St Patrick’s Day 2020: Best Things To Do in Dublin (Instead of the Parade)

St Patricks Day People Drinking

Let’s face it, the big St Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin is only amazing if you get up at the crack of dawn and secure a good spot along the route. For the rest of us who will most likely be drinking the entire weekend, a 5:30am start is definitely not part of the itinerary. Of course, you could always bring a ladder with you on the DART to tower over the rest of the crowd, but otherwise you will really only be seeing the top part of the parade if you arrive late (which trust me, is not worth it).

So here are 6 things to do on St Patrick’s Day Weekend 2020, that don’t involve the Dublin parade.

1. Begin Your Day with a Full Irish Breakfast

Not only is it the best hangover cure, but it’s also an authentic Irish meal! Start off your St Patrick’s Day like a local, with a full Irish breakfast.

A full Irish breakfast should include a mix of the following (whatever suits your fancy): Bacon, sausages, eggs, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, pudding, baked beans, and perhaps some hash browns. Don’t forget toast, butter and plenty of tea!

Any hotel you are staying in, or nearby café will most certainly be serving a Full Irish Breakfast, so make sure you start your St Patricks Day the right way!

2. Céilí Mór: A Celebration of Irish Culture

Ceili Mór - Things To Do on St Patricks Day

After the big Parade there will be a Céilí Mór which is free large-scale outdoor, bilingual, participative event that celebrates traditional Irish dance, language and music. Here you can learn the steps, enjoy live music from the main stage and soak up the traditional Irish atmosphere.

Tip: Get there early before the parade goers, to secure a great spot at the front of the stage!

  • Where: Merrion Square
  • When:  3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Tickets are free of charge.

3. City at Play Funfairs

Feeling brave? Dare to be suspended upside down, turned over or whisked through the air! From waltzers to the carousel, there is something for every age at the St Patrick’s Day Funfairs.

  • Where: Custom House Quay
  • When: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm

4. Visit a Local St Patrick’s Day Parade

If you really are itching to see a parade on St Patrick’s Day, don’t worry, there are dozens of parades taking place around Dublin on the day. These smaller parades are fantastic because you don’t have to go all the way into town and you can almost always guarantee a perfect view of the show!

Here are a few amazing parades that will be taking place in local Dublin villages this St Patrick’s Day:


The Clondalkin parade will be extra special this year since the grand marshall will be Colombian rescue puppy, Uimhir a Dó (or Uimhy for short)!

The parade will start at 2:30pm from Old Nangor Road, before heading towards Orchard Road, down to Main Street, and up Tower Road.


Skerries is the perfect place for a Paddy’s Day parade since the Patron Saint himself once lived on a small island just off Skerries after being expelled from Wicklow.

The Skerries parade kicks off at 3pm and proceeds from the South Strand, down Strand Street (the main street) to Skerries Mills.


The Swords parade will start at 11 am from The Christian Brothers School and will go down the Main Street and finish at Swords Castle.


The Blanch parade begins at 2 pm on the Castleknock Road before going along Main St, onto Snugborough Road, and finishing at the Blanchardstown Town Centre.


5. The Actual Reality Arcade

Actual Reality Arcade - Laser Run

The Actual Reality Arcade is a life-sized interactive game zone for all ages, inspired by classic arcade games. The arcade challenges audiences to 12 games using their mind, body and imagination to succeed.

Arcade lovers of all ages will have lots of fun pump jumping Frogger to safety or building with giant Tetris blocks, trying tandem skiing or attempting the Marble Madness run!

  • Where: Merrion Square
  • When: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm

6. Attend an Irish Music Gig

Horslips Concert

The best thing you can do on St Patrick’s Day is support Irish businesses and artists. Escape the tourist crowds, and party with the locals at a music gig on St Patrick’s Day.

There will be a wide variety of music concerts throughout the evening on Paddy’s Day, including:


  • Where: The Olympia Theatre
  • When: 7:00 pm
  • How Much: €34.00 – €38.00
  • Tickets

Seen & Heard ft. Brigid Mae Power, Rachael Lavelle, Lōwli & Anna Mullarkey:

  • Where: St. Audoen’s Church, The Liberties
  • When: 6:00 pm
  • How Much: €20
  • Tickets

Mary Black And The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra:

  • Where: The National Concert Hall
  • When: 7:30 pm
  • How Much: €42.50, €34, €27, €20
  • Tickets

Brame & Hamo:

  • Where: Wigwam, 54 Lower Abbey Street
  • When: 2:00 pm – 3:00 am
  • How Much: €13.50
  • Tickets

Element X:

  • Where: Fibber Magee’s, 80-81 Parnell Street
  • When: 7:00 pm
  • Tickets

Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh and just remember, the best thing you can do on St Patrick’s Day is not call it St Patty’s Day!