Ireland isn’t the only place on the planet to get your Irish on this St. Patrick’s Day. While the day — March 17 — began as a feast day for the Irish Saint, it’s now evolved into a worldwide party for anyone with a drop of Irish blood, or anyone who’s ever tasted Irish cream liqueur. Where do you fit in?
8 Best Places To Get Your Irish On
New York City, New York, USA
New York City is the birthplace of modern-day St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and parades. The first gatherings started in the 18th century and were decidedly smaller and less rowdy than the huge party it’s become now. Today millions crowd the streets to watch the procession go by and millions more crowd pubs and basements wearing jaunty green hats and quaffing ale by the barrel.
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Parts of Boston are almost more Irish than Ireland, and Massachusetts has the highest concentration of Irish in the US. The South Boston parade is considered the second biggest in the country and combines honouring veterans with a celebration of Irish roots. Boston’s original celebration coincided with the anniversary of the day George Washington and his troops forced the British to end the occupation of the city, so there’s still a strong element of fierce independence with the party atmosphere.
Shamrock, Texas, USA
When you think Irish, you think of Texas, right? You don’t? Well, Shamrock, Texas would like to change that. This will mark the 69th year they celebrate the Green Isle with a parade, a Miss Irish Rose pageant, the Donegal beard-growing contest, and bull riding — it’s Ireland with a Texan twang.
Savannah, Georgia, USA
Coming up close behind Boston and New York as long-time celebrants of St. Patrick and his snakes and Celtic crosses and Irish coffee, is Savannah at 190 years and counting. The parade is on the traditional day, March 17, but celebrations begin the week preceding the parade with a ceremony honouring veterans, Irish dances, and the Greening of the Fountain. Thousands visit Savannah for this party.
Montréal, Québec, Canada
Every student in Canada learns that the early Irish immigrants fleeing the potato famine set down in Quebec, so it’s no surprise there are still many Irish surnames found dans la belle province. For those who can claim true Irish roots, St. Patrick’s Day is a way to reconnect with their heritage. For everyone else it’s an excuse for a raucous party, because very few people can party like francophones. Rain, sleet, or snow can’t stop this celebration.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Approximately 500,000 spectators come out to watch Toronto’s police force lead the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations every year, making the Toronto parade one of the largest in North America. And in case you’re worried about not being Irish enough to participate, a glance at the official FAQs of the parade assures us that all participants are welcome; on St. Patrick’s Day everyone is Irish
Buenos Aires, Argentina
For real! Buenos Aires has the fifth-largest population of people who identify as Irish, so it’s only natural they also host the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in South America. Aside from the parade, there’s live Celtic music, dancing, and a leprechaun costume contest.
Much of Sydney turns green for St. Patrick’s Day, including the famed Opera House. The organizers choose a theme every year and in 2015 it’s “Celebrating Life” and all things Irish and Irish Australian. The Sydney parade dates back more than 200 years, so by now they likely know what they’re doing when it comes to pre and post parade celebrations, too.
Now, come over here and kiss me. I’m Irish.
Image sources: SuedeDeutche, Smug Mug, Savannah Parade Committee, Wikimedia Commons.