St Patrick's Day is the annual celebration of Ireland's patron saint. London's St Patrick's Day Festival attracts over 125,000 people to its variety of events. Even if you've never even tried Guinness, you're still welcome to the party. Here's what London has planned between Friday 16 and Sunday 18 March 2018.
At the heart of the weekend's celebrations is the big parade. On Sunday at midday, it parties its from from Piccadilly to Trafalgar Square, culminating with performances on the big stage.
There's music, dance and speeches. Keep an eye out for tributes to Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries. Pro-tip, memorise the lyrics to Zombie now.
Just off the square on Pall Mall, is the festival's family zone. Ireland has a wealth of folk tales that are ripe for children to explore, so this is perfect for littl'uns who like things on the fantastical side. Or kids who like magic. Or perhaps your child is more of a balloon modelling type. Yes, they've got all that and more.
London also celebrates Irish cinema over the weekend, with the 2018 edition of the Irish Film Festival. There are hosts of short film screenings at London Film School, and feature length movies on at cinephile mecca The Prince Charles Cinema. One of which is the UK premier of raucous comedy Damo and Ivor, followed by a Q&A with the movie's director and star.
Tour guide Tony O'Donnell has three tours exploring London's Irish history over the weekend. On Friday he explores the ramifications of the 1916 Rebellion in London. Then on Saturday he tackles Camden Town, once the Irish heart of London. Finally, on Sunday, he runs an Emerald City tour — running from Ludgate Hill to Covent Garden he describes this tour as "a fierce craic!"
They're all free, but advanced booking is required: call 0785 018 4790.
Irish music trail
For the second year in a row, Camden Market plays host to an Irish music trail. Except this time, all performers are female. Performances take place across the market, outside, in stalls, shops and restaurants — so just go for a wander and you're sure to stumble upon something to your liking.
There's also set to be performances at select central London tube stations on Saturday. We can already hear the dulcet tones of Danny Boy...
Borough by borough
Every single one of London's 33 boroughs has some event or other tying in to St Patrick's Day. There's open-air Irish dance performances in Enfield and children's arts and crafts classes in Haringey. Check with your local borough for more events.
If you're busy all weekend (my, aren't you popular) but still want to get your fix of Irish culture, allow us to suggest the exhibitions at City Hall.
One showcases the work of Irish artist Pauline Bewick. She's travelled the world, painting and drawing everything she sees, always approaching things from an Irish perspective. What exactly does that mean? You'll have to go to exhibition to find out.
The second challenges the traditional ginger-haired, pale faced preconception many people have about Irish people. #IAmIrish, is a photography exhibition celebrating mixed race Irish people, and explores what Irish-ness is. It runs from 14 March-13 April.
Get in-depth details of all the official events — yes, there are even more — happening over the weekend here. Keep an eye on our Things To Do section for some of the hundreds of unofficial events London also plays host to.