Where else would you find authentic Irish parades than Ireland? On Sunday, March 16th, parades filled the streets in the capital cities of both Dublin, Ireland and Belfast, Northern Ireland. Larger crowds were on hand this year, as Breaking News reported a fifty percent increase in visitors to Ireland. And, the BBC reports that the parade in Belfast was the 'biggest in years.'
The top three tourist destinations for St. Patrick's Day in Ireland is Dublin, Galway, and Cork, according to officials from Expedia, who also told Breaking News that this year, foreign bookings more than doubled. The BBC estimated nearly 500,000 people lined the streets of the 'largest parade on the island of Ireland,' in Dublin.
Northern Ireland shared in the increase of people coming out to celebrate tourism. Belfast's Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir told the BBC 'it's the biggest turnout I've seen in some years on St Patrick's Day, great colour, lots of green.' The BBC also reported that 15,000 people gathered for the parade in Belfast, which is just part the three day festival.
While many have looked to to Boston, New York, and Chicago as the best places to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in the past, traveling to the root of the holiday is becoming the latest trend. Perhaps next year, Ireland or Northern Ireland should become your destination for celebrating with the Irish.