Growing up on Tipperary Hill in Syracuse, NY, the month of March is a pretty big deal. Not only is that my birthday month, but it is also the month of St. Patrick’s Day, a day my tiny little town goes crazy for. Tipperary Hill is the most Irish neighborhood in Syracuse and my family’s house is smack dab in the middle of it. Seven houses up the street to our left stands the only upside down traffic light (where the green is on top) in the country.
Seven houses down to our left is Coleman’s Irish Pub, one of the most “authentic” Irish bar/restaurant Syracuse has to offer. To put it gently, each weekend in the month of March on Tip Hill is pure madness. The month starts off with a small parade down Tompkins St. where “Green Beer” from Ireland is brought to Coleman’s in a gigantic truck.
When the truck makes its way to the pub there is live music playing while everyone anxiously awaits their free cup of green beer. The weekend after is the Shamrock Run-a 5k all around Tip Hill ending at a bar, where if you complete the run, you are awarded tokens for free beer. Depending on the year, third weekend is…you guessed it…SAINT PATRICK’S DAY! There is a huge parade in downtown Syracuse and Tipperary Hill is where its at all weekend.
In Boston, MA, where I lived for four years, St. Patty’s isn’t celebrated all month long, but that one weekend is a crazy celebration. It has by far the best parade I have yet to see. Every single bar has a cover, lines are out the door and all you can hear is traditional Irish music blaring from one bar or apartment to the next. The parade goes through South Boston, referred to more commonly as “southie” which is where the more authentic Irish pubs are.
The year I turned 21 I not only celebrated my birthday in The Republic of Ireland (PS turning 21 in Europe is not nearly as big of deal as turning 21 in the states. I was so sad when I ordered my first LEGAL drink in Dublin that they didnt even card me) but I was also there for St. Patty’s. Now I wish I could tell you more about this experience, but to be completely honest, the whole weekend was an absolute blur. The Friday before Saint Patty’s I went to my first ever underground Rave.
That didn’t end til lord knows what time and we just kept the party going through to the next day. I do have lots of pictures to prove that the Dublin parade looked amazing and I seemed to have a fabulous time. One thing I accurately remember is meeting more Americans out that local Irish people! I’d love to experience another St. Patty’s in Dublin in the future.
Now I have to admit, in comparison to all my past kick ass St. Patty’s Days, this year in Northern Ireland was a bit of a bust. Don’t get me wrong, I have friends in Belfast who had a wonderful time and those in Derry made it through the less then fair weather for the parade, I even had friends that said it took 2 1/2 hours for a taxi to come pick them up since bars were so crowded! I unfortunately was not as lucky. The family I’m staying with has a little girl and thus of course are not going to go out and get pish-posh intoxicated. We went to a tiny bar where they were supposed to have kids activities (they didn’t) and we didn’t even stay an hour. I had at the max three drinks the entire day (I can see my friends at home shaking their head in disgust and disappointment). My host also mentioned though that St. Patty’s really isn’t that big of a deal over here, so I did a little research!
- March 17th is a bank Holiday in Northern Ireland
- The degree to which people celebrate this day varies according to their religious and political affiliations
- Those who believe that Northern Ireland should remain part of the UK, do not generally celebrate the day.
- Those who believe that Northern Ireland should become part of a United Ireland often celebrates St. Patrick’s Day.
- A large parade is hed in Belfast but the level of public funding it received depends on which political parties control the council.
- Even though St. Patrick is one of Ireland’s Patron Saints, he grew up in mainland Britain
- According to popular legend, he is buried under Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, Country Down, and banished all snakes from Ireland
- St. Patrick day was originally a religious occasion to mark the life and work of St. Patrick. In 1903 it became a public holiday in the whole of Ireland. Pubs were not allowed to upon on March 17th until the 1970’s.
- It is only recently that St Patrick’s Day has become a secular holiday.
In complete sincerity, I’d pick partying in the USA any day of the week over being here in Ireland. Yes of course its amazing to say you were in Ireland on St. Patty’s day, but for me, any holiday, is only really great if you’re with those who matter the most to you, your family and friends. It doesn’t matter if it’s a month long celebration or a day long event, it’s only really memorable if you’re with those who you can be completely yourself around. Now if I brought those people over here to celebrate with me, the title of this blog post would be completely different 🙂