Every year, on the 17 March, people around the world celebrate Patrick’s Day, commemorating the patron saint of Ireland. Folk take to the streets and pubs and raise a glass to everything that’s great about our Celtic cousins.
It’s an incredibly green affair, with shamrocks and leprechaun hats seen everywhere – the monochromatic theme only interrupted by the occasional Irish tricolour and joke-shop ginger beard.
Here’s a little about the patron saint and where to celebrate the big day across the network.
It’s unlikely that St Patrick was Irish-born and was perhaps from elsewhere on the British Isles. When 16 years old, he was taken as a slave to Ireland where he worked as a shepherd for six years.
With the isolation of the job, St Patrick, then known Maewyn Succat, found God and eventually fled penury and became a priest.
When he returned to Ireland he set up churches, schools and monasteries, and eventually became the bishop of Ireland.
From 12pm, head over to the St Patrick’s Day Parade, which goes from Piccadilly to Trafalgar Square. Enjoy traditional music, food and dancing as you make your way to the heart of the city where you’ll gather with fellow revellers and drink and compare ridiculous hats. Good craic!
The Oxford outpost of Irish pub chain O’Neill’s (on George Street) brings its week of Celtic-themed boozing and sports-watching to a climax with deals on whiskey. Don’t miss the hangover recovery day on Sunday where you can score a half-price Irish breakfast (which is a lot like an English breakfast).
Hang on, a Bavarian-themed boozer doing a week of St Paddy’s Day events? You better believe it. Buy yourself a pilsner or two at Bierkeller at Stadium Plaza and watch the rugby (surely, they’ll be showing the Ireland match from 2.45pm) and then from 9pm, enjoy an oompah band. Yes, that’s right, an oompah band.
Irish pub Kitty O’Hanlon’s on St Andrew Street will be hosting its legendary St Patrick’s Day party. Band Mad Dog McRea will be playing their mix of folk rock, pop and bluegrass (fiddles, hats and waistcoats). From the looks of previous events, it will be boisterous affair – not to be missed.