Today, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is a green-hued celebration of Irish heritage and pride; Americans may be surprised to find that the Irish focus less on Guinness and Irish whiskey and more on honoring Ireland’s timeless culture and traditions. Since the mid 1990s, the Irish government has organized the official St. Patrick’s Day Festival, which now spans four full days in greater Dublin and includes numerous Irish dance and music performances, Irish storytelling sessions, open-air screenings of Irish films, St. Patrick-themed walking tours and massive fireworks over the River Liffey. Many of Dublin’s most iconic locations—like Trinity College, Christ Church Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Cathedral—are awash in green throughout the festival.
In nearby Howth, an easy 30-minute train ride from central Dublin, the three-day Dublin Bay Prawn Festival neatly coincides with the St. Patrick’s Day holiday and offers a great chance to experience a more intimate Irish event. Prawns, naturally, are the stars of this fun food-focused festival, which features demonstrations by local fishermen, live cooking exhibitions, wine tastings, music and street entertainment.