While Ireland's feast day, St Patrick's Day, usually sees the country in full-on party mode, the global challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in the cancellation of its usual celebrations for the second year in a row. Here are some of the events you can enjoy virtually instead to toast the emerald isle, so don the green and enjoy.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors usually descend on the country to celebrate with locals at fun parades and dazzling events in cities and towns across the land. St Patrick's Festival's in-person events and flagship parade won't go ahead in Dublin this year, but the festival is taking place virtually instead via SPF TV, which is located on its website and is accessible globally.

The events have been created by artists and community organisations all across Ireland, and include the virtual parade. Irish president, Michael D. Higgins, will give a special address on St Patrick's Day morning. Later that day, music-lovers can enjoy a traditional music set entitled The Patrick’s Day Hug - Barróg Lá Fhéile Phádraig, which gathers the best of Irish traditional players and singers. They aim to offer a joyous and uplifting celebration of Ireland’s contemporary culture and traditional heritage.

There is a virtual tour of the Old Library at Trinity College, which is home to Ireland's most famous book, the Book of Kells. The beautiful library is home to 250,000 ancient Irish texts as well as the precious 9th century manuscript, which is a combination of ornate Latin text and intricate illuminations. Viewers can learn about how this famous medieval manuscript was made and discover the rich symbolism behind it.

One festival strand that should prove popular is Solas: Awakening Ireland, a nationwide series of illuminations, which will see many of Ireland’s most beautiful rural locations and urban landscapes immersed in light. These include the GPO and the Mansion House in Dublin, Trim Castle in Meath, Powerscourt Waterfall in Wicklow, Athenry Castle in Galway, Grianán of Aileach in Donegal and many more. These iconic locations and buildings will be illuminated with projections of reimagined, contemporary Irish imagery such as Ogham lettering, phrases and typography. The displays will be captured on film and set to a specially-commissioned spoken word performance and music composition, which calls on people to remain hopeful through these challenging times.

A virtual event called Guinness in the Liberties Walking Tour will take viewers on a story- and fact-packed virtual tour of Dublin's most famous Liberties area. It will hone in on the importance of community in the urban landscape by looking at and appreciating all things local, as well as understanding how to better manage the parallels between work and social life within the community.

Then there's The Hill of Uisneach Tour, where tour guide Marty Mulligan presents a tour of Ireland's Sacred Centre. Filmed this year on the Hill of Uisneach, which legend tells us was the Sacred Centre of Ireland, resting place of the Gods and seat of the High Kings, this film explores the ways that the kings and their tribes would celebrate the upcoming season.

In the Footsteps of St. Patrick will take viewers on a walk with well-known author and historian, Pat Liddy, around some of the most historic parts of the old city that have been enriched with reminders of St Patrick. They will also follow along the supposed tracks of pre-historic routes the saint is believed to have travelled on his missionary journey through this part of Ireland.

If you've always wanted to dance to Irish tunes but were unsure of the rhythms, now is your chance to learn. Leading dance artist, Emma O'Sullivan, will provide an insightful introduction into the world of traditional sean nós dance so that viewers can celebrate the culture and tradition of Connemara from anywhere in the world.

Food-lovers may enjoy A History of Irish Food with Tadgh Byrne, a five-part mini-series that centers around the Irish diet, with a focus on culinary history and food production. Tadgh will visit some iconic historic locations around Ireland, and chat with a range of guests from historians and food scientists to foragers, chefs and farmers while sampling plenty of delicious food along the way.

There are plenty more events from St Patrick’s Festival and they can be accessed on its website here or YouTube channel here.

This article was first published on 12 January and updated on 16 March 2021.

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Beautiful landmarks and sites around the world turned green for St Patrick's Day 2020
The alternative Irish bucket-list to challenge even the most well-travelled locals

This article was first published January 2021 and updated March 2021

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