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St Patrick's Day Parade | © LenDog64 / Flickr
St Patrick's Day Parade | © LenDog64 / Flickr
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10 Ways to Celebrate St Patrick's Day in Belfast

Picture of Niamh McGovern
Updated: 14 March 2017
Cultures of the world are familiar with St Patrick’s Day, the traditional Irish holiday, now celebrated on every corner of the world. However, you probably haven’t experienced Irish patron St Patrick in his country, from the streets of Ireland’s capital, Dublin, to Northern Ireland’s capital of Belfast. Be inspired by the shamrock this March with our guide to St Patrick’s Day 2017 in Belfast.

‘The SPAR Craic 10K’ Run

If you’re a morning person, consider entering this 10-kilometre (6.2-mile) urban run, which begins in the early hours of St Patrick’s Day, to kick start your celebrations. If you don’t consider yourself to be an athlete, don’t let this deter you as this mini-marathon is for everyone, bringing together the wider community on Belfast’s most lively event of the year. Over 1300 racers took part last year, including the professionals, the charity runners and the ones who just wanted to dress up and take part.

You can sign up here for the 10K run, until March 16, 2017.

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Carnival Parade at City Hall

St Patrick’s Day celebrations start early in Northern Ireland’s capital of Belfast, with a colourful carnival parade commencing at 12 noon from the gates of City Hall. The parade is a beautiful celebration of the local and wider communities, including appearances from youth groups, comedy acts, musical talent and many others. This event is a staple in the Belfast calendar, perfect for families and tourists looking to capture the charm of this vibrant city. The surrounding area will be brimming with traditional food carts, performing acts and market goods – everything you need for a taste of Northern Irish ‘craic’ (immense enjoyment).

Find out more about the 2017 City Hall parade here.

City Hall, Donegall Square, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, +44 28 9032 0202

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Concert at Custom Square House

An afternoon concert will follow the parade and will include an appearance from Reggie ‘n’ Bollie, Fleur East and traditional Belfast acts, from The Rare Aul Stuff to Belfast Boys’ Mode. The concert is free to the public and plans to start at 12:45 p.m. GMT. The show is family-friendly, and there will be plenty of street performers and craft activities to keep the kids busy! Perfect to enjoy before you hit Belfast’s range of traditional pubs, which will showcase some of the finest local talents all evening.

You can find out more about the 2017 St Patrick’s Concert here, which takes place at Belfast’s Custom House Square.

Custom House Square, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

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St George’s Market celebrations

Belfast’s famous market will once again open its gates to the public for a St Patrick’s weekend celebration, beginning at 6 a.m. on March 17th. Enjoy local music from An Droichead and shamrock-themed craft events throughout the day. The usual gourmet food stalls, locally crafted fashion and jewellery, and international cuisine will be on offer all weekend – if you are visiting the city for St Patrick’s Day, you won’t want to miss out on a visit to this award-winning market.

St George’s Market opens 6 a.m.–3 p.m. on St Patrick’s Day. You can find more information and weekend opening times here.

St George’s Market, 12–20 East Bridge Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, +44 28 9043 5704

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St Paddy’s Day on The Barge

Belfast’s marina restaurant and bar, The Barge, literally sits on the water inside a boat, overlooking the surrounding harbour. This year, they’re celebrating St Patrick’s Day with a BYOB (Bring Your Own Booze) event, complete with a fantastic buffet and spotlight sets from Judas Wolves, Hornet and beyond to accompany. The venue is limited to a 100-person capacity, so get your ticket to this seaside celebration while they last!

You can book your ticket for The Barge here.

The Barge, 1 Lanyon Pl, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Féile an Earraigh

In its 29th year, the Féile an Earraigh is an annual, traditional spring festival, celebrating Irish culture and heritage in Northern Ireland. For an authentic taste of Northern Irish culture, tourists will love this festival, which showcases a series of Irish dancing acts, musical talent and workshops across all four days, closing on March 17th with the popular Féile Finale show. The programme has partnered with Respect Human Rights this March to present a film series spotlighting various conflicts and human issues around the world, reflecting the importance of community and support in St Patrick’s tradition. You can view the schedule of events and their allocated venues here.

Féile an Earraigh will take place from March 14–17, 2017.

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St Patrick’s Day Tea Dance

Belfast’s iconic music venue, Ulster Hall, will open its doors to celebrate St Patrick with a twist. Perhaps for the quieter crowd, the Punjana tea dance is perfect for older guests with a flair for the dance floor (ask your elders, they have better dance moves than you). Traditional music will play from 12 noon–2 p.m., and you can chill out and laugh with friends over a hot cup of joe afterwards.

Book your ticket for the Punjana Tea Dance here.

Ulster Hall, 34 Bedford St, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, +44 28 9033 4455

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Patrick’s Mysterious Adventure

Belfast Cathedral, colloquially named St Anne’s Cathedral, is here to teach the kids (and their grown-ups) about the story of St Patrick, from his early capture by Irish pirates to his famed return to Ireland and his life as a shepherd throughout the 4th century. This exhibition will illustrate the Irish legend – who did not chase the snakes out of Ireland, contrary to popular belief around the world – in the spectacular interior of the cathedral. Celebrating his legacy are circus performers, who will make an appearance on March 17th, and a Viking re-enactment that will enlighten visitors of Ireland’s wider Celtic history and culture.

Patrick’s Mysterious Adventure will take place from March 15–19, 2017.

St Anne’s Cathedral, Donegall St, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, +44 28 9032 8332

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Cathedral Quarter and The Dirty Onion

The Cathedral Quarter is an incandescent hub for Northern Irish culture, best celebrated in the jolly month of March. Each venue will celebrate this day with their own speciality drinks and spotlight bands and solo artists, along with instrumentalist talent, ensuring you celebrate March 17th into the early hours of the morning. Ireland’s oldest building-turned-bar and restaurant, The Dirty Onion (and its restaurant, Yardbird), will host their annual barbeque and beer garden festival – and they will give you a free pint if you run the SPAR 10K run and be one of the first 100 to make it to the Cathedral Quarter venue!

View The Dirty Onion schedule here.

The Dirty Onion, 3 Hill St, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, +44 28 9024 3712

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St Patrick’s Party at The Filthy Quarter

South Belfast students are familiar with the Gypsy Lounge and The Secret Garden venue within Filthy’s edgy and alternative venue, which hosts its annual St Patrick’s Party on March 17th. You don’t need an alternative taste to enjoy this event; local band More Power To Your Elbow – who enjoy fandom in the USA and Norway for their music – will make an appearance. There will also be a plethora of festive events and food stalls, which includes a barbeque and Irish stew server (an Irish speciality and rare treat). This party is an Irish-themed marquee with a twist!

Find out more about The Filthy Quarter events here.

The Filthy Quarter, 45 Dublin Rd, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, +44 28 9024 6823