Date of stay: 16th March 2006 - 4 day tour
Where you stayed: Tour accommodation (Paddywagon tours)
Tour or pre planned: Tour - St Patrick's Day
St Patrick’s Day is celebrated around the world on March 17th each year.
St Patrick’s Day was traditionally a religious occasion and as such Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17. In 1995 the Irish government began a national campaign to use St Patrick’s Day as an opportunity to drive tourism and showcase Ireland to the rest of the world. Close to a million people take part in Ireland’s St Patrick’s festival in Dublin which occurs over a four day period.
In 2006, I headed to Dublin for the St Patrick’s festival with some mates. Our particular tour was a 4 day bus tour which departed North London via Holyhead (North Wales) where we caught a ferry to Dublin. It was a long journey. The ferry crossing was okay for us but I’ve heard stories of people getting sick from the rough crossing. The tour itself was a little unorganized. Due to the number of people booked, we had to be taken to another hostel which was not prepared and beds had not been set up (bunk beds or mattresses on the floor). Eventually all was sorted out but it was a little worrying when we first arrived.
The festival kicked off the next day, with street parades, concerts and other activities taking place. It was a sea of green everywhere, people in green costumes and so many people wearing the large green Irish hats (I still have mine)
Our tour included a visit to the Guinness factory the following day, which is well worth visiting. The Gravity bar (within the factory) offers 360 degree views over the city, you’ll get to try the Guinness for FREE and it tastes much better fresh from the taps. Click here to see the views from the Gravity bar via the 360* weathercam and click on the following link to see more information about the the Guinness Factory.
If I was to do the St Patrick’s Festival again I’d fly to Dublin and arrange to meet the tour company at the booked accommodation (this is usually called an accommodation only package). It’s roughly 1 hour flying and you get more time in Dublin to see the sites. You loose almost a full day with all the travelling and although the bus trip is great and you make some great friends, I’d much rather more time in the city rather then sitting on a bus & ferry for 9+ hours.
OE Travel Blogs can help arrange accommodation in Dublin for the St Patrick’s Day Festival, for more information please use our Contact Us page.
Points to highlight: As always, book flights in advance to avoid the raised prices. Flights from London to Dublin around the festival time sell out fast as does the accommodation around the city.
Would you recommend your tour: No – Paddywagon tours
Would you recommend your hotel/hostel: No – tour accommodation below standard
Would you recommend the festival: Yes
Overall rating: 4 out of 5