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Take the train … and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

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It’s time to dress up in green and get drinking Guinness. March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day – and you don’t need to go to Ireland to join the celebrations.

There are St. Patrick’s Day events going on throughout the UK, so jump on a train and enjoy the craic. But before you start the party, check our website for cheap train tickets and great hotel deals, so you can celebrate for less.

Take the train to Birmingham …

Birmingham celebrates in style, hosting a city-wide festival in honour of Ireland’s patron saint. This year’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival begins with a launch party at The Irish Centre on Friday 9 March, and a five day long art exhibition, organised by the Catholic Schools Partnership, will open in South Birmingham College’s Fusion Centre on the same day.

Sunday 10 March is parade day – and with more than 80,000 people likely to be showing up to watch this fantastic event, you should aim to get there early. Parking on parade day can be difficult too, making taking the train to Birmingham an excellent option.

The fun starts with a balloon race at midday, and then the parade – featuring St. Patrick himself and as well as floats, walking groups and classic cars – will march through the streets of the city before culminating with a Massed Bands display. This year’s parade will also include flag bearers from popular Irish sports to celebrate the arrival of the world’s biggest sporting event in London this year.

Other events taking place during Birmingham’s St. Patrick’s Day festival include a flower festival at St. Anne’s Church in Digbeth and a literary evening at The Old Crown.

Take the train to London …

Jump aboard a train to London and take part in the capital’s lively St. Patrick’s Day celebrations this year.

The centrepiece of the Big Smoke’s Irish-themed events is The Mayor’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival. The parade, which features colourful floats, traditional Irish musicians and Irish dancers, takes place on Sunday 18 March 2012. It kicks off at midday in Green Park – one of London’s Royal Parks, which lies between Piccadilly and Constitution Hill, and marches through the streets of central London, ending up at Whitehall.

The celebrations continue in Trafalgar Square, where you’ll be able to see performances by Irish dancers and musicians, try some Irish food and generally get into the St. Paddy’s Day spirit.

But there are also many other St. Patrick’s Day celebrations going in across the capital too. For example, the stars from ‘The Commitments’ (1991), the Dublin-based film directed by Alan Parker, will be performing songs from the movie at the o2 arena, in Peninsula Square, on Saturday 17 March, whilst Irish songstress Camille O’Sullivan will be taking to the stage at the Roundhouse, in Chalk Farm Road on the same night.

Other St. Patrick’s Day celebrations

Many other cities and towns in the UK will be putting on parades and events to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day too, including:

Glasgow – Take the train to Glasgow to enjoy Irish music and dance at the Glasgow Irish Cultural Show, relax at the Family Fun Day Extravaganza in Merchant Square or have a laugh at the St. Patrick’s Day Irish Comedy Special at The Stand Comedy Club.

Manchester – Jump aboard a train to Manchester and get into the Gaelic spirit at the Manchester Irish Festival. The festival runs from Friday 2 March until Sunday 18 March 2012 and events include the Manchester St. Patrick’s Day Parade, as well as musical performances, comedy shows and film screenings.

Where will you be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year? Let us know below…

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