Top 10 best St Patrick’s Day traditions in Ireland, ranked

The day of the year when everything goes green is just around the corner, and there are some epic traditions to go along with this amazing Irish holiday.

St Patrick’s Day, otherwise known locally as Paddy’s Day, is a fantastic annual celebration and one of the best days of the year. For many, Ireland’s national holiday is the best day of the year for many reasons.

This is such an iconic day, not only for Ireland but also for the whole world, and you will not be surprised to see celebrations taking place in the most remote places. After all, there are people of Irish descent everywhere!

With the national holiday not too far away, we are here to bring you some of the best St Patrick’s Day traditions in Ireland, ranked. So, ahead of the public holiday, let us take a look and let the excitement commence!

10. Doing some Irish baking – festive baking

Irish baking is a must on St Patrick's Day!
Credit: / HomeMaker

Many Irish people like to spend some time on St Patrick’s Day baking delicious Irish goods such as Irish soda bread and baked potato bread. It is also known as a feast day, after all.

Others even make fun and green festive treats such as green cupcakes, shamrock-shaped biscuits, and, of course, alcohol-infused desserts. Any excuse, eh?

9. Wearing green – an age-old annual tradition

Wearing green is one of the best St Patrick’s Day traditions in Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

In Ireland, it is customary and actually quite mandatory to wear green on St Patrick’s Day if you are really serious about your celebrations, which we all are.

Add a shamrock into the equation, and you’ve got yourself a true St Patrick’s Day outfit. Don’t even think about not wearing green if you’re out celebrating on 17 March, or you might suffer from our next point.

8. Pinching someone who isn’t wearing green – always wear green

You'll get pinched if you're not wearing green.
Credit: Instagram / @xzydecor

On the contrary to wearing green, if you are not wearing green, be prepared to be pinched.

Wearing green is said to make you invisible to leprechauns, and they will pinch you if you don’t, as tradition has it. So, best be careful!

7. Wearing a shamrock – a symbol of Irish pride

Wearing a shamrock is one of the best St Patrick’s Day traditions in Ireland.
Credit: Instagram / @salon13pgh

The shamrock is a real Irish tradition and is associated with Saint Patrick, as it was said that he used this leaf to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish.

Every year, many people wear a shamrock on their clothes to mark this annual event.

6. Going to mass – honouring the Irish patron saint, Saint Patrick

Going to mass is a must on Paddy's Day.
Credit: Flickr / New York National Guard

Today, St Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in Ireland and is a mostly secular celebration. With it being a religious holiday honouring a saint, many people like to attend religious services, such as the special mass held on this occasion.

Originally, St Patrick’s Day was a religious feast to honour Saint Patrick. For this reason, people still take part in their own religious observance on this day and going to mass is one of the most popular St Patrick’s Day traditions in Ireland.

5. Attending an Irish music session – a song and dance

Attending an Irish music session is one of the best St Patrick’s Day traditions in Ireland.

Paddy’s Day is all about honouring all things Irish, and Irish music is one of the best Irish cultural customs. So, of course, we all head to the pub for a trad session on the big day.

Expect lots of lively music, friendly faces, and flowing drinks. It truly is a great day of celebration!

Celebrate this tradition in any one of our choices for the top 10 places to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in Ireland!

4. Drowning the shamrock – a real Irish tradition

Drowning the shamrock is a common St Patrick's Day tradition.
Credit: Instagram / @t_breathnachs_pub

If you’ve never heard of this Irish tradition, then you need to do it this year. One of the best St Patrick’s Day traditions in Ireland is drowning the shamrock, which happens at the night’s end on Paddy’s Day.

The shamrock is dropped into the last glass of whiskey, and a toast is given to honour Saint Patrick. To complete the ritual, the shamrock is tossed over your left shoulder for good luck.

3. Eating traditional Irish food – all the good stuff

Eating traditional Irish food is one of the best St Patrick’s Day traditions in Ireland.

One of the best St Patrick’s Day traditions in Ireland is eating a traditional Irish meal. Traditionally known as a feast day, the people of Ireland are truly keeping this tradition alive.

For this special day, we love eating fresh lamb, which is in season at this time of year, beef and Guinness pies, and, of course, bacon and cabbage. Oh, and don’t forget that Irish soda bread we baked earlier!

2. Drinking all things Irish – you don’t need to tell us twice

You have to enjoy all the greatest Irish drinks on 17 March.
Credit: Flickr / Zach Dischner

Well, you knew this was coming because, as is the Irish stereotype, we are always associated with drinking, and in this case, it is very true.

It is your duty as an Irish person, or anyone celebrating all things Irish, to drink Guinness, Irish whiskey, and all things Irish on St Paddy’s Day – in moderation, of course.

1. The St Patrick’s Day parade – the annual event that we all look forward to

The St Patrick's Day Parade tops our list of best St Patrick’s Day traditions in Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

The parade is one of the biggest celebrations and one of the best St Patrick’s Day traditions in Ireland.

There are huge festivals and cultural events; the streets are packed with people wearing green attire, sipping Guinness, and looking genuinely happy. After all, it is the day of pride for us Irish.

For those who can’t make it for whatever reason, the spectacular parade is broadcast on TV, and the 2022 parade promises to come back with a bang.

So, there it is: ten of the best St Patrick’s Day traditions in Ireland to look out for this year on the 17 March, our day of Irish pride.

Other notable mentions


As we mentioned above, the tradition of celebrating St Patrick’s Day is not only observed in Ireland. This celebration sees the worldwide Irish population come together for what is now a mostly secular celebration.

In the United States, people of Irish ancestry come out on the streets to celebrate all things Irish. One of the biggest celebrations in the United States is the New York City Parade. Elsewhere, one of the biggest American traditions is the dying of the Chicago River green.

The celebration of St Patrick’s Day really began in the United States in the 1960s when the Irish ambassador sent President Harry Truman a box of shamrocks to honour the day.

In London, there is a huge St Patrick’s Day celebration that culminates in Trafalgar Square at the heart of the city. Saint Patrick’s Day is also recognized as a public holiday in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Meanwhile, even Niagara Falls glows green!

If you’re wondering about where else to celebrate St Patrick’s Day around the world, check out our article on the best places to celebrate St Patrick’s Day outside of Ireland.

FAQs about St Patrick’s Day traditions in Ireland

How do you celebrate St Patrick’s Day?

Some of the best ways to celebrate St Patrick’s Day are by enjoying Irish food and drinks. You can also wear green and get involved in lively St Patrick’s Day parades.

What brings you good luck on St Patrick’s Day?

There are plenty of Irish symbols of good luck, such as the shamrock, horseshoes, and the Celtic Cross.

What are some St Patrick’s day traditions in Ireland?

In Ireland, there are plenty of festivals and celebrations that take place across the country to honour St Patrick’s Day. Some of the most common traditions are wearing green, eating green food and drinks, and just having a good time!

Find Your Dream Hotel in Ireland

On the hunt for the ultimate hotel for your Irish adventure? Explore a curated selection ranging from the charming heritage of boutique accommodations in Dublin's vibrant heart to the tranquil luxury of rural retreats and the captivating coastal vistas. Start your search below to find the perfect stay with our trusted hotel partner.

Get featured on Ireland Before You Die

Do you want to get your Irish business more online exposure? Especially to those interested in travelling the best places in Ireland? Then why not get a dedicated feature on Ireland Before You Die. Find out more here.

Related Posts


Ireland Before You Die is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Send this to a friend