St Patrick’s Day Celebrations Taking Place Virtually at Home and Abroad.
A Brief History of St, Patricks Day
The day is celebrated on the anniversary of the death of St. Patrick, March 17th. The Irish celebrated it as a purely religious holiday for over 1,000 years and it wasn’t until 1762 that St. Patrick’s Day began to take shape as the holiday we know it as today. The Irish soldiers who were serving in the English military during the Revolutionary War marched down the streets of New York City. They were playing music and dancing to reconnect to their roots and bring Irish pride to the city.
These celebrations spread throughout the country over the next 50 years supported by Irish Aid Societies that promoted Irish heritage. Cities such as Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Savannah began to have large parades with 10,000 to 20,000 attendants. St. Patrick’s Day celebrations only continued to grow after the potato famine in Ireland in 1845 in which 1 million Irish emigrated to the United States. The holiday served as a connection to the homeland for many Irish people and a beacon at the end of cold winters.
Traditional St Patrick’s Day events have largely been cancelled this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, there are still some virtual celebrations taking place across Ireland and the rest of the world. Hundreds of Irish ex-pat bars across Spain are holding their own celebrations, albeit with reduced capacity and early closing times- so find something green and get yourselves down to your local for the craic and a pint of Guinness!
Events in Dublin Ireland
There will, unfortunately, be no St Patrick’s Festival parade in Dublin this year, however, there will be a #RTÉVirtualParade in conjunction with the festival. Children will drive their toy cars and tractors around their gardens. Many events will be broadcast on the St Patrick’s Festival website. It will culminate in a St Patrick’s Night trad set featuring a who’s who of traditional musicians including Lisa O’Neill, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Seamus and Ronan Ó Flatharta, Diarmuid and Brian Mac Gloin, Cormac Begley, Ronan O’ Snodaigh and Myles O’ Reilly starting at 8 pm.
The Green Roots Project is encouraging children to do something green for St Patrick’s Day whether it is planting a tree, picking up rubbish or building a bug hotel.
Cork: Meitheal is the theme of the festival this year and many of the city’s top landmarks have been lit up in green for the event. Two of Cork city’s top music venues, The White Horse and Coughlans, will host an online music special featuring John Spillane, the Ceili Allstars, Caoimhín Ó Fearghail, Emerald On Ivory, Oisín Morrison and The Lee Valley String Band. The show will air on St Patrick’s Day at 5pm on corkstpatricksfestival.ie, whitehorse.ie and coughlans.ie.
Galway: The fountain in Galway city will turn green to celebrate St.Patricks Day.
London: London Irish Centre will provide a virtual event hosted by Angela Scanlon and friends from 4 pm on St Patrick’s Day. The theme for the event is London Le Chéile #LondonTogether, which captures the spirit shown by Irish in London during the Covid-19 pandemic. londonirishcentre.org
Birmingham: Birmingham St Patrick’s Festival (the largest event in the UK) is doing a week-long series of streams, including highlights from previous parades (with Sharon Shannon and Finbar Furey), plus a tribute to those who’ve died in the past year including 14 members of the Birmingham Irish Association’s Tuesday Club. stpatsbrum.com
New York: The world’s oldest St Patrick’s Day parade will take place this year, but with only a small number of people at an undisclosed time to ensure that the continuity of the parade, which dates back to 1762, is maintained. Parades in all the major US cities have been cancelled for a second year due to the pandemic. The St Patrick’s Day parade in St James, Long Island, will be held in cars while residents in Hilton Head, South Carolina, will hold a boat parade on Sunday. St Patrick’s Day organisers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, plan to hold a rescheduled parade in September this year if the US completes its vaccination programme.
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