St. Paddy’s Day, as the Irish nickname it, is one of the Ireland’s most-celebrated events, though regardless of what time of year or day you choose to visit Ireland, you’ll likely find some sort of celebration going on there!
What started as a one-day holiday on March 17 has since grown to a multi-day celebration enjoyed by millions across the globe every year. However, St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t always about getting drunk and painting yourself green from head-to-toe. Believe it or not, St. Patrick’s Day was once considered a “dry” holiday up to the 20th century, since it memorialized the death of Ireland’s foremost saint.
In fact, laws restricted the nation’s pubs from operating business on this day until 1970 where St. Patrick’s Day was reclassified as a national holiday to allow the revelers to drink. Last year, it was estimated that more than 13 million pints of Guinness was consumed on St. Patrick’s Day, which is over 7 percent of the annual consumption of Guinness worldwide and nearly three times more than the approximate daily consumption.
Around the world
Over the centuries, the Irish bloodline has spread across the world and no longer is St. Patrick’s Day restricted to Ireland. New York and Chicago host a significant number of Irish-Americans and they are avid fans of the Irish saint, celebrating with as much enthusiasm as any true-blooded Irishman would.
New York has hosted a St. Patrick’s Day Parade annually since 1762, with now more than 250,000 marchers taking to Fifth Avenue to celebrate. And since 1962, Chicago has been dumping 40 tons of green dye into the Chicago River to turn it a suitably festive shade.
Cayman gets in the game
Of course, Irish-Caymanians and honorary resident Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Several venues are turning green this weekend. Here are some of the options to consider:
Fidel Murphy’s will pulling out all the stops in March. Their celebrations kick off a little earlier – on Friday, to be precise – with a fundraiser involving the Cayman Islands Rugby Club. Everyone is welcome to join in the fun at Fidel’s with a karaoke night where there will be T-shirts, hats and a pint of Guinness for $10.
On the Saturday morning, Irishmen across the world will be glued to the television to watch the Ireland vs. England rugby game as a part of the Six Nations Rugby Tournament. Fidel’s will be serving breakfast from 8 a.m. for those wanting to catch the game in a traditional pub setting. There will be live music from local bands from noon onwards, with a special feature from three Irish singers. And, of course, there will be traditional dishes, such as cabbage and bacon, and steak and Guinness pie, for those who really want to immerse themselves in the Irish culture.
For those who are still alive on the Sunday, they can head to Fidel’s for all-you-can-eat roast dinner and a pint of Guinness for $18. Some swear to the benefits of hair of the dog, but just remember that you don’t want it catching up with you bright and early on Monday morning.
What is Whiskey Mist in the Strand planning on St. Patrick’s Day? There will be lots of drink specials, such as $15 buckets of beer, $5 pints of Cayman Islands Brewery Nitro Stout, $8 pints of Guinness and $25 bottles of wine or bubbles. Patrons could win a Nitro Stout keg party all their own. For every bucket of Cayman Islands Brewery beer you purchase, you are entered into a draw to win that prize party.
There will be live music all day and although there is no kitchen on the premises, punters are perfectly welcome to bring their own food in. With three restaurants next door, they won’t have to wander far to get it.
The celebration begins on the Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. with that Ireland vs. England rugby game on the televisions, followed by the first live music performer – Dave Hennessy – at 11:30 a.m. Then it’s Wales vs. France at noon with Twisted Clover taking to the main stage at 1:30 p.m.
At 3:30 p.m., it’s time for some Irish Rock, followed by the Someone Else Band (yes, that’s the name) at 5:30 p.m.
The night closes out with The Neverines performing from 9 p.m. until midnight.
Hemingways Restaurant and Beach Bar
This popular venue may not be a pub, but on Saturday it plans to hold its St. Paddy’s Day Shamrock Celebration, island-style.
The festivities begin at 3 p.m. with DJ Mat Banx spinning the hits before the first of two live bands – Saint Paddy’s Trio – takes over from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Then the DJ is back for an hour, followed by Dr. Bob’s Experiment from 7:30-10:30 p.m. “What is Dr. Bob’s Experiment?” you may well ask. It’s a pretty large band by local standards, featuring horns and a really fun way of approaching live music. If you haven’t seen these guys play yet, you’re in for a treat. DJ Mat Banx finishes the evening, taking revelers all the way to midnight.
Of course, there are drink specials on the menu. Cayman Islands Brewery Nitro Stout, bottles of Guinness, bottles of Magners Cider, Stoli and Flor de Caña drinks are all $4.50. Jager bombs are $4 and Jagermeister is only $3.
The King’s Head Pub
The King’s Head in Camana Bay is making St. Patrick’s Day one of those rare occasions when it will be serving up food as well as drinks. It too will be showing the Ireland vs. England Six Nations match in the morning and the place remains open through the day with live acoustic music from 3:30-5 p.m. and a DJ from 7-10 p.m. There will be specials on Guinness, Kokanee, Heineken buckets and Teeling Whiskey, which can wash down one of the Irish dishes on offer, like Irish stew.
The big news is the prize you can win – two tickets to New York just for guessing the number of gold balloons in the “Pot-O’-Gold.” Depending on your calculation skills, you may want to make your guess before you begin to imbibe.
St. Patrick’s Day is even better when it falls on a weekend, so plan accordingly.