphy

© Flickr / William Murphy


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