St. Patrick’s Day festivities kick off this weekend, and I can’t wait! Mostly because, after spending last St. Patty’s in Dublin, I’m ready to show my fellow Seattleites how it’s done.
But if you’re thinking that Seattle isn’t a worthy place to celebrate, think again!
“We’re consistently ranked in the top 10 St. Patrick’s Day celebrations around the US,” says Mike McQuaid, board member of the Irish Heritage Club.
Last month Yahoo! ran a story rating Seattle right up there with Boston, New York and Chicago (and Savannah, Georgia?) as one of the top ten St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the country.
Regardless, here are a few tips for staying true to Dublin form that I compiled with the help of Carl Fitzpatrick, authentic Irishman and student at University College Dublin.
Go to the St. Patrick’s Day parade: The parade’s 4,000 marchers may seem modest to Dublin’s 8,000, but it is certainly still quite a site to see down Fourth Avenue. Take note: the parade is on Saturday this year, not the actual St. Patrick’s Day, which is Sunday.
Grab a pint: St. Patrick’s Day should be stereotypically booze-heavy, which it was from morning to night last year in Dublin (Carl was eager to confirm this). It’s a trend that Seattle will easily follow with plenty of Irish Pubs around.
Stick to your beer and whiskey: These are the staple for the holiday (and the other 364 days of the year), and it was the majority of what was being served in Dublin. Whether you prefer ales, stouts or lager, you won’t be short-handed with the Irish brews. If you’re looking for something stronger, Jameson and Bushmills have you covered. For those who would like to branch out, try Smithwick’s (red ale), Murphy’s (stout) or Harp (lager).
Deck yourself in green: Like wearing masks during carnival or beads for Mardi Gras, the holiday wouldn’t be the same without sporting green. Dublin festival-goers dress the part, creating a sea of green with hints of orange. The shade of the Irish flag is preferred, but emerald and kelly green will do. Grab shamrock glasses, a scarf, hat…whatever.
Go out to an Irish pub: Duh. There are plenty around town, like T.S. McHugh’s, which will serve Sunday breakfast at 9am and have music all day, to Mulleady’s Irish pub and Paddy Coyne’s. As long as there is whiskey and beer being served and a full bar of rowdy customers having a good time, you’ve got the true feeling of Dublin.
Don’t drink green beer: It was nowhere to be found in Dublin, and Irishman Carl says he’s never touched the stuff. With such easy access to that smooth, rich Guinness, why would you?
Never drink Guinness out of a can or bottle: Carl says only drink Guinness from the tap, and switch beers if you need a drink in a can.
Don’t pinch everyone not wearing green: That’s just rude, in both cultures.
Don’t limit yourself to Irish food: I ate Persian kebabs every day in Dublin, and they were damn tastier than anything else I had there. Stop by a food stand and grab a hot dog or burger. Carl says he always manages to eat at least one burger each St. Patty’s Day… “those are American, right?”
Don’t participate in the St. Patrick Day’s Dash: Leave it to Seattle to replace a holiday full of drinking with exercising at the crack of dawn. Okay, if you do insist on running on Sunday, at least be dressed as a leprechaun and make pit stops for pints!
So what if you fall prey to some non-authentic St. Patty’s behavior?
T.S. McHugh’s owner Don Tremblay says not to worry: “Nothing we do here is traditional. I think we’ve high-jacked the whole holiday and made it our own, which is great for us.”
Either way, it’s a day to celebrate Irish pride. And celebrate we will!