The celebration of Ireland’s most famous saint, St. Patrick, has long extended beyond the borders of the Emerald Isle.
Cities like Chicago, New York and Boston, which are home to a goodly percentage of generational Irish men and women, put on big parades with live entertainment, food and drink festivals. Chicago even goes so far as to dye its river green for the occasion. Sydney, Australia doesn’t shy away from a bit (a lot) of merriment and Canada and Argentina are just a couple of the other countries to get into the act. It can honestly be said that in the 21st century, St. Patrick’s Day – always on 17 March – is a globally recognised date.
Cayman, with its heady mix of cultures, is not to be left behind either. After all, it has its very own Irish pub in the form of Fidel Murphy’s, located in Queen’s Court Plaza on West Bay Road. Fidel’s has always put on a big bash and with 17 March falling on a Tuesday this year, the venue has decided to make a full weekend of it.
What is one of the talents for which the Irish is well known? Singing, of course! They don’t need instruments or a stage – they just burst into song and before long, everyone is joining in.
On Friday, the Cayman Rugby Football Union will be hosting its karaoke fundraiser at Fidel’s, which always promises a good time as singers take to the microphone. Have you watched ‘America’s Got Talent’, ‘The Voice’ and similar programmes and longed to have your moment in the spotlight? This could be your opportunity to be discovered … or at least to see if a singing career is a possibility.
Pace yourselves, everyone – this is only the second day of festivities. Get to the pub early to get a good seat for the Guinness Six Nations rugby finals and maybe order a slap-up breakfast to put some grub in your stomach before the pints begin.
At 6pm, the live music on the patio begins and continues until 8pm. Don’t worry, the bar doesn’t close until midnight, and it will be serving up drink specials all day.
This is a day of rest. Either head to Fidel’s in the evening for a well-earned roast dinner – all you can eat for $14.95 – or relax and take a deep breath, because there is still Monday and Tuesday to go.
The day before St. Patrick’s brings the bounty of an Irish-themed burger special, paired with Guinness, Kilkenny or Hop House 13 lager. Again, there will be drink specials all day.
This is it! St. Patrick’s Day! Fidel’s will be open for breakfast, which jumpstarts a menu of authentic Irish dishes, lots of Guinness swag up for grabs, live music by local musicians Dave Hennessy and DannyLoops, and a performance from musicians Fred & James, hailing all the way from Galway.
As this is one of the most popular days of the year for the pub, the patrons often spill out into the beer garden and the cordoned-off parking lot. If you’ve got green clothes, green accessories or anything Irish-related in your closet, this is the day to wear it. If not, check the local party stores, which tend to stock items for just this very thing.
Facts about St. Patrick’s Day
■ St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish national holiday with banks, stores, and businesses closing for the day.
■ The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the United States was held in Boston (1737).
■ The shamrock is the national symbol of Ireland.
■ The colour of St. Patrick’s Day was originally blue.
■ Wearing green has become a staple of St. Patrick’s Day, but the holiday was originally associated with the colour blue. It’s thought that the shift to green happened because of Ireland’s nickname ‘The Emerald Isle’, the green in the Irish flag and the shamrock, or clover. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn as early as the 17th century.
■ Beer is one of the most widely consumed beverages on St. Patrick’s Day.
■ 1962 marked the first time Chicago dyed their river green for St Patrick’s Day.
■ There are 34.7 million U.S. residents with Irish ancestry. This number is more than seven times the population of Ireland itself.
■ The real St. Patrick wasn’t Irish. He was born in Britain around A.D. 390 to an aristocratic Christian family.
■ Our odds of finding a four-leaf clover are about one in 10,000.
■ The world’s shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade is held in an Irish village. It lasts only 100 yards, between the village’s two pubs.
UPDATE: The Fidel Murphy’s St. Patrick’s Day events have been postponed until further notice