St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th commemorates the saint and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. This day falls during the Christian Lenten season, but the Catholic Church lifted its restrictions on drinking alcohol long ago, hence the tradition of enjoying a pint or two of ale. The Feast of St. Patrick is one of the most celebrated festivals in the world, making a trip in your private jet necessary for truly experiencing the celebration.
In Dublin, the Feast of St. Patrick is a four-day celebration of craic (good fun) and Irish culture. The festival begins on March 17 with a parade from Parnell Square to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. For the best view, secure grandstand seating above the half-million revelers in attendance. The remaining days of the festival are filled with performances, impromptu singing of traditional songs, films and Gaelic-language events. Be sure to stop at Brazen Head, the self-proclaimed oldest pub in Ireland.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Home of one of the largest and longest-running St. Patrick’s Day parades in North America, Montreal is so Irish that it even has a shamrock on its flag. Since 1824, people have lined the streets to watch the three-hour fleet of bands, floats and costumed individuals. After the parade, the party continues at local pubs, such as the Sir Winston Churchill Complex, Hurley’s, and McKibbin’s.
Always celebrated on a Saturday, the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day festivities begin with spectators lining the Chicago River’s bank to watch EPA-approved green dye tint the waters a bright kelly green. Afterward, at noon, a jubilant parade with high-stepping colleens, bagpipers, horses and marching bands make their way up Columbus Drive through Grant Park.
New York City, New York
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City dates back to 1762—14 years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Today, the six-hour parade follows the same original route along 5th Avenue. While the parade isn’t flashy, crowds still line the streets to see the sight of 200,000 marchers made up of bagpipers, military personnel, police officers, firefighters, school bands and step dancers. On St. Patrick’s Day, pubs open their doors at 11:00 a.m., making them convenient spots for warming up and resting your feet.
Auckland, New Zealand
New Zealand is the first city in the world to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day every year. The celebration commemorates the Irish-to-Auckland emigration that began in the 1840s, and the Irish pride is palpable. The festival includes fleadh (music and dance festival), parade and lighting the Sky Tower green.
Cabo Roig, Spain
For a change in scenery, head to Spain’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day Parade along the Mediterranean Streets of Cabo Roig. The annual parade includes motorbikes, marching bands and Irish dignitaries. The fiesta continues into the night with fireworks, flamenco dancers, contests, karaoke and plenty of cerveza.