Dublin's Favourite Festivals

From St. Patrick's Day to Bloomsday, Dublin loves a good celebration. Here are five of the best.

The Irish love a good party, so it's not surprising that Dublin enjoys a year-round stream of festivals. From St. Patrick's Day to Bloomsday, the city comes to life with parades and celebrations; here are five of the best.

St Patrick’s Day—14-17 March 

The entire city turns green on this day to celebrate Ireland’s patron saint. Highlight is a grand parade through the city centre with bands, cultural groups, Irish music, and pageantry from around the world. The party continues well into the night and Dublin’s landmarks are specially lit up in dazzling green lights in the evening. It’s not surprising that many thousands of visitors come to celebrate in the city so if you’re planning to do the same, book your hotel early! 

Bloomsday—16 June 

Here’s an unusual event: a festival marking not just a piece of literature (of which there are many in this city) but one character from a work of fiction. The day belongs to Leopold Bloom, the main character in James Joyce’s most famous work, Ulysses. On 14 June Dubliners reenact the movements of Bloom as described in the book, from breakfast of sausages and black pudding (in Davy Byrne’s pub) and recitals from the book by the James Joyce Centre and James Joyce Museum. Participants get into the spirit by dressing up in Edwardian costume.

Bloomsday celebrations
James Joyce fans dress up to celebrate Bloomsday. (©Failte Ireland)

LGBTQ Pride—June

Growing steadily in numbers, acceptance and popularity each year, the Dublin Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer Pride Festival is a huge celebration of diversity. In fact since 1983 it has grown from a one-day event, mainly protesting the levels of violence against gay men and women in Ireland, to a ten-day celebration. It culminates in a parade through the city which in 2013 attracted more than more than 35,000 participants.

Dublin Theatre Festival—late September-mid October

The city becomes a showcase for the best of Irish and world theatre in this 3-week festival, with many of Dublin’s theatres hosting events. Not just productions, but also masterclasses from top directors, film screenings and panel discussions. Dublin has enjoyed its fair share of literary and dramatic excellence over the decades and this is a fitting way to celebrate that.

New Year’s Eve—31 December

The old year is beckoned out and the new one brought in with spectacular style. Of course revelers will flock to the many parties and bars in the city, but hard-core enthusiasts head to Christ Church Cathedral. Here, on the world’s largest peal of bells, the countdown is rung out, culminating in the midnight chimes.