If there is one day of the year which is both patriotic and playful, it is St Patricks Day…and boy the Irish know how to throw a damn good party! In fact, St Paddy’s Day is such a hit that the English celebrate it with more enthusiasm than they can conjure for their own Patron Saint, old Georgie boy.
Statistics show that around 22,000 Irish emigrants came to the UK in 2012-13 alone, with most people winding up in London. The city, as such, plays host too many a St Patricks Day shindig and many of its residents get involved.
Tuesday 17th March is the big day, which is not only celebrated in Ireland, but pretty much the world over, especially amongst large ex-pat communities in England, America and Australia. It is dedicated to Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, and it is traditional to wear green and display shamrocks on your person.
London has publicly marked the day with celebrations since 2002, with events attracting huge crowds…but what is actually happening around the capital?
If performances are your thing, you can head over to O2 Academy Brixton on Saturday 21st March to witness the on-stage magic that is the ‘Dropkick Murphy’s’. The band is jetting over from the states for a special show, littered with Celtic punk and attitude by the bucket load!
Put on your dancing shoes and head over to Greenwich’s art deco Borough Hall on the 14th March, where you can take part in a traditional Irish céili dance; a popular form of folk dancing on the Emerald Isle. The dances are based on pairs of lines facing each other, round dances, long dances and quadrilles. Umpired by an expert in traditional Irish dancing, you will be guided through your steps, to music from Threepenny Bit.
The main event in the capital is the St Patricks Day Parade on the 15th March, which winds up in Trafalgar Square for an official celebration of the Patron Saint. Everyone is invited to have fun, and watch the scores of floats, pageantry and marching bands progress to the square.
There will also be food markets, children’s theatre, fashion shows, short films and comedy festivals, alongside the regular Irish music and dancing on the purpose built stage. Fun for the entire family!
If you don’t mind heights, take a trip to The View from The Shard on St Patricks Day itself; for an evening packed full of Irish spirit, and of course, frivolity!
The Shard will be hosting a silent disco, accompanied by oodles of Jameson’s Irish whiskey and Guiness. The disco itself will operate across three music channels playing only Irish, folk and ceilidh music. Book to avoid disappointment!