Best Places to Celebrate St Patrick’s Day

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Whether you’re Irish or Irish at heart, St Patrick’s Day is an international festival, bringing everyone together with a whole lot of drinking, dancing and green outfits!

St Patrick’s Day or St Paddy’s Day as it’s more colloquially known, is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on March 17. Traditionally, St Patrick’s Day marks a celebration of the life of St Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint who brought Christianity to the Emerald Isle – but in more recent years, it’s become famed for drinking, parades, merriment… and a whole lot of Guinness. While 5.5 million pints of Guinness are consumed daily around the world, on St Patrick’s Day that number rises to 13 million pints, that’s a whole lotta drinkin! This year St Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday, so grab something green and get ready to take part in one of the most exciting world celebrations. But where in the world celebrates St Patrick’s Day in style? Let’s take a look…

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Dublin – something for everyone

Dublin is Ireland’s largest city, famed for their iconic St Patrick’s Day celebrations! Although most cities in Ireland put on raucous celebrations on 17 March, Dublin is fun for all, offering alternative ways to celebrate with the family, as opposed to with beer.  Celebrations kick off with the main parade, which stretches over 2.5km from Parnell Square to St Patrick’s Cathedral, featuring; bands, fancy dress, performers and giant puppets, ideal for entertaining the kids. When you’re in the mood to drink, head over to the Temple Bar area where you’ll be spoilt for choice in terms of drink deals, music, events and Guinness hats. If you get the chance, visit the Guinness brewery close by for a spot of tasting. St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Dublin span over four days from March 14 to 18 –  guaranteed to be big, loud and most importantly, fun!
 
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Downpatrick, County Down – for those who love history

Downpatrick, County Down is one of Ireland’s most ancient and historic towns and plays a key part in the history of St Patrick. This is the place where St Patrick is rumoured to be buried, a slice of information that the people of Downpatrick are proud of and keen to share. Located in Northern Ireland, just southeast of Belfast, Downpatrick holds the biggest St Patrick’s Day celebrations outside of Dublin. The traditional Cross-Community Carnival Parade is at the heart of the celebrations, giving everyone an excuse to take to the streets for some light-hearted festive fun. If you want to immerse yourself in history and celebrations, the best way to get to Downpatrick is to fly to Belfast with Easyjet. From there, it’s a 40-minute drive down the A7 motorway.

 
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Cork – for those looking to drink

Cork is Ireland’s second largest city and ‘other capital city’ according to many who hail from the county – but when it comes to St Patrick’s Day, the rivalry between Dublin and Cork can be intense. Celebrations in Cork are boisterous with people filling the pubs to grab a pint of Guinness; however, Cork’s claim to fame when it comes to St Patrick’s Day celebrations is that it holds the title for the shortest St Patrick’s Day parade in the world: This takes place in Dripsey, Cork, where the parade lasts just 100 yards and travels between the village’s two pubs. Dripsey is only a half-hour drive from Cork city centre so it might be worth heading there. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, the city has its own parade that runs from the South Mall to the Grand Parade, along St. Patrick’s Street, finishing at Merchant’s Quay. It also holds a festival that incorporates a food and crafts market, music, street performers and children’s workshops, ideal for all the family.

Other world cities that celebrate St Patrick’s Day
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New York, USA

New York hosts the biggest St Patrick’s Day Celebration in the world, thanks to their massive Irish heritage. In the state of New York, there are seven times as many irish Americans as there are Irish people living in Ireland! Each year, the huge parade attracts two million spectators since it first began in 1762. The parade route goes up Fifth Avenue beginning at East 44th Street and ending at East 79th Street, starting at 11 am precisely each year.

 
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Chicago, USA

Chicago hosts one of the most iconic St Patrick’s Day celebrations – each year, the Chicago River is dyed green to celebrate on March 17. This has been a tradition since 1962, and the dye isn’t harmful to the environment! Each year, 400,000 spectators gather to see the river turn green, while a parade always takes place on the Saturday closest to the day. Similar to the celebrations held in Chicago, the fountain on the south lawn of the White House in Washington DC has been dyed green on St Patrick’s Day during the time Barack Obama served as President.

 
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London

Since growing into a multi-cultural festival, London has began a tradition of parades to celebrate the city’s deep Irish roots. More than 150,000 people turn out for the event, which sees energetic and vibrant displays being performed on Trafalgar Square.

Buy your St Patricks Day Flags at The Flag Shop – Click here to see our great range of St Patricks Day flags.

Six Nations Rugby 2017

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The annual Six Nations Rugby championship is one of the most illustrious tournaments on the rugby calendar. Each year, the national teams of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy battle it out to be crowned kings of the nations. Close neighbours will battle for victory, with Scotland and Ireland kicking off the Six Nations 2017 tournament on Saturday 4th February in Edinburgh. Later the same day will see Le Crunch when England meet France at Twickenham.
The Six Nations tournament started life as the Home Nations Championship (1883–1909 and 1932–39), which was contested by England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales who were later joined by France in the Five Nations and then Italy to complete the line-up for today’s competition.

SIX NATIONS 2017 FIXTURES

Round 1
04/02/2017 14.25 Scotland v Ireland
Edinburgh
04/02/2017 16.50 England v France
London
05/02/2017 14.00 Italy v Wales
Rome

 

Round 2
11/02/2017 14.25 Italy v Ireland
Rome
11/02/2017 16.50 Wales v England
Cardiff
12/02/2017 15.00 France v Scotland
Paris

 

Round 3
25/02/2017 14.25 Scotland v Wales
Edinburgh
25/02/2017 16.50 Ireland v France
Dublin
26/02/2017 15.00 England v Italy
London

 

Round 4
10/03/2017 20.05 Wales v Ireland
Cardiff
11/03/2017 13.30 Italy v France
Rome
11/03/2017 16.00 England v Scotland
London

 

Round 5
18/03/2017 12.30 Scotland v Italy
Edinburgh
18/03/2017 14045 France v Wales
Paris
18/03/2017 17.00 Ireland v England
Dublin

Venezuela Flag Facts

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The current flag of Venezuela was adopted on 12th March 2006. The flag consists of a horizontal tricolour of yellow, blue and red. Across the blue band is an arch of eight white stars. The inclusion of the National Coat of Arms in the top left corner is optional.

The use of a tri-colour of yellow, blue and red dates back to 1811. The flag was designed by Francisco de Miranda (a military leader and Venezuelan revolutionary) – the background of the flag was exactly the same as the Colombian flag with the addition of an Indian female holding a lance with Phrygian cap sitting on mound whilst admiring a resplendent sunset. This original design was hoisted for the first time on March 12th, 1806 at Jacmel, Haiti as Miranda’s expedition set sail on the final leg of its voyage to Venezuela in an attempt to liberate the country (unsuccessfully). The flag was first flown over Venezuelan soil at La Vela de Coro, on August 3rd. Until August 3rd, 2006, Flag Day was celebrated in Venezuela on March 12th – since 2006 the date has changed to August 3rd. The flag was later adopted by  the National Congress of 1811.

In 1813, after a civil war where the Royalists were defeated, a second republic was formed and a new flag adopted. The flag composed of a black square over a white diamond shape on a red flag. The flag only lasted until 1814 when the republic ended.

Since 1817, Venezuela has always used the yellow, blue and red horizontal tri-colour with various additions including numerous coats of arms, shields and stars.

In 1930 a design was adopted which incorporated the familiar tri-colour with seven stars in an arch representing the provinces of Venezuela (Caracas, Cumana, Barcelona, Barinas, Margarita, Merida and Trujillo). An eighth star was added in 2003 to represent the province of Guayana.

The colours of the Venezuela flag are said to be representative as follows – traditionally yellow symbolises the wealth of the land, blue stands for the seas around Venezuela and the rivers that run through it and red represents the courage and blood spilt by the Venezuelan people for their independence from Spain.

For more info on historical flags of Venezuela click here.

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Vietnam Flag Facts

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The flag of Vietnam consists of a yellow star on a red background. Red is the colour often associated with the international communist movement. The Vietnam flag uses red to symbolise its social revolution and the blood lost in achieving this. The star represents the five classes of society in Vietnam – intellectuals, farmers, workers, businessmen and military.

Prior to the WWII, Vietnam had been under French rule. The Vietnam flag was first used in November 1940 at an uprising in southern Vietnam against French rule. In 1941, the flag was used by the Viet-Minh (a communist led organisation in Vietnam) to protest against Japanese occupation.

At the end of WWII, the Viet-Minh leader, Ho Chi Minh, proclaimed Vietnam independent from French rule and on 5th September 1945 signed a decree adopting the flag as the flag of North Vietnam. The flag was slightly modified in 1955 (the edges of the star were made sharper) and is still used today.

South Vietnam (also known as the Republic of Vietnam) was recognised internationally as a country in 1949 after anti-communist politicians formed a rival government to Ho Chi Minh. South Vietnam adopted its own flag consisting of a yellow background and three red horizontal stripes. The red symbolising the peoples blood running through the whole country. The flag was used by South Vietnam until 1975 after the fall of its capital Saigon and Vietnam became a unified communist country. This yellow flag is still used today by Vietnam immigrants, most of whom fled in the late 1970s and 1980s to escape the communist regime.

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Australia Flag Facts

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One of the most recognisable national flags has to be the iconic Australian flag which displays the Union Jack along with the Commonwealth Star and the Southern Cross on a blue field. So, when was the Union Jack first seen on Australian soil?

Lieutenant James Cook (a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy) landed at Botany Bay on the 29th April 1770 and used the flag to represent the British Empire (this was the first Union Jack introduced in 1606 which did not include the cross of St Patrick), and was again used during the European settlement of the country on the 26th January 1788. There were six British colonies and each had its own flag based on the Union flag.
The first flag to use the Southern Cross (seen on today’s Australia flag) was the Australasian Anti-Transportation League flag – designed by Reverend John West in 1849. Australasian Anti-Transportation League opposed penal transportation (British sending convicts to Australia).
Once the Europeans became more settled in the country during the 19th century two attempts were made to introduce an original national flag. The first attempt was named the National Colonial Flag created in 1823–1824 by Captains John Nicholson and John Bingle. The flag was very similar to the current white ensign of the Royal Navy, with the addition of four eight pointed stars on each limb of the red cross. A more popular national flag of the period was the 1831 Australian Federation Flag, also designed by Nicholson. This flag was very similar the Colonial flag with one difference – the red cross was changed to blue. The flag became more popular during the second half of the 19th century when the calls for a federation were growing stronger.
As the Federation of Australia approached (the joining of the six British colonies to form the Commonwealth of Australia) a joint competition run by the new Commonwealth Government and the Melbourne Herald was held for the public to design a new flag of Australia. There was a whopping 32,823 entries, with five very similar entries declared as the winners. The differences to the current flag were the six-pointed Commonwealth Star, while the components stars in the Southern Cross had different numbers of points, with more if the real star was brighter. This led to five stars of nine, eight, seven, six and five points respectively. In 1903 the flag went through a slight change when all the stars of the Southern Cross bar the smallest were changed to seven-pointed. The flag is infamous for being approved by King Edward VII.
The final change to the flag saw the Commonwealth Star changing to a seven-pointed version on the 23rd February 1908.The seven points represent the six colonies plus an extra point to represent the colonies collectively.
The use of the Southern Cross constellation depicts Australia’s geographical position.

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Armenia Flag Facts

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In Ancient times, the Armenian’s would enter battle displaying carvings such as dragons, lions or eagles mounted on poles. With the introduction of Christianity, the Armenian’s adopted a number of different flags which represented the various dynasties – the flags again incorporated images such as eagles and lions.
In the 19th century, Armenia was split between the Persian and the Ottoman Empires, which marked a period where the country did not have a recognised flag.
In 1885, the Armenian Students Association of Paris requested a flag be designed by Catholic priest Father Ghevont Alishan. He designed two flags, but one was deemed too similar to the Bulgarian flag (same colours upside down). The second flag designed at the end of the 19th century was similar to the French tri-colour but with colours red, green and blue – the flag is known as the ‘Nationalist Armenian Flag’. The colours were said to represent the rainbow that Noah saw after landing on Mount Ararat.
During the 20th century, the flag of Armenia saw a number of changes as the country was annexed by the Russian Empire before gaining independence and becoming part of the Soviet Union, and finally became an independent country adopting the flag we see today.
The current flag of Armenia is a resplendent red, blue and yellow vertical tri-colour, with the definition of the colours explained in the Armenian constitution as follows, “The red emblematises the Armenian Highland, the Armenian people’s continued struggle for survival, maintenance of the Christian faith, Armenia’s independence and freedom. The blue emblematises the will of the people of Armenia to live beneath peaceful skies. The orange emblematises the creative talent and hard-working nature of the people of Armenia”.

More Armenia flag info can be found here

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Yemen Flag Facts

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On 22nd May 1990, Yemen (Republic of Yemen) became one country after the unification of North Yemen and South Yemen.
The Flag of Yemen was adopted on 22nd May 1990. The flag is the same as the Arab Liberation Flag of 1952. This flag was the inspiration for the flags of North and South Yemen prior to unification. The design of the Yemen flag is a horizontal tricolour of red, white and black. These colours are the Pan-Arab colours along with green.
The red represents the bloodshed lost in the country’s struggle for independence, white symbolises hope for the future, and black stands for the country’s dark days of the past.
North Yemen was an independent state from 1918 to 1962 and was known as the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen. The flag used changed three times during this period but was always a red background. From 1918 to 1923 it was a plain red flag, from 1923 -1927 it was a red background with Arabic wording and from 1927-1962 it used the red background with a white Arabian sword and 5 stars on it. From 1962 to 1990 North Yemen (now also known as Yemen Arab Republic) created another new flag. This flag had the red, white and black triband with a green star on the white band – green being the other Pan-Arab colour and also the colour of Islam.
South Yemen (also known as The People’s Democratic Republic) was a socialist state and a satellite state of the Soviet Union. Its flag, until unification with North Yemen in 1990, was a red, white and black triband but with a sky-blue triangle on the left side with an angled red star inside; the red star symbolising socialism.
For more info about historical Yemen flags click here.

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Argentina Flag Facts

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The flag of Argentina was first used by Manuel Belgrano (an Argentine economist, lawyer, politician and military leader) with the original design based on the Cockade of Argentina which Belgrano had created during the Argentine War of Independence after noticing both the royalist and patriotic forces were using the same colours – Spain’s yellow and red. The flag used the same blue and white colours seen on the current Argentina flag but with a different layout – 3 equally spaced vertical stripes of white, blue and white. Belgrado sent a letter to the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata (modern-day Argentina) body of government (the First Triumvirate) informing of them of the new flag, which was promptly rejected; policy at the time was to state that the government was ruling on behalf of King Ferdinand VII of Spain who was captive of Napoleon, whereas the creation of a flag was a clear act of independence. However, by the time the reply was received, Belgrado had moved on, and on August 23, 1812 he had reached Buenos Aires where the flag was flown atop the Church of Saint Nicholas of Bari. Still not knowing about the Triumvirate’s refusal, Belgrano raised the flag at San Salvador de Jujuy and had it blessed by the local church on the second anniversary of the May Revolution. When order arrived at Salta, Belgrado swiftly accepted it and stopped using the flag.
The current governing body was eventually replaced by the Second Triumvirate who agreed the flag could be used as a war flag, with its first outing at the Battle of Salta which saw the Army of the North led by Belgrado defeat the Royalist troops led by Pío de Tristán.
The flag was finally declared as the national flag by by the Congress of Tucumánin 1816 with the design now being the more familiar vertical tri-colour of blue, white, blue.
In 1818 the Sun of May (May referring to the May Revolution which took place in the week from 18th to 25th May 1810, which marked the beginning of the independence from the Spanish Empire) was added to the war flag, and it was soon decided to also use it in the national flag. Over the years the flag has stayed almost the same, with a few minor alterations – for more info click here.

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Zambia Flag Facts

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Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia) gained independence from the United Kingdom on 24th October 1964. It is a landlocked country in Southern Africa and its capital is Lusaka.
The flag of Zambia was adopted on 24th October 1964. The flag is used both as the national flag and ensign (ensign is a flag flown on a vessel to indicate its nationality). The Zambia flag has a green background with an orange-coloured African fish eagle (national bird of Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Sudan) in flight above a rectangular block of three vertical stripes. The stripes are red, black and orange. The green represents the lush vegetation and landscape of Zambia, red symbolises the country’s struggle for freedom, black for the Zambian people and orange represents the country’s mineral wealth – mainly copper. The placing of the African fish eagle above the vertical block of colours was intended to demonstrate the people’s ability to rise above the country’s problems.
In 1966, the flag of Zambia was modified slightly with the green changing to a lighter shade and the eagle altered to be more like the one used in Zambia’s coat of arms.
From 1924 to 1964 Zambia was known as Northern Rhodesia and the flag consisted of a blue ensign with the Union Jack in the canton, with a fish eagle holding a fish in its claws along with six wavy lines symbolising the rivers of Northern Rhodesia rushing over Victoria Falls (a waterfall on the Zambezi river named after Queen Victoria by the explorer and missionary David Livingstone). In 1953, Northern Rhodesia joined with Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland (now Malawi) to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. This flag was used until 31st December 1963 when the federation was dissolved. The flag consisted of a blue ensign with the union jack in the canton. A rising sun, taken from the Arms of Nyasaland, a lion rampant from the flag of Southern Rhodesia and black and white wavy lines from the Arms of Northern Rhodesia were depicted on the shield shown on the flag.

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Antigua and Barbuda Flag Facts

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Antigua and Barbuda was ruled by the British from around 1632 until 1871 when they joined the British colony – the Federal Colony of the Leeward Islands (other countries in the colony were Montserrat, Saint Christopher, Nevis, Virgin Islands and Dominica). The flag used at this time was a blue ensign comprising of a Union Jack in the top left and the badge of the Leeward Islands in the body. In 1958 the colony broke up with all Islands joining the West Indies Federation. At this point Antigua and Barbuda adopted a different flag – still a blue ensign but with an Antigua and Barbuda badge in the body.
The current flag of Antigua and Barbuda was designed by acclaimed artist and sculptor Sir Reginald Samuel – the winner of a competition entered by over 600 local people. The design was officially adopted on February 27th 1967. The flag compromises of an inverted triangle with red on its outer side and a tri-colour of black, white and blue on the inside along with a half sun representation. The half sun represents the dawning of a new era, with black representing the African ancestral history with blue representing hope. The blue, white and yellow are also said to represent the sun, sea and sand synonymous with Antigua and Barbuda. Red represents how the inhabitants are full of energy and life, with the large ‘v’ standing for victory.

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