Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Killarney

Planning to visit Killarney for St. Patrick’s Day? Read our guide to learn more about Ireland’s National Holiday.

What is St. Patrick’s Day?

St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday during which we remember St. Patrick – the patron saint of Ireland. Celebrated on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day festivities take place in towns throughout Ireland. Irish diaspora communities also arrange celebrations in locations around the world.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Killarney

Usually, the town of Killarney holds a multi-day festival to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It involves parades, fun zones, street céilís, themed lake cruises, treasure hunts, teen discos and more. Unfortunately, the 2020 St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Killarney has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus.

While the festival will not be taking place, there are still plenty of things you can do to celebrate the day. You can take a stroll through Killarney’s stunning national park where you can admire the stunning mountain and lake views. You can also treat yourself to a beautiful meal at our restaurant, followed by a glass of delicious Irish whiskey from our bar.

St Patricks Day Parade Marching Band in New York City

Who Was St Patrick?

Saint Patrick is famous for introducing Christianity to Irish Celts in the fifth century. Interestingly, St. Patrick was British by birth and was brought to Ireland when he was kidnapped by pirates at the age of 16. He spent six years in captivity working as a shepherd before escaping. He became a Christian missionary and soon returned to Ireland where he converted many pagan Celts.

5 St. Patricks Day Traditions 

1. Go To A St Patrick’s Day Parade

On St. Patrick’s Day it is customary for cities, towns and villages to hold a parade. It is a great opportunity to showcase community groups and the local arts scene. The parades typically include local floats, dancers, the military, fire brigades, cultural organisations, charities, voluntary groups,youth groups, pipe bands, and performers.  

2. Sport A Shamrock 

Many people sport a shamrock on the day to commemorate St. Patrick who famously used a shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity. This has become a symbol for Irishness that is recognised around the world. On St. Patrick’s Day, it has become a tradition for the Taoiseach (the Irish Prime Minister) to present a crystal bowl of shamrock to the US President.

3.Seachtain na Gaeilge (Irish Language Week) 

Celebrated on the week of St Patricks Day, Seachtain na Gaeilge (pronounced “Shock-tan na Gwayle-gah”) is a national festival which aims to promote the Irish language. There are events all over the country including dances, talks, concerts, quizzes, plays, workshops and much more. You can learn more about events in the Killarney area on the official website.

4.Wear Green 

Wearing green is perhaps the best-known St. Patrick’s Day traditions. In fact, a recent survey found that in total 80% of Americans celebrating St. Patrick’s Day plan to wear green on the day. However, this tradition originated in the 19th century. Before this, St. Patrick’s Day was primarily associated with a sky-blue colour. One theory is that the switch to green was to reflect the design of the Irish flag which used the colour green to represent the country’s Catholic population.

5. Attend A Céilí Dance 

A céilí is a group dance set to traditional Irish music. This is an old tradition that can be traced all the way back to the 1500s. Some popular dances include the Walls of Limerick and the Siege of Ennis.


If you are staying in Killarney for St. Patrick’s Day, don’t hesitate to contact our team for ideas on festive activities in the area.

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