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St Patrick's Day in London: 18 March 2012

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by Sandra Lawson (subscribe)
To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at and my theatre reviews at
We may talk about Irish logic, but the London St Patrick's Day Parade won't take place on Paddy's Day this year, which is 17 March. It will happen instead on the following day, 18 March. Anyway the Irish themselves rescheduled their national day by a few weeks in 2001 when the country was in the grip of Foot and Mouth Disease, so what difference does one day make? Nobody is even sure if St Patrick actually died on his saint's day, so the date chosen for the celebration is purely arbitrary.

St Patrick's Day 2012 in London
St Patrick

The London parade kicks off at midday on 18 March, its starting point being the aptly named Green Park. The colourful floats, representing the Irish Counties, will be accompanied by marching bands, as they weave their way along Piccadilly to Trafalgar Square. Once in the Square you will have a great opportunity to watch traditional and contemporary Irish dancing and listen to live music on the specially constructed stage. There will also be stalls offering you the chance to sample Irish food, buy crafts and learn about Irish culture. Although it could well take the entire procession a couple of hours to reach Trafalgar Square, once there the festivities will continue until 6pm.

St Patrick's Day 2012 in London
St Patrick's Day in London

So pluck yourself a shamrock, don something green and head down to Trafalgar Square for an afternoon of fun and enjoyment. If you want to continue to celebrate, there is no shortage of Irish pubs in London, so just keeping supping your Guinness, Murphy's or whatever poison you prefer and have a fantastic Paddy's Day. As they say in Ireland: 'May you be forty years in heaven before the devil knows you're dead.'

See also: Trafalgar Square.
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Why? To join in with the Irish community in celebrating their saint's day
When: Between 12.00 and 18.00
Where: Along Piccadilly and ending in Trafalgar Square
Cost: Free
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