The very best St. Paddy’s celebration spot is quite possibly the place where you’re standing right now if the Celtic Tiger inside you refuses to be tamed, but it never hurts to be in a town that likes to go hardcore Gaelic on March 17th.
St. Paddy’s Day has a long and storied history that started way back in the 9th century as a feast day, but it didn’t really start gaining steam until the 1600s when the Catholic Church started promoting it.
Of course, the Church observes the day with a tone of mournful reverence as it commemorates the death of St. Patrick sometime in the 5th century, but there remains a large segment of the global population that courageously chooses to drown theirs sorrows in ale, laughter and music.
So, where do these partiers really paint the town green? Here we take a look at where you need to be if you’re a die-hard St. Paddy’s Day celebrant.
<strong>Chicago, Illinois (USA)</strong>
Chicago is a city with a strong and vibrant Irish community (go South Side!), but on St. Paddy’s Day weekend <em>everybody</em> in Chicago is Irish. Hundreds of bars open early on festival day to serve “kegs and eggs” to patrons well before the main events, which include a massive parade and the dyeing of the Chicago River to a shade just shy of neon green.
<strong>Downpatrick, County Down (Northern Ireland)</strong>
Party poopers in the U.S. are fond of saying “the Irish don’t even celebrate St. Paddy’s” in an attempt to downplay its significance, but they totally do. In Downpatrick, the alleged burial location of St. Patrick, they <em>party for an entire week</em>. There are parades, music, games, singing, drinking and everything else that helps define “the <em>craic</em>,” a word the U.S. desperately needs to adopt.
<strong>Montreal, Quebec (Canada)</strong>
<em>Qui sait</em>, eh? These folks actually have a shamrock on their flag, which is a bit of a giveaway, but on St. Patrick’s Day they really let the leprechaun out of the bag. Montreal has been celebrating this holiday since 1759, which kind of puts its southern superpower neighbor to shame. The United Irish Societies of Montreal have organized a parade <em>every year since 1824</em>, and this year will be no different.
<strong>Boston, Massachusetts (USA)</strong>
Not putting Boston on this list is an open invitation to fight every single Irishman in the city. Irish and proud, Bostonians don’t mess around when it comes to St. Paddy’s. Parades, pub crawls, green beer, cruises around Boston Harbor and celebrations of Irish film, music and culture are all part of the fun in Beantown.
<strong>Sydney, New South Wales (Australia) </strong>
Thanks to a robust British prisoner deportation program the Irish were among the first to settle New South Wales in the late 1700s. Later, many more Irish arrived and now the culture is a prominent part of the Australian melting pot, especially on St. Paddy’s Day. There are the usual trappings of celebration, but outwardly one of the most remarkable sights is the green illumination of the Sidney Opera House.
<a href="http://www.atgstores.com/" target="_blank">ATGStores.com</a> hopes you enjoy St. Patrick’s Day in whatever way suits your style and spirit. <em>Slainte!</em>