One of the most exciting holidays of the year, for anyone with or without Irish ancestry running through their veins, is Saint Patrick’s Day. It’s a time of fun and laughter and a spirit of anything goes – well, almost anything that is! Just remember, some of what we celebrate here at home in the States isn’t at all what you’re likely to find in Ireland. Actually, here’s some of what you can expect.

Make Those Reservations Early!

Since half the world has also been waiting to spend Saint Patrick’s Day in Ireland, you’ll want to make those travel arrangements early. Also, make sure to plan for a trip around the island to see more than the crowds all dressed in green and kegs of Guinness on every street corner. Check out Go Irish Tours – https:/www.goirishtours.com/ to see what kinds of tour packages are available because you can travel by coach in groups or by car as a family, but you will want to see the country while there for the holiday.

Sexy Leprechauns Are NOT the Norm

Yes, you should also dress in green but contrary to popular belief, those sexy leprechaun costumes are a bit taboo in Ireland. They take those little men quite seriously and do tend to frown upon visitors making light of their traditions, as light-hearted as they may already be!

On St. Patrick’s Day There Is No North and South

Other days of the year there still may be lingering tensions between the north and the south, but on St. Paddy’s day the two countries come together to celebrate a day that is all Irish. You may still find those holdouts wearing orange, but not as frequent as in days gone by. After all, it’s not so much about religion anymore as it is about celebrating one’s Irish heritage – Catholic, Protestant and Atheist alike.

Expect to Sample a Pint of Guinness

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Ireland, you can expect to drink a pint (or two or three) of Guinness in the tradition of the day but also as the ‘official’ Irish beer, dyed green for the celebration!

Bring Cash Not Plastic

Much of the fun will be on the streets where parties go on throughout the wee hours of the morn. Don’t expect local street vendors to have the capability to accept plastic payment. It is always advisable to have a ready stash of cash on hand.

Get Up Early If You Want to See the Parades

The parades do tend to start early on the day and crowds will start gathering earlier yet. If you really want to see, experience and photograph a real Irish St. Paddy’s Day parade, get there early and don’t lose your spot by wandering off for another pint. Don’t worry! The vendors will make their way around again.

Plan a Bit of Convalescing Time

Finally, after all that fun and frolicking, you’ll want to spend a few days convalescing from all the merriment. This would be the ideal time to take that tour mentioned above. Travel the countryside where everything sparkles like diamonds with the droplets of dew and rain on the vibrant Kelly green countryside.

If you’re going to spend your first Saint Patrick’s Day ever in Ireland, don’t let your preconceived notions interfere with a smashing good time. Again, while in Rome do as the Romans, but in Ireland? Well, you’ll see. It’s more than you ever thought possible. It’s Ireland on a day when there is no tension, no north and south, no Catholic and Protestant – only a ridiculously good time to be shared by all.