It’s not as crazy as you would think it might be. You see, Americans manage to turn every holiday into a drinking event. St. Paddy’s Day? DRINK! Halloween? DRINK! Groundhog Day? DRINK! But over in Ireland, it’s less of a drunkfest and more of an actual religious holiday. You do see [drunk] people drinking openly on the streets, but chances are – they’re tourists. I’m sure locals want no part of this and probably even try to avoid the St. Paddy’s Day parade. (Just like New Yorkers avoid Times Square at any given hour of the the day – like it’s the plague)
But since I actually was a tourist, I can say that I willingly went to the parade and it was pretty cool! (and for the record, no, I was not one of those drunk tourists)
The parade starts at noon (though you will for sure need to be there earlier if you want a good view of all the action). It starts at Parnell Square. You can check out the parade route here. I’m not sure if it changes each year but I would think it’s the same route. So if your main reason for being in Dublin is the the St. Paddy’s Day parade, you can look for a hotel along that route because a lot of them have balconies. This way, you’ll get a bird’s eye view, avoid the crowd, and even get to sleep in for a bit!
We only stayed for about half an hour because we still wanted to explore other parts of the city, and we were on a tight schedule.