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St. Patrick’s Day 2013: your guide to a great day

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When Sunday 17 March rolls around this year, all across the world people will commemorate St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. There’s not a party like it and this year, several cities around the UK are holding special events and festivals to celebrate the big day.

If you feel like getting out and enjoying one of these fun-packed events then we’ve put together an essential guide for your trip. Many of the locations are no more than a cheap train trip away so take your pick, book your ticket and get ready to have an amazing time.

Turning London green

The capital is celebrating St Paddy’s with a day of amusements around the city centre. The day will kick off with a parade that’ll leave Piccadilly at noon.

Music, floats and a giant inflatable dragon will contribute to the flamboyant procession as it winds its way through the streets. Trafalgar Square will host a free afternoon showcase of Irish culture and will also house a comedy tent introducing some of the best Irish stand-ups to the lucky crowds.

In the evening there is no shortage of Irish bars where you can to raise a glass or two to Ireland and its national day. For exceptional Guinness and raucous entertainment, try the Auld Shillelagh in North London. Or for one of the best selections of beers in London give the Porterhouse in Covent Garden a try.

Get there: The capital is well served by railways so getting a train to London is easy. Charing Cross station is just three minutes away from Trafalgar Square, where the main festival is taking place.

Fun and festivals in Nottingham

Nottingham will be having events throughout the week leading up to St Patrick’s Day so it might be worth getting a cheap train deal to the city through the week to enjoy the activities on offer. The culture of Ireland will be celebrated in a selection of talks and arts events while evening revelries will be centred on the historic Bell Inn on Angel Row.

On Sunday the week-long celebrations will reach a climax place starting with a Mass at the Church of Our Lady and St Patrick followed by a colourful parade that’ll travel through two miles of Nottingham’s streets. A free concert in Market Square will keep the entertainments going before the party moves back to the Bell Inn.

Get there: Many train companies run services to the city so getting to Nottingham by rail is a straightforward process. The railway station is in the centre of town, only ten minutes from the Church of Our Lady and St Patrick and a similar distance from Market Square.

Mixing the Brum and Blarney in Birmingham

Birmingham’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations will be kicking off on Saturday 9 March with a gala event at the Paragon Hotel near Highgate Park. For only a fiver visitors can enjoy a buffet supper, entertainments and a taste of some of the events that are taking place between then and St Patrick’s Day itself.

As the week builds towards the celebratory Sunday, drinkers can enjoy Irish whiskey and beer festivals while families can attend flower festivals and history workshops. Sunday will bring a Mass at St Anne’s followed by a free parade and a night of music at The Institute in Digbeth. If this isn’t enough for you and you wake up on Monday wanting a bit more the Spotted Dog pub will be holding an Irish film night to draw the celebrations to a close.

Get there: Getting off your train to Birmingham at New Street Station will put you into the heart of the celebrations. The station is only a fifteen minute walk from Digbeth, home to many of the music venues and excellent Irish bars.

Guinness in Glasgow

Glasgow is proud of its close historical connections with Ireland and this year it is celebrating them in big style. This year the Scottish city is showing off this pride with an impressive nine days of festivities starting with a multicultural event on Tuesday 5 March. Irish musicians will join forces with performers from other ethnic backgrounds to provide an evening of fun and musical fusion at The Glad Café on Pollokshaws Road.

Concerts, talks and culture events will be taking place throughout the week culminating in a weekend of Irish themed entertainment. On the Saturday before St Patrick’s Day there will be a Family Fun Day in Merchant Square followed by a night of music and traditional Ceili dancing at the nearby Teach Padraig. On the following morning an Irish language Festival Mass will take place at Our Lady of Consolation before revellers resume their celebrations at the many Irish pubs dotted about the city.

Get there: If you want to make the most out of the celebration catch a cheap train deal and head to Glasgow. If you’re travelling from England, your train to Glasgow will pull in at Central Station which is just 10 minutes away from Merchant Square.

Enjoy some Irish hospitality in Manchester

In the mid nineteenth century 10 per cent of Manchester’s population was Irish. The city has a powerful, historical connection with Ireland and this will be reflected in this year’s Manchester Irish Festival – the biggest St Patrick’s Day celebration in the UK. This year nine days of celebration will be bringing Manchester to life, featuring the ever present Irish Market in Albert Square.

Live music from Irish pop rockers The Script will grab the headlines but throughout the week there will be an enormous range of smaller events celebrating the music of Ireland. And if listening to music is too passive you’ll be given the chance to skip to the beat at some of the many Irish dance events. St Patrick’s Day will see a riotously enjoyable parade along with a wealth of music and parties across the city.

Get there: The breath-taking festivities taking place in Manchester are happening all over the city centre so grab a cheap train ticket and head to the city. When you reach the train station you’ll be right in the heart of a world class celebration.

How are you going to celebrate St Patrick’s Day? Did we miss out any UK St. Paddy’s day celebrations you think are worth a mention?

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