St Patrick's Day: Planning your celebrations

Stacey King

If any nation in the British Isles knows how to party then it's the Irish - and they like to make a special point of it once a year on March 17 to celebrate St Patrick's Day.

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So whether you have a long-standing craic habit or you just like wearing green novelty hats, check out our guide to the biggest and best celebrations...

A trip to the fatherland for "Paddy's Day" is pretty much a guarantee of a good time on March 17 - with events taking place in towns, cities and villages across both the republic and Northern Ireland.

Perhaps unsurprisingly Dublin will host the biggest parade, with more than half a million people turning out for last year's event.

This year's fun will be spread across four days - and will include a craft beer festival (with plenty of stout we imagine), music performances, Father Ted-themed comedy and - of course - a big parade on the 17th.

There will also be notable events in Cork, Waterford, Killarney, Limerick, Belfast, Derry/Londonderry and Galway - but there's likely to be a party going on wherever you end up.

The big smoke is expecting around 100,000 revellers to turn out for the annual free party organised by the mayor's office. This year's event is taking place between noon and 6pm on Sunday, March 18, in Trafalgar Square.

And of course the capital has plenty of Irish pubs where you can get warmed up the night before and head on to after the parade.

Other UK cities
Birmingham and Manchester both claim to have the biggest St Patrick's Day parade in the UK - although both are taking place on March 11 - the weekend before the actual date.

Liverpool and Glasgow also have significant Irish populations and it wouldn't be too difficult to track down a lively Irish pub on the 17th in either.

Across the pond
St Patrick's Day is big news in the US of A - with many Americans being fiercely proud of their Irish roots and many more enjoying the atmosphere.

New York, Chicago and Boston are the obvious choices stateside, because all have a strong Irish heritage. The Chicago River is even dyed green each year to mark the occasion.

Notable celebrations also take place in New Orleans and Savannah in the south and Seattle in the north west.

Canada also hosts events in Toronto, Montreal and Quebec.

Further afield
Sydney, Hong Kong, Buenos Aries and Beijing are all fond of marking St Patrick's Day with a party - with many bars hosting their own themed nights as well as big events taking place.

Finally the Caribbean island of Montserrat has strong Irish links and is the only nation apart from Ireland to mark St Patrick's Day with a public holiday.

Will you be celebrating St Patrick's Day? If so where? Comment below...