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Celebrating all things Irish.

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From the gushing, icy ocean waters rises a land of myths and legends--an emerald gem, rain-washed, rocky and glistening with promise. It is a country of timeless beauty, where ancient stories are woven into the very fabric of culture and everyday life.

One such story tells of an itinerant missionary by the name of Patrick, who is said to have banished all snakes from the island and taught the doctrine of the Holy Trinity by using a three-leafed shamrock to illustrate the Christian teaching of 'three divine persons in one God'. It is a tale that is iconic like no other, for this man was of course the great patron saint of Ireland.

"Everyone is Irish on March 17th," reads a sign at the Guinness factory in Dublin. As cliched as this may sound, you will be hard pushed to find another national holiday that inspires an international spectacle on the scale of St. Patrick's Day. As Irish stereotypes come alive and the world dons green, leprechauns and life-sized pints of Guinness take to the streets in parades from New York City to Tokyo. In Chicago, even the city's river turns Ireland's trademark colour.

Meanwhile, back in Ireland, the national holiday was a comparatively quiet affair until 1970. Pubs remained closed as a sign of respect for the religious occasion, and families often celebrated in the privacy of their own homes. This idyllic scene is a world away from the cacophony of parades and fireworks that mark St. Patrick's Day in Dublin's fair city today.

The occasion is now one of the biggest highlights on the event calendar, attracting well over a million people and showcasing the very best of Irish creative and imaginative talent. Highlights include funfairs, walking tours, and boat races, as well as the great parade from historic Parnell Square to St. Patrick's Cathedral. If not the pints of Guinness, the gabby locals or the craic at the parade, the ceili dancing will certainly leave you reeling--but still wanting more.

Make it happen

St. Patrick's Festival in Dublin: 16-19 March Flights from Zurich: direct with Aerlingus and SWISS Flights from Geneva: direct with Aerlingus; via Zurich with SWISS

Did you know?

St. Patrick's Day is also a public holiday on the Caribbean island of Montserrat

Further information

www.stpatricksfestival.ie

www.discoverireland.com

www.visitdublin.com
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Title Annotation:travel: getaway
Author:Scheuringer, Carina
Publication:Swiss News
Date:Mar 1, 2012
Words:391
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