The Irish and their far-flung diaspora take St Patrick’s Day most seriously with countless million pints of ‘the black stuff’ consumed every year and parades breaking out in hundreds of villages, towns and cities worldwide.
So is this a good moment to reveal that St Patrick was actually British, liked to wear blue and was called Maewyn? Never mind, let’s move on.
17th March is a national holiday in Ireland and thankfully, since 1970, drinking is permitted! Can you imagine? Incidentally the shortest St Patrick’s Day Parade takes place in Dripsey, County Cork on a 100 yard stretch between the two village pubs. In Dublin, the St Patrick’s Day Festival is a tad more ambitious, stretching over four days and celebrating all aspects of Irish art, culture and life alongside the usual shamrock shenanigans.
If you’re not in the motherland fear not, every green-tinged corner of the world will be joining the craic, not least in the US, where they have five times more Irish than Ireland. With close to half a million resident in the Big Apple alone, a trip over the pond is a great bet for those with deeper pockets (and any ‘plastic paddies’ who need a safe space for their plum RP accents!). In New York, you’re guaranteed one helluva celebration, including a spectacular Parade down 5th Avenue with bar stops along the way (although having to put your bottle of Guinness into a brown paper bag…really?)
As you might imagine, London is up there when celebrating all things Gaelic. Apart from the countless pubs going green citywide, there’s a handsome parade from Piccadilly on Sunday 19th, resplendent with Emerald Isle floats, Irish dancing, food tents and a great line up of Irish bands waiting on Trafalgar Square to play an impromptu gig. Come join the Ceilidh!