Or sign in with your account on:

Not a member yet? Register

What can I expect on St. Patrick's Day in the UK?

Friday, 10 February 2017
Saint Patrick's day in the UK Saint Patrick's day in the UK This image by picography.co is licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license

St. Patrick's Day fun fills London around 17th March each year for a spectacular festival and parade.  Intermediate reading comprehension exercise with questions and answers.

(Page 1 of 2) « Prev All Pages Next »

Reading comprehension - Intermediate level

On 17th March each year Ireland celebrates one of its patron saints, St. Patrick, with a national holiday and a traditional feast.  (This day marks the traditional death date of St. Patrick and also the arrival of Christianity in Ireland in the fifth century.) 

Although St. Patrick's day is not a public holiday in the rest of the UK, London holds many fun and spectacular events every year to mark the day, usually on the weekend closest to the 17th March. In the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in London, you can see an amazing procession of colourful, decorated vehicles (called 'floats'), Irish dancing schools, marching bands and characters in traditional costumes, usually in the colour green. Celebrating everything Irish, the parade makes its way down Piccadilly in the centre of the capital on  a 1.5 mile (2.4 km) route. On the way to Whitehall, it passes some of London's most well-known sights, including the Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. At the Trafalgar Square St. Patrick's Day Festival you can watch St. Patrick's Day performances, take part in cultural events and enjoy special children's activities for free. Try tasting traditional and modern Irish food from the market as you enjoy comedy, Irish music and lively dancing at ceilidhs (traditional formation dances) where you can watch and learn!

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated across the capital with parties in many of London's Irish pubs and bars. You can expect green decor, traditional Irish drinks like Guinness (a dark beer with an individual taste) and some special menus including Irish black pudding (a type of sausage), Irish fried chicken sandwiches and Irish beef burgers! There are also walking tours, art exhibitions, comedians, a children's treasure trail and some of the best Irish films and animations. All of this contributes to the famous 'craic'  (pronounced like 'crack') which is the Irish word for atmosphere and fun.

The popularity of St. Patrick's Day seems to increase each year and most UK cities will usually be holding special celebrations.  If you are going to be in the UK in mid March, make sure you consult your local Tourist Information Centre or 'What's On' publications and blogs. Perhaps pack a green T shirt  and hat in your suitcase. Or maybe  be ready to paint your face with a beautiful green shamrock - the lucky four-leaf clover which is the traditional symbol of St. Patrick.

Comprehension questions:

1. Why is St. Patrick's Day held on 17th March?

2. Name 3 London landmarks you will pass if you follow the annual St. Patrick's Day parade in London to its end in Whitehall.

3. What can you see in the St. Patrick's Parade in London?

4. What is the Irish word for 'atmosphere' used to describe the fun and how do you say it?

(Page 1 of 2)
« Prev All Pages Next » (Page 1 of 2)
Rate this item
(3 votes)
published in Graded Reading 2017
Read 11710 times
Last modified on Wednesday, 14 February 2018 11:47

Free English lessons in your inbox

Subscribe to our Newsletter and receive free grammar lessons and exercises, graded readers with comprehension questions, and tips on how to improve your English. And stay updated on the WeLoveTeachingEnglish services.