Irish communities along the Costa del Sol, as in the rest of the world, are gearing up for the biggest party of the year. St Patrick's Day celebrations will be taking place in Benalmádena, Marbella and Mijas Costa next Thursday, when hundreds of gallons of Guinness will be consumed by Irish nationals (plus those who assume the identity for the day) clad in coloured wigs and floppy hats.
The Irish Association of Spain will host the main shindig in Plaza Mezquita (Benalmádena) after a two-year absence due to the pandemic, although the party in Plaza La Nogalera (Torremolinos) will not go ahead because of the construction work taking place on the town's train station.
This year's event in Benalmádena will begin with the habitual parade from the train station in Arroyo de la Miel to the main square, where live music, dancing and entertainment will take place throughout the day.
The party is organised in conjunction with Benalmádena town hall, Tourism Ireland, Dtodo Electrodomésticos, and Merviensur.com, a catering company that will provide traditional Irish food.
In order to show his support for the town's St Patrick's Day bash, Mayor of Benalmádena, Víctor Navas, recorded a special message on the town hall's Facebook page, in which he spoke of the "importance" of the local Irish community.
The Castillo El Bil Bil will be illuminated with green lighting especially for the occasion, he said.
Malaga will also light up the San Patricio Church with green lighting again this year as part of the global event in which dozens of monuments and emblematic sights are illuminated to commemorate the patron of Ireland.
Other events organised by the Irish Association are scheduled to take in The Claddagh Bar in Marbella, and in Biddy Mulligan's in La Cala de Mijas, although details of these events were not available at time of going to print.
For more information, see the Facebook page for the Irish Association of Spain
Celebrations will also be held in the Montemar district of Torremolinos, known among the locals as 'little Ireland', where most of the bars will offer traditional Irish cuisine, live music and dancing and the chance to enjoy the craic.