Does Europe Celebrate Saint Patrick's Day?

St Patrick's Day celebrations at Trafalgar Square, London.
St Patrick's Day celebrations at Trafalgar Square, London.
  • Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in major European cities including London, Glasgow, and Copenhagen.
  • Over one hundred thousand people gather in the streets of London to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day.
  • Each city has a unique way of celebrating Saint Patrick's Day, but beer and parades are common in all the festivals.

Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other event except for maybe Christmas and New Year. It is held on March 17 and involves festivals, parades, dance, music, and notably the green color. Saint Patrick’s Day began as a Christian celebration to honor Saint Patrick, the patron of Ireland, but has since turned into a global festival. It was meant for the Irish people, but on the day, everyone becomes “Irish for a day,” so as not to miss out on the celebrations. It is a public holiday in Ireland but not a national holiday. There is no better place to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day than Ireland. About half a million people take to the streets of the capital Dublin to participate in festivals, beer challenges, make friends, and cycle around the city. Other cities that celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day are London, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Munich, Glasgow, and many more.

London, United Kingdom

Saint Patrick’s Day may not be a national holiday in the United Kingdom, but that does not stop people from taking part. On March 17, the streets of London run green, with over 100,000 people taking part in an array of activities, a majority of which take place in Trafalgar Square. The festival is open to everyone, including foreigners. In addition to the annual 1.5-mile-long parade, hundreds of Irish pubs offer Guinness beer at discounted prices. 

Birmingham, United Kingdom

Birmingham City boasts one of the largest Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Europe, with over 90,000 people taking part in the festival. Unlike other European cities, Birmingham celebrates for an entire week. Clubs and restaurants serve Irish cuisine and play Irish music for the whole week while theatres showcase Irish folk songs. Many people choose to participate in the Emerald mile fun run and enjoy Irish food in themed food stalls. 

Munich, Germany

It is no surprise that Munich celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day considering the Bavarians’ fondness for drinking and the large community of Irish in the city. The German-Irish Society organizes the annual event that has seen the number of participants rise to about 50,000 people. Activities range from parades to parties and festivals. 

Barcelona, Spain 

Barcelona hosts several events across the city to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. The city is taken over by Irish expatriates, tourists, and locals who create a festive atmosphere. Many Irish bars and clubs serve drinks at discounted prices while restaurants serve Irish cuisines. Participants attend one of the many street parties or meet up with family and friends. 

Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow has a cultural identity that reflects Irish heritage, and the city is considered as a second home for the Irish people. Celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day is not only about the festival, but it also marks the relationship between the Emerald Isle and Scotland. On March 17, Glasgow resembles Dublin as the city’s theme turns Irish. Bars and restaurants serve Irish food while theatres showcase live Irish music and poetry. 

Copenhagen, Denmark

Denmark does not have close cultural ties to Ireland, but that does not stop the city of Copenhagen from celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day and the citizens from indulging in similar activities as the rest of the world. Many people participate in parades, drink green beer, and dance to Irish music. A unique feature of the city’s celebration is the three-legged race through Irish pubs, drinking in each as you pass through. 


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