Ready for March 17 2020? It’s never too early to get ready for St Patrick’s Day! Our Canadian ambassador and student of Marketing and Management Strategy at Limerick Institute of Technology, Spencer Sudds shares his top tips on how to celebrate this colourful, national holiday as an international student in Ireland.

St Patrick’s day on March 17, and is a day that is celebrated across the globe regardless of one’s nationality. I spent the day celebrating with friends in Cork where the streets were filled with smiling faces. When planning on celebrating the holiday, some of my friends had mentioned the idea of taking a bus south, to Cork. Seeing as though we spend the majority of our time in Limerick (a beautiful Irish city, I must add), it was a great excuse to get away. If you want to join in the celebrations next year I have the following tips to help you get the most out of the day!

Plan the trip

It sounds silly but this is crucial. This includes costs of transportation, accommodation, food and drink etc. Being on a student budget, it is important to have an understanding of the amount of money you will be spending. I was able to split the biggest expense, our accommodation, between three other guys. We got a hotel room on the outskirts of town and bussed into the city (the cheapest option and most adventure-filled).

Ensure that everyone has matching outfits

This is probably my favourite tip. All four of us had matching green Irish rugby shirts that we bought from Dunnes. Matching outfits can help you find your friends if you get lost in the crowds. You will also look super cool.

Group of six peopole in matching green shirts

Spencer and his friends celebrating St Patrick’s Day in Cork

Make friends at the bus stop

Chat to people about the crazy outfits they are wearing. We got chatting to a mother and daughter who were headed in the same direction. The parade was starting at 1pm and the bus came at 12:30pm. When it arrived the bus was jam-packed! The four of us let the mother and daughter on first and we overheard the bus driver ask how many. The mother had included us as part of the headcount and we were able to squeeze onto the bus. Being so close to one another, it was easy to make even more friends. Talking to another new friend, we were told that people were waiting at other bus stops for over two hours and the buses drove by because they were full to capacity. Thank goodness for our outfits and our new friends. We were definitely lucky to get to the parade on time. I also recommend leaving as early as possible and allowing for disruptions to bus services.

Smile and wave

After walking into the city centre of Cork from the nearest bus stop, we were able to find a spot to view the parade. We stayed at this spot for a while and eagerly waved at the smiling faces of the parade participants. There were numerous photos being taken and stories shared amongst our friend group and others around us. Embrace these moments! They will give you memories that will last a lifetime.

Explore, enjoy, celebrate!

After standing in our one parade viewing spot for so long our feet began to get restless. We moved closer to the heart of the city centre where there were numerous bars and people from all over the world enjoying the sunshine and celebrations. Be sure to take lots of photos. Drinking at least one pint of Guinness is a must. The celebration is not official until you have a pint of the black stuff! As the day comes to an end, be sure to plan your way home safely.

Having the privilege to enjoy the holiday in Ireland was truly a bucket list task checked off. I hope these tips can help future students enjoy the celebrations in the coming years! There will always be lots of smiles and memories made on St Patrick’s day.