‘Everyone’s Irish on March 17th’: St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Dublin, Ireland

Brookey Villanueva/Staff

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This St. Patrick’s Day, I am feeling exceptionally nostalgic as I reminisce on my adventures in Dublin a year ago. Last year, I felt the luck of the Irish as I was able to travel to Ireland to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with several of my friends from UC Berkeley who were also studying abroad at the time. Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day was a first for all of us, so we mainly stuck to recommendations from friends when deciding where to go, where to stay and what to do. Here are three quintessential places to visit if you find yourself in the area on this wonderful holiday.

Brookey Villanueva/Staff

Temple Bar

If you’re visiting Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day, chances are that you want to join in on the lively atmosphere (aka the pubs, bars and parades). The epicenter of those festivities is in Temple Bar, a street and neighborhood lined with the best pubs for live music, rowdy crowds and, unfortunately, expensive drinks. As far as bars on this street go, there are a few you want to make sure to visit before you leave Dublin. The first, and aptly named, is The Temple Bar. The Temple Bar is probably the most iconic of the pubs in Ireland, and if you’re willing to face the massive crowds, it’s a blast. Live music creates a special ambiance that will make you never want to return to the Kip’s dance floor again. For a similar vibe, head over to Porterhouse Temple Bar just meters away. With constant live music, Porterhouse is great for dancing and hanging out in large groups. If the line to get into Porterhouse is too overwhelming, you can also cross the street and go to Bad Bobs. Bad Bobs is a few stories tall with seemingly endless rooms filled with good music and great decor. Needless to say, there are endless options for nightlife in Temple Bar, let alone Dublin.

Pro tip: If you’re looking for a place to stay when you visit, I would recommend Temple Bar. As most of our activities revolved around St. Patrick’s Day festivities, this was the perfect neighborhood for us to stay in. We booked an Airbnb a few blocks away from the bars, which was incredibly convenient because we rarely had to take an Uber or taxi. One major piece of advice I have is to book early (this includes flights as well)! Our Airbnb was booked in October, nearly 6 months before St. Patrick’s Day. We had plenty of options and the prices were not too inflated at our time of booking. Others I knew waited until February and stayed nearly 30 minutes away from the city center!

Brookey Villanueva/Staff

Guinness Storehouse

Dublin is brimming with famous attractions that are fun for the holiday’s festivities. We went to the Guinness Storehouse Brewery, where they host a tour for visitors complete with a flight of drinks (included in the ticket price). The Storehouse delves into the history of Ireland’s famous dark stout through tons of interactive exhibits, pictures and descriptions of the brewing process. The tour concludes at the top of the Storehouse, where visitors can enjoy a Guinness in the 360-degree Gravity Bar. From the Gravity Bar, you can see Dublin for miles.

The Brazen Head

Another quintessential Dublin stop for us was The Brazen Head. Dating back to 1198, the Brazen Head is Ireland’s oldest pub. It is home to delicious food, refreshing drinks and a relaxed, comforting ambiance. We ordered deep-fried brie, spicy chicken wings, fish and chips and the Brazen Head Burger. Another one of the Brazen Head’s great features is that it doesn’t get as crowded as Temple Bar. This pub is also the inspiration for a phenomenal San Francisco restaurant called the Brazen Head! While the San Francisco restaurant is more of a steakhouse, the restaurant stays true to the high spirits of the Dublin pub.

Of course, missing from this list is the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Unfortunately, the parade was canceled this year due to COVID-19. If you are able to visit in the years to come, however, I would highly recommend checking it out. Dublin is full of wonderful surprises and animated crowds. It is easy to feel lucky in such a magical place, surrounded by happy individuals and, as always, great beer!

Contact Brookey Villanueva at [email protected].