Although the historical accuracy of this can’t be proved (many believe the snakes to be a symbol of evil, as St Patrick set about banishing paganism from the island), it makes for a good story, something which Dublin knows well.
Plenty of writers have called the Irish capital home.
Walk in many of their footsteps at Ireland’s oldest university Trinity College, an architectural marvel in the city centre.
The university houses the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript dating back to 800AD.
Learn while you drink. It’s not often the two go together, but on the Literary Pub Crawl, guides will take you to the drinking holes of famous Irish writers such as James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and WB Yeats.
It has green
And it’s not just the clothing in the many souvenir shops in Grafton Street.
For a city proud of its Georgian architecture, Dublin has a surprising number of green spaces.
Wide open St Stephen’s Green has a gory history of hangings, but it’s now a sanctuary in the city centre, its statues reminders of Ireland’s turbulent past.
Another welcome reprieve from the crowds is the secluded Iveagh Gardens, complete with its own grotto, maze and rose garden.
Dublin’s Phoenix Park is Europe’s largest enclosed urban park (712 hectares) where you’ll not only find joggers, prams and pensioners, but horses (on its polo fields) and deer (in its forests).
It has plenty of booze
And what would a celebration be without a drink or two?
Apart from U2, Ireland’s most famous export is, of course, Guinness.
And there’s no better place to order a pint of the black stuff than at its home — the Guinness Brewery and Storehouse.
Find out how the drink is made, and admire the 360˚ view of the city from the Gravity Bar. But it’s not just Guinness that calls Dublin home.
Take a tour of the Old Jameson Distillery, with the promise of a free glass of whiskey at the end of your visit.
The making of a good drink in Dublin doesn’t stop there. Plenty of pubs in the city have their own micro-breweries.
Most notable is The Porterhouse in Temple Bar, which offers award-winning home-brewed beer.
It has music
Dublin has plenty of bars and pubs trying to sell tourists ‘traditional Irish music’ — often just one ginger-bearded gent and his pre-recorded set.
If you are after the real thing, The Cobblestone hosts quality live acts, or try Hughes’ Bar — a local favourite so arrive early if you want a seat.
Live music venue and pub Whelan’s nurtures not only Irish talent, but plays host to international stars (Nick Cave, Liam Finn and the Arctic Monkeys have all played there).
Most importantly St Paddy’s Day is about fun, or as the Irish say ‘craic’.
And Dublin has plenty of places to have a good time.
The nightlife hub is the Temple Bar district.
It’s a favourite with stag and hen parties — great if you want to pull and have a laugh, but it can seem tacky and the clubs don’t hold back on charging for drinks and DJs.
For more traditional boozers try The Long Hall, an elegant old bar on South Great George’s Street, Mulligan’s on Poolbeg Street or the Stag’s Head near Trinity College, which overflows with students and locals at weekends.
And if you’re after an authentic Irish experience, the Cultúrlann na hÉireann (Irish Cultural Institute) in the suburb of Monkstown holds a regular music session every Tuesday night — guaranteed to get your feet tapping and your fingers drumming.
The biggest street party in Ireland
This year the St Patrick’s Festival in Dublin begins on March 12, and finishes with a parade on St Paddy’s Day itself, March 17.
The action starts at noon from Parnell Square and ends at St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Expect marching bands, floats, theatrical performances … and loads of people (more than 500,000 spectators are expected to flood the Irish capital ).