Growing up on a Caribbean island I had no clue about Saint Patrick much less St Patrick’s Day. That all changed when I moved to university in Boston a long time ago. Green is my favourite colour afterall so this had to be my holiday!
I’ve never been a big beer drinker either. But over the years St Patrick’s Day is probably the only time of year I enjoy a few pints of beer, must be my luck of the Irish if I ever had any or maybe it’s excitement over “green” beer. But the Trini in me loves a good “lime” and the Irish does it well on St Patrick’s Day so I fit right in.
Over the years I’ve also managed to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in various cities on a few different continents too – from Melbourne to Singapore to Paris, London, Dublin, cities in the US and heck St Patrick’s Day celebrations now happen in my Trinidad…albeit on a much smaller scale at the one Irish pub on the island – J. Malones.
So after many years on the road I have my favourite cities for this go green celebration. Here are mines, do you have a favourite city for celebrating?
Well this is a no brainer, it is afterall in Ireland and they openly welcome the world to celebrate St Patrick’s Day with them. The famous cultural capital Temple Bar area, on the south bank of the River Liffey in central Dublin, changes into a sea of green as the pubs become crowded with partygoers. You have to love crowds to be part of this celebration but nothing a drink or two won’t cure right?
The St Patrick’s Day parade may be biggest in New York City and my heart will always have a special love for Boston where it is celebrated with great pomp but Chicago wins for me. I’ve always had a deep desire to visit Chicago during March for the celebrations mainly to see the traditional dyeing of the river in a green colour when 45 pounds of eco-friendly dye is poured into the Chicago River. I mean how cool is that? And Chitown really gets into the festivities, I was wowed by the massive turnout for the parade so much so I was more engrossed people watching than the actual parade.
We were actually on a business trip to Miami but with St Patrick’s Day falling on a weekend, it was a last minute decision to drive down to Key West. Sometimes last minute plans turn out to be the best and celebrations in Key West surprised us. There may be official pub crawls in town but with pubs within walking distance from each other in historic Key West it’s easy to go at your own pace – from popular Shanna Key Irish Pub for your “southernmost pint it the US” to famous Capt’n Tony’s Saloon, Sloppy Joe’s, the Bull and Whistle Bar and Island Dogs to name a few. Hands down what’s my favourite reason for loving celebrations in Key West? You can walk into shops with a drink in your hand and shop!! Alcohol can lead to excessive shopping so they may be on to something there because I bought some jewellery as souvenir!
Surprising I know, but given the large expat population in the city-state, St Patrick’s Day has grown into a special celebration along the river front in Singapore with foreigners and locals alike. With lots of live entertainment the days preceeding the holiday at famous Irish pub Molly Malone on Boat Quay and even the marching band of local students with their bagpipes in hand makes you think twice about being in Singapore and not somewhere in Ireland.