Family Friendly St Patrick’s Day in Cork 2017

Ireland’s national holiday, St Patrick’s Day, falls this Friday, 17th March. In celebration of St Patrick who got the credit for bringing Christianity to Ireland (apparently Palladius didn’t kick up enough of a stink about it), 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 previously and it went down well. As of yet I’ve not found a concise list of events in Cork, so this may be of help to you in picking what you are doing with your family that day.

Family friendly St Patrick's Day in Cork 2017

Cork City Centre

In Cork City Centre, The St Patrick’s Weekend Festival runs from Friday 17th to Sunday 19th March. On Friday, the St Patrick’s Day parade starts at 1pm. Celebrating the theme of Cork – A City of Community, Culture & Commerce, it’s sure to encapsulate the different communities which make up the larger Cork community. In previous years (I’ve been attending since 2010), it’s been fantastically colourful and representative. My advice for the Cork parade is get there early – 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’s 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.

There’s going to be a St Patrick’s Festival pop up market in Emmet Place on Saturday and Sunday. 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! It’s there from 10am-5pm so don’t miss out!

St Patricks Day Cork
Picture courtesy of Cork Lions Club

One of the bits I really enjoyed last year was the ball race down Patricks Hill. In support of Cork Lions Club, who are working on a project to install lifesaving 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 19th 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 their weekly Kids Art workshop running on Sunday 19th, which is perfect to keep kids occupied on a Sunday afternoon. It takes place from 3-4pm in The River Room.

If you’re up around University College Cork, if you fancy a tour, you’re sorted. On Saturday at 12, you can join a Guided Historic and Cultural tour of the University which lasts approximately 70 minutes. The tour departs from the Visitors’ Centre in the Main Quadrangle. No booking necessary, kids go free and adults are just 2 euros each. You’ll get to see the largest Ogham stone collection on open display in Ireland, the Aula Maxima and the very cool Crawford Observatory.

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 “Clash & Spark”. As you may have guessed, a big GAA theme. They’re inviting juvenile players GAA Clubs from around the country to Ballincollig this Paddy’s Day to take part in “Clash and Spark”. They’re hoping for as many young hurlers and camogie players as possible to come along in their club colours to take part in the Paddy’s Day Parade and help us set a record for the highest and loudest Clash of the Ash. The aim is to rock Main Street, Ballincollig with the thunderous sound of hundreds of hurls coming together. For more information, check out their Facebook page here.

This isn’t the first record-breaking attempt Ballincollig has done for St Patrick’s Day. In 2015, they looked for as many Princess Elsa’s as possible to set a record for Most Princess Elsa’s in one place. They managed to set the record – 771 Elsa’s turned up on the day, so they’ve got good form!


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 Thursday 16th at 7.30pm. The following day, their St Patrick’s Day Parade takes place at 4pm, with the theme “The Spirit of Kinsale”. Lots of fun for all the family!


Cobh are hosting their St Patrick’s Day parade this year at 3.30pm. The theme is “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life” which sounds like it’s going to be full of positivity and colour – exactly what we need!

Other places to head (I’ll update with more details once I have them!)

Bandon: Parade kicks off from 2.30pm

Fermoy: Parade kicks off from 11am

Midleton: Parade kicks off from 3pm.

Upper Glanmire: Parade kicks off at 3.30pm.

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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