9 of the Best St Patrick’s Day Celebrations in the UAE
Burj Al Arab
BEST FOR: THE VIEW
On St Patrick's Day, the iconic Burj Al Arab will be lit up green in honour of the annual Irish celebration!
This is as part of Tourism Ireland's St Patrick's Day 'greening' initiative ,which has been creating a buzz and generating excitement around the world. Other landmarks that will be lit up on 17 March include The Sydney Opera House, the Sky Tower in Auckland, Nelson Monument in Edinburgh, the Manneken Pis in Brussels, the Puerta de Alcalá in Madrid and the Moulin Rouge in Paris, Niagara Falls, the TV tower in Berlin's Alexanderplatz, the London Eye and Table Mountain in South Africa.
Make sure you don't miss it!
INFO: Free, Burj Al Arab, Dubai, 04 301 7777, www.jumeirah.com.
The Irish Village
BEST FOR: THE MUSIC
Next weekend, Irish royalty Sir Bob Geldof will descend on Dubai to reign over the St Paddy’s Day festivities at The Irish Village for the sixth time!
The singer, who rose to fame in the late Seventies with The Boomtown Rats, will play a live set to launch the three-day celebration on Thursday 15 March. For the rest of the weekend, expect a whole load of craic, including music from The Molly Maguires, who are flying in all the way from Ireland, The Maplejacks and DJ Marky Mark, plus Irish dancers, a huge Irish-themed buffet for lunch and dinner, and fun and games for kids including face painting and a bouncy castle. Suit up in your best greens and join all the madness at the party!
INFO: Dhs120, doors open 7pm, Thursday 15 March, www.timeouttickets.com, free entry, Friday 16 March and Saturday 17 March, buffet costs Dhs85 (adults), Dhs45 (kids), The Irish Village, Garhoud, 04 2824750, www.irishvillage.ae.
McGettigan’s Irish Pub
BEST FOR: THE PARTY PEEPS
McGettigan’s is hosting a three-day party that promises to be even more raucous than last year. The pub is flying in a band from West Ireland for Friday, and on Saturday there’ll be traditional Irish dancers plus a live concert from Irish music sensations Picture House and Paddy Casey (cue a squeal from our Irish intern Kerrie!).
Paddy played at the packed pub last St Patrick’s Day and returns for with his full band to play all his big hits, including Saints and Sinners and Addicted to Company. Prepare for a true dance work out!
The festivities wrap with a screening of the England vs Ireland Six Nations Rugby match. This could cause some awkwardness if Ireland lose...
INFO: Free entry, 12.30pm to 2am daily, Thursday 15 March to Saturday 17 March, Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers, 04 356 0560, www.mcgettigansdubai.com.
BEST FOR: FANCY DRESS
Dubbed the ‘Barasti St Patrick’s Shamrocking Weekend’, this celebration is bound to be a wild one. Crack out your fancy dress box and pull on those oversized hats for an Irish-themed shindig at the beach-side bar.
Expect a mix of traditional Irish festivities including line dancers and music from The Paddyman (Dubai’s own resident leprechaun), plus DJs Marty Metcalf, Venus, Rohan Nunze, Tom Ferguson, Vanilla and Dave Soto spinning tunes till the early hours.
In usual Barasti style, they will also show the England vs Ireland Six Nations Rugby match on a huge screen on the beach.
INFO: Free entry, 6pm to 2am, Friday 16 March, 2pm to 2am, Saturday 17 March, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi, 04 399 3333, email@example.com.
BEST FOR: FAMILIES
PJ O’Reilly’s have a whole weekend of Paddy’s Day shenanigans planned, starting with live music on Thursday evening, followed by a full-on family day with games and a brunch in the garden on Friday. The ‘All Access Brunch’ gives you free roam across three great restaurants – Amalfi, L’Opera and Soba – plus unlimited grape and grain.
Saturday brings the weekend to a close with a whole day of Irish music and dance, plus contests such as best dance performer and best Irish dress, where winners receive food and drink vouchers for Le Royal Méridien. There will also be a buffet serving pies, sandwiches and barbecued food, live music from resident band Dark White and DJ Chris, plus Aboud ‘the fiddler’ will play traditional Irish tunes.
Games (which aren’t just for the kids) include face painting, a bouncy castle, plus beer pong tables and a green beer station for the adults.
INFO: Dhs180 (adults), Dhs90 (kids), 2pm to 4pm, Friday brunch 16 March, Dhs75, all day, Saturday buffet 17 March, Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi, 02 674 2020, www.starwoodhotels.com.
BEST FOR: A DANCE
Music wise, it’s hard for bars to compete with Bob Geldof at The Irish Village, but they are trying! Blasta, a local folk band from Dublin, is flying over to play with The Dubliner’s resident Irish band Savage Craic. The bands will jam out a mix of Irish dance rhythms to make you jive, plus folk pieces and lively ballads.
The Dubliner’s will also be serving their usual variety of homecooked meals and have a huge stock of Guinness in for St Patrick’s Day weekend.
INFO: Free entry, 12pm to 2.45am (music from 9pm), Saturday 17 March, Le Méridien Dubai, 04 702 2508, www.lemeridien-dubai.com.
BEST FOR: IRISH PUB GRUB
For some real Irish tradition, head to Fibber Magee’s. The pub serves great beer together with good quality food and friendly Irish hospitality all year round. You also can catch the England vs Ireland rugby game.
INFO: Free entry, 12pm to 1am daily, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, 04 332 2400, www.fibbersdubai.com.
St Patrick’s Day Ball
BEST FOR: AN IRISH JIG
The Dubai Irish Society’s annual St Patrick’s Day Ball is back and bigger than ever! This year the bash is on 16 March at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, and will include a sumptuous dinner and three hours of free house bevvies.
Strap on those dancing shoes and prepare to jig until the early hours to music from a live band.
INFO: Dhs500, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com/pages/Dubai-Irish-Society for info on where to buy tickets; Safinah Ballroom, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, www.irishsocietydubai.com.
ICON Bar & Lounge
BEST FOR: CHILLING
Are three-day benders too much for you? Celebrate in a more chilled style at ICON. Indulge in great offers on Irish beer, cider and whiskey such as Guinness, Jameson and Magners Irish Cider for only Dh25, plus a special menu including themed dishes like Irish stew and a traditional ulster fry (similar to a fried English breakfast but with black pudding and soda bread).
INFO: Free entry, 12pm to 1am, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City, 04 366 9111, www.radissonblu.com.