St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on 17th March every year and is a national holiday in Ireland. More than that, it is an occasion celebrated by Irish people all over the world. But for traditional Irish St. Patrick's Day festivities there's no place like Achill on the rugged west coast of Ireland.
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In many villages on Achill there is a tradition of pipe bands, and on St. Patrick's Day these colourful and compelling bands play a central role in celebrations. From a 6am reveille, the bands march for most of the day - surely one of the longest St Patrick's Day parades anywhere. For visitors, a thoroughly enjoyable day can be had following the Achill pipe bands, pausing for refreshments of course and taking time to enjoy the spectacular scenery of Achill Island. In the evening, traditional and modern entertainment is offered in many of the local hotels and pubs.
St. Patrick's Day Pipe Band Festival 2013 Times (approximate) and locations for the bands:
Dooagh, 8.30am Dooagh Pipe Band sets off for Pollagh
Pollagh Church, 9am Mass in Irish
Pollagh Church, 10am (approx.) Bands from Dooagh, Pollagh and Keel play outside the church before marching in formation to Keel
Keel Lake, 11.30 (approx) Dookinella band march to Dookinella crossroads
Dookinella crossroads, 11.50 (approx) Bands from Dookinella, Dooagh, Keel and Pollagh converge and march to church for 12 noon mass
Dookinella Church, 1pm (approx) All four bands play outside church
Dookinella crossroads, 1.30pm (approx) Bands from Dooagh, Keel and Pollagh set off back to Keel. Dookinella band remains.
Minaun Bar, Keel, 2pm Bands from Dooagh and Pollagh set off for Pollagh, Keel band remains.
Achill Head Hotel, Pollagh, 2.30 - 3pm Dooagh band continues towards Dooagh, Pollagh band remains before marching through Pollagh village.
Wave Crest Hotel, Dooagh, 3.30 - 4pm Dooagh band take break before continuing through Dooagh village
Gielty's, Dooagh, 6pm Dooagh band arrive and play in car park