The Best Places to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
10 years ago, Irish expats took over the Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels for a demonstration of traditional Irish sports like hurling, camogie, and Gaelic football. It was such a popular event that it’s been resurrected every year since.
In 2018, the Irish Embassy got involved. They arranged for the Brussels Grand Place market square to be lit up in green over St. Patrick’s Day. The Embassy also organized a reading by a famous Irish author and hosted a reception with plenty of Irish food and drink. Hopefully, this year they’ll be able to organize an event that will be similarly well-received.
Although international tourists tend to flock to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day, most Irish people skip the massive competition for seats in Temple Bar pubs and head west to Galway instead.
Galway does host a St. Patrick’s Day parade (and has for the last 117 years), but it’s much more low-key and community-oriented than Dublin’s. Instead of only celebrating Irish history, all community groups are welcome to walk in the Galway St. Patrick’s Day parade. This year expect to see groups like the Salsa Latin Dancers Community Group, Coder Dojo, and the Galway Filipino Irish Community.
People definitely come to Galway to drink, but they tend to do so with groups of friends and family instead of in huge crowds of strangers.
Known as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat has been home to a huge Irish enclave since the 17th century, when Irish Catholics used it as a refuge from religious persecution. Now, it’s the only country in the world other than Ireland where St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday.
There’s a week-long St. Patrick’s Day festival, which also serves to commemorate a failed slave’s uprising on March 17, 1768. Montserratians celebrate with a freedom run, a calypso competition, and plenty of traditional drinks, which includes both Caribbean rum punch and Guinness.