St Patrick’s Day 2018 – Family Friendly Events in Cork

Ireland’s national holiday, St Patrick’s Day, falls this Saturday, 17th March. Each year, we celebrate St Patrick, the guy who got the credit for bringing Christianity to Ireland (apparently Palladius didn’t kick up enough of a stink about it). Each year, we have parades and family events as well as a bank holiday. St Patrick’s Day has a reputation for being linked with alcohol consumption, so I’m encouraged to see how many family-friendly events are taking place this year. I did a roundup of the events happening in Cork in previous years and people seemed to find it helpful. Hopefully, this may be of help to you in picking what you are doing with your family that day.


Cork City Centre

In Cork City Centre, The St Patrick’s Weekend Festival runs from Friday 17th to Sunday 19th March. On Saturday, the St Patrick’s Day parade starts at 1 pm. This year’s parade is celebrating the theme of Democracy For All – 100 Years of the Vote for Women. The organisers ask you to join them for a carnival of colour, music, pageantry and comic fun!

My advice for the Cork parade is to get there early as it gets very crowded, very quickly! The parade runs from the South Mall to the Grand Parade, along St. Patrick’s Street and finishes at Merchant’s Quay. Also be aware that if you’re down the Merchant’s Quay end, it can take what seems like an age for the parade to get there, if there are complications along the route. Bring things to amuse little ones if you decide to head there just in case! For more information about the parade route, accessibility etc, check out their website here.

Make sure to visit the St Patrick’s Festival pop-up market in Emmet Place on Saturday and Sunday from 12-5. Come along to Emmet Place over the weekend where you will find the country’s best street food, local Cork favourites such as O’Flynn’s, The Crepe Man, Wokabout, Sultan, Barracuda Barbeque, Wok Roll and Knockout Pizza. If you’re in the mood for dessert, they’ll have some tasty treats too with Mini Donuts, Churros, Waffles, Clonakilty Ice Cream, Marco’s Freshly made Crisps and Candy Rock Lane Sweet Stall. For those already full of delicious food, there will be a great selection of craft stalls to browse around; The Cork Makers include; Carrignavar Timber, Chopit, The Fairy Stall, Cathy’s Pearls, Caraliza Design and lots more! It’s a really nice market – I’m a big fan of The Crepe Man!


One of the bits I really enjoy each year is the ball race down Patricks Hill. In support of Cork Lions Club, who are working on a project to install life-saving defibrillators around Cork City, it’s a great fun event for all the family. See over 10,000 multi-coloured balls cascade down St Patricks Hill! This year it takes place on the afternoon of Sunday 18th at 2pm. You can purchase a ball (or more) from their website here, or in person on the day. It’s a fantastic cause, and there are some fantastic prizes for the winning balls! A great one for kids as well, all the colours definitely capture everyone’s imaginations!



The Glucksman Gallery in University College Cork has an incredible exhibition on for the entire weekend, named Monsters in Museum.  This Spring, the Glucksman presents a monster project that invited schools, community groups and children living in Direct Provision to take over the museum with fabulous creatures of their own making. In Monsters in the Museum workshops, participating children will explore ideas of difference and respect, working collaboratively to create artworks for an exhibition that will take over all of Gallery 1. The finished product is available for all to see over the St Patricks Weekend in the Glucksman Gallery from 15-18 March.


For something a little different, there’s a Kids’ Storytelling Morning on the morning of Saturday 17th from 11am – 12pm in St. Peter’s, North Main Street.  Kick off your St. Patrick’s Day in true Irish spirit with tales from Irish authors, and books based in Ireland. Feel free to bring your own favourite book. It’s free of charge. This one is Best suited to under 10’s, although all are welcome.

Elizabeth Fort is also giving free guided tours over the weekend. If you’re looking for something family-friendly and educational, take a guided tour of Cork’s iconic five-pointed star fort. English language tours at 1pm, Irish Language tour at 3pm, Saturday and Sunday.


Ballincollig are hosting their St Patrick’s Day parade this year under the theme of “Earth, Water, Wind & Fire – Ballincollig celebrates the Elements this St. Patrick’s Day”.

The streets of Ballincollig will come to life on the 17th of March as the town celebrates the Four Elements – Earth, Wind, Fire and Water – as the theme for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. Hundreds of people, young and old, will take part in the parade which promises to be a festival full of colour and celebration. The Parade kicks off at 3pm.

Additionally, the St. Patrick’s Day Committee has organised a LIVE screening of the IRELAND V ENGLAND game on the big day. The large screen will be placed outside CastleWest Shopping Centre (Main Entrance). Now you can come to our parade AND watch the match!!! (the game kick off is at 2.45)


Douglas has a little something extra this year, following on the success of previous years. As well as their Parade, they’ve also got a Family Day in the park. The Family day starts at 12pm in Douglas Community Park. There’ll be stands, performances and much more for all the family. The Parade kicks off at 2pm from St Columbas School.


Kinsale has gone a bit extra than the rest – not only does it have one parade, but two! Their Maritime Parade takes place on the evening of Friday 16th at 7.30pm. The following day, their St Patrick’s Day Parade takes place at 1 pm. It follows the parade route The Glen – Pearse St – Barry’s Place – Emmet Place – Pier Road – Worlds End. Lots of fun for all the family!


The 2018 Cobh St. Patrick’s Day Parade will start at 1 pm. The earlier start time is to facilitate those who want to watch the parade and not miss out on the Ireland vs England Rugby Match.


Plans are underway for this year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade in Skibbereen, which takes place on Saturday 17th March at 4.30 pm.  

The route starts at the Children’s Playground on the Cork Road, along North Street, then turning right into Main St, past the viewing platform on the Bridge and finishing in the Fairfield / Old Mart Car Park.

The parade continues to be a popular family event every year and this year’s theme is  “Celebrating Skibbereen as a Multi-Cultural Town and District”. They look forward to celebrating the wide diversity of cultures among the participating groups, organisations, schools etc.  with a rich, colourful parade of national flags, costumes etc.

Don’t forget you can finish off your evening in Skibbereen with traditional music in local bars to enjoy or a tasty snack in any of the local cafés too!

Other places to head

Bandon: Parade kicks off at the earlier time of 14:00 – 15:30.

Carrigaline: This years parade starts at 1:30 pm arrive early to get the best viewing spot on the route. Enjoy the day with the fabulous Ruby Jude band from 5 pm to 7 pm!

Fermoy: Parade kicks off at 11 am

Midleton: Parade kicks off from 3 pm.

Upper Glanmire: Parade kicks off at 3.30pm.

Carrigtwohill: Parade will take place from 2:15 pm this year.

Whatever you get up to this Paddy’s Day (yes, it’s Paddy’s, not Patty’s!), make sure you’re having fun and staying safe. I’d love to hear of anything else going on in the Cork area – let me know if there’s anything I’ve missed and I’ll update it!

Happy St Patricks Day!


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