irish coast

The best value destinations for St Patrick’s Day

Dublin might be the first Irish city that comes to mind when you think of the St Patrick’s Day celebration, but it can mean an expensive trip.

A break on St Patrick’s Day weekend in Dublin will cost almost three times more than its cheaper counterpart – Derry-Londonderry. So why not try a different location? There’s plenty of choice across Ireland and Northern Ireland. St Patrick’s Day is a huge event in both countries, with festivities and parades in every town and city.

We’ve compared the cost of a St Patrick’s Day weekend celebration in 9 cities and compiled the list here for you to choose your favourite destination. These destinations are perfect for a weekend any time of year though so you may want to bookmark our guide and keep your FairFX Prepaid Mastercard® topped up (the Euro Card is the best solution for a trip to Ireland).

To compile our St Patrick’s Day destination barometer, we’ve compared the cost of a four-star hotel room for two people for two nights, dinner in a mid-range restaurant over both days, two beers per person each day, a bus tour and a sightseeing visit to a local castle.


FairFX’s best value St Patrick’s Day weekend break destinations:

Rank City/town Cost of activities and hotel What’s on for St Patrick’s Day
1 Derry-Londonderry £332 Parade in the city centre begins at 2pm. The LegenDerry Food Festival also kicks off on the 17th in the Guildhall Square and main hall.
2 Galway £372 A carnival atmosphere from 11.30am, when music and community groups make their way through the town.
3 Limerick City £375 An estimated 80,000 people will line the streets to watch the procession through Limerick city centre. Live music and stalls will entertain crowds at Limerick Milk Market.
4 Killarney £383 The festival in Killarney aims to bring everyone together to paint the town green with a parade of musicians, dancers and community groups.
5 Cork £411 Plenty of sights to choose from, including a parade, tasty treats at the pop up market and traditional Irish music at the Lee Sessions.
6 Waterford £414 Ireland’s oldest city has its own parade and there will be concerts and performances to check out across the weekend.
7 Belfast £422 The procession leaves City Hall at noon and there is a free concert at Custom House Square.
8 Wexford £424 The party atmosphere kicks off at 10.45am when the parade makes its way through the town.
9 Dublin £970 The capital’s parade will be filled with colour and music from around the world. Iconic city buildings will be bathed in green lights to mark the occasion.

The greatest differences in price were found in the cost of hotel rooms, which could result in much of the holiday budget being eaten up.
FairFX’s St Patrick’s Day hotel costs:

Total cost of trip rank City/town Hotel costs
1 Derry-Londonderry £192
3 Limerick City £220
2 Galway £226
5 Cork £232
4 Killarney £234
6 Waterford £235
8 Wexford £239
7 Belfast £291
9 Dublin £781

At the top of our list is Derry-Londonderry. This city is rich in history and has a buzzing social scene. They’ll be celebrating St Patrick’s Day with a parade, food festival and plenty of music and dancing. Derry-Londonderry is Northern Ireland’s second-largest city, meaning there’s plenty to see and do. Start with a walk around the city walls that encircle the city or wander along the recently redeveloped waterfront.

Limerick City, second on the list, where an estimated 80,000 people will take to the streets to celebrate, is sure to be worthwhile. Limerick City is a compact city with plenty to discover on foot, and was the country’s first-ever Irish City of Culture in 2014. Visit King John’s Castle for a fascinating insight into the history of Ireland.

Third on our list is Galway. Galway visitors will start the party early, when a procession full of street theatre and traditional music kicks off the day of festivities. There will be plenty of pubs with live music and people bursting out on to the city streets.

Couples heading to the Emerald Isle can make big savings by researching destination costs properly and planning ahead as much as possible. From comparing hotel costs across destinations to the cost of activities when you are there, this is the best way to make sure your trip doesn’t break the bank. Planning your currency in advance by using a prepaid card, topped up when rates are favourable, is the ultimate way of being smart with your money.

With our Euro Card you can lock in an exchange rate when the pound is having a good day. This means you’ll get more to spend on your travels and you’ll avoid being hit by a fall in the exchange rate when you are travelling.

Order a FairFX Euro Card

While the pound has struggled against popular currencies such as the euro and the US dollar since the Brexit referendum last summer, you can still get more for your travel money through smart destination planning. Discover the best value destinations for travelling to in 2017.

Miles Hobson

Miles Hobson

Miles oversees marketing communications at FairFX. He has a passion for travel and loves to explore new cities on foot to find their hidden gems.

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