What are you doing for Saint Patrick’s Day?

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With Ireland‘s national holiday just around the corner, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the celebrations are starting early, with people over the world taking part in festivities starting from the weekend.

Wherever you happen to be over the next five days, you won’t be far away from celebrations, Guinness and shamrock green. But what you might not know is that as well as being widely celebrated around Ireland, Northern Ireland and the rest of the British Isles, Ireland’s national holiday is also a huge event around the world – especially in the USA and Canada, where some cities really go the extra mile in celebrating their Irish heritage when 17 March comes around.

Take Montreal, which hosts Canada’s longest-running Saint Patrick’s Day parade, or the even more extreme example of Chicago, where the Chicago River is dyed green on this day every year! If you don’t believe me, you can see it taking place in this video from YouTube, courtesy of user mooser53:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFXlPJ9hKrY&hl=en_GB&fs=1&]

On the other hand, if you’re in London this Saturday, you can take part in one of the UK’s largest Saint Patrick’s Day events (outside of Ireland of course!), the Mayor’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival which attracted 100,000 revellers last year to enjoy floats, marching bands and Irish song and dance performances in Trafalgar Square.

So wherever you are next Wednesday, raise a glass to your Irish brothers and sisters! I’ve always thought that national holidays offer the perfect excuse to stop putting off that trip abroad, and it must be fantastic to visit Dublin on 17 March to see how the Irish capital celebrates its public holiday… even if it’s bound to be a little more crowded than usual! There’s an annual tradition among some of my friends who visit Dublin to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, but they do it in the summer when the weather’s better – surely that’s just cheating? :)

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