Fireworks and street theatre provide the perfect start to festival week
In Limerick tonight the annual National Lottery Skyfest lights up the city. King John's Castle provides the backdrop to this year's display of explosive effects over the river Shannon.
The event begins at 6.30pm and viewing areas for people with a disability are located at St Munchin's Church and adjacent to the Court House at City Hall.
Earlier in the day in Dublin, the St Patrick's Festival Treasure Hunt offers a way for
all the family to get out and explore the capital city.
With plenty of prizes on offer for the fastest, cleverest and best dressed teams the hunt begins at City Hall at 10am.
From noon tomorrow, Merrion Square in Dublin will turn into a giant playground for children and adults alike with street theatre, music and a "flash tea party" serving free tea and cakes in front of unsuspecting guests. You can also pick your song on the "Human Jukebox" or go to the flicks at the solar-powered "Sol Cinema".
The "Big Day Out" is described as a festival within a festival and features performers from Belgium, Britain, France, Spain and home.
In Cork, the Barry's Tea Food Market takes place on the Grand Parade and boardwalk on the South Mall this weekend from 10am to 6pm and will feature up to 40 stalls of locally produced food and craft.
Participants include the Cork cup cake company cupcake.ie, an artisan gourmet pizza company Volcano's Pizza and hand-crafted natural cosmetics from the Naked Soap Company.
There is also a programme of street performers which is sure to delight kids and families such as the Clucking Fantastic Crowd Control Chickens and Chapeau Magique, a magician from France, with his spectacular folding paper workshops which generate hundreds of large-scale paper hats.
There will be a combination of outdoor musical performances on the main stage adjacent to Nano Nagle Bridge as well as acoustic performances throughout the market. These include The Roaring Forties, a jump jive swing band, The Red Herrings an American blues band as well as popular Irish Traditional bands such as The Ceili All Stars.
More information on the St Patrick's Festival is available by logging on to stpatricksfestival.ie
Fans of Irish rugby will celebrate fireworks of another kind as Brian O'Driscoll joins the ranks with John Hayes in becoming a centurion when he lines up against the Welsh in Croke Park at 2.30pm today.
The Grand Slam may be a distant memory after the French once again broke Irish hearts in Paris, but the team's win against England last week means the Triple Crown is still on.
Wales travel to Jones Road on the back of some disappointing displays but they will provide a dangerous test for Declan Kidney's men as they seek to spoil the St Patrick's party.
Ahead of the exodus to Cheltenham next week, racing this weekend takes place at Limerick and Navan. Weather for the weekend is looking good with Met Éireann forecasting dry and bright days with top temperatures of 9-12 degrees.