The 17th of March has always been an important day to celebrate all things that are “Irish”. Main streets across Ireland become packed with St Patrick’s day parades and most of us take advantage of the festivities on offer. The day itself is in many ways as much about the diaspora as native Irish people themselves. The biggest parade in the world is held each year in New York City with similar events dotted around the globe in points where the Irish impact has been felt most heavily. We’ve cast our eyes farther afield than the usual spots however, to come up with a list of destinations that have put their own unique spin on the Celtic celebration.
New Orleans, USA:
With cities along the east coast such as Boston and Chicago being renowned for turning their streets and even rivers green each “Patty’s day”, many don’t think about the fun to be had at a St Patrick’s Day celebration in New Orleans. The city itself is famous of course for its “Mardi Gras” festivals that happen each year in early February. The fun doesn’t stop there however as the city offers a full schedule of celebrations over St Patrick’s day weekend with over the top floats carrying “leprechauns” hurling green beads(and more fascinatingly cabbage) towards the gathering crowds. This is definitely a parade that needs to be seen to be believed!
This Asian mega-city wouldn’t be the first place where you’d expect to find a bustling St Patrick’s day parade but in recent years Tokyo has, with the help of the Irish Network based there, began large organised celebrations. Today the 17th is filled with Irish music, Irish wolfhounds, shamrock face painting and all of the novelty elements you’d expect to find in a similar event at home. The city is also home to many Irish pubs so the fun doesn’t end once the events have as you can pick up a green beer or two. Now rolling into it’s 26th year, this is one St Patrick’s day celebration that will no doubt continue to grow.
As Australia continues to be a popular destination for Irish ex pats and working visa holders, it’s no surprise that it hosts a massive number of festivities around it’s major cities during the 18th(due to the time difference) of March each year. Sydney welcomes one of the biggest of these and focuses on making it an enjoyable family day out where people can browse the many food and drink stalls that pack out the aptly named “Green Quarter”. With the strong Irish community helping to make this event an annual success story, you’ll more than feel at home during this one.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
What many may be surprised to hear is that Argentina is home to the 5th largest Irish community in the world. The Argentinian capital city is host to the bulk of their celebrations on the 17th of March. Parades, musical performances and all night block parties are a heavy feature throughout the day. There is also unsurprisingly plenty of craic to be had while hanging around “Plaza Irlanda”. For a St Patrick’s day with a Latin twist, you’ll have to visit Buenos Aires.
Montserrat, The Caribbean:
The small Caribbean nation of Montserrat is one of the few places in the world that actually recognises St Patrick’s Day as a national public holiday. The islands history with Ireland goes back to the Cromwellian era when many Irish fled to or were deported to work on the islands many British plantations in the 1700s. The Irish culture became deep rooted in the population and this incredible report from the 1980’s (presented by none other than current Irish president Michael D Higgins!) gives a more detailed history of the controversial links to the island. It also shows how Irish names (and songs) can still be heard on this “emerald isle” today.
Week long celebrations, diverse parades, music sessions and even a “national dress” had been developed in more recent years to commemorate the Irish/Anglo/Scottish links to the island. Many Irish American tourists visit each year to take part and witness the celebrations greatly benefiting the local communities and economy. These St Patrick’s day celebrations are no doubt the most unique we’ve seen. The islands natural features like below mean that even if the parades end up being a let down (like at home), you can always relax with a drink on the beach to get over it.
So for next year, why not plan to catch the St Patrick’s day parade in New Orleans instead of New Ross! Or soak up the fun in Tokyo instead of Tyrone! If you’re planning that next big adventure, don’t forget your travel insurance! You’re in luck too as for this weekend until midnight Monday 19th, we’re offering you a further 10% off Multitrip Travel Insurance policies for the St Patrick Day weekend. Just enter code MTPW18 for your discount.