The Paddy’s Day action in Dublin kicks off at noon when about half a million people crowd the city’s main streets to watch the St Patrick’s Festival parade go past. The mums and dads of Dublin come very well prepared with milk crates and even ladders to stand on to get a bird’s-eye view. A few people even perch themselves on top of traffic lights to see over the crowds.

It’s worth trying to score yourself a bit of space to see the riot of colour, outlandish costumes and props. Then, when the parade’s over, it’s time for a tipple or two, or three …

By the time we hit the pubs in the city centre they’re heaving with a sea of green T-shirts, flags and streamers. Crowds of partygoers form a circle to sing old Irish songs, while on stage Irish dancers go to town.

I soon figure out if I buy two, or even three drinks at a time, you can get more drunk with less queuing. I’m making up for lost drinking time, after all.

I come to the next morning with a leprechaun hat at the end of my hostel bed and green paint on my arms.

Yesterday was the mother of all drinking days in Ireland and the effects of multiple whiskey drinks have me jumping out of bed, and not in a good way.

Moral of the story – St Patrick’s Day is a massive piss-up and don’t let anyone tell you it’s not.

» Amelia Bentley travelled to Dublin with Paddywagon (+353-823 822; A six-day All Ireland plus London Invader is £269.

Survival Tips
The pubs are packed and the streets are a mass of people. Be prepared for a tight squeeze.

Comfy shoes
High heels and thongs (jandals, flip-flops, whatever you call them) aren’t going to go down well when you’re getting your feet stepped on a thousand times and you might have to walk for miles looking for a pub with standing room.

Be athletic
Get a backpack with one of those bladders inside that runners use. Fill it with your poison and sip away all day.

Bog roll
Drinking all day, you are going to have to pee at some point. There are some portable toilets around but you might find the loo roll is lacking. Bring your own and you’ll be glad you did.

Sense of humour
People pushing into you and the odd arse squeeze might get your goat but remember to relax and embrace the joy of the day. It wouldn’t be St Patrick’s Day without the crowds.