11 Authentic Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Instead of playing to the tired, old, and clichéd stereotype of St. Patrick's Day being all about how much green beer one can drink, let's think about some alternative ways in which this uniquely Irish holiday can be celebrated.  Here are 11 genuinely Irish ideas I came up with.  Why 11?  Well, it's one better than 10 ... so why not 11?

I welcome your suggestions in the comments section below.  I fully realise that St. Patrick's Day has evolved into something a bit different in America (among other places), so I'm not trying to be a fuddy-duddy.  But for the sake of our purposes here, let's try to keep these as authentic as possible (i.e. let's stay away from the green-beer-drinking, wearing "Kiss Me I'm Irish" buttons, and blaring Dropkick Murphy's tracks from our car stereos).  :-)

This list is designed to provide ideas for celebrating what truly makes Irish culture unique.  If you can somehow manage to fit all 11 of these into any given 17th day of March, I'd say we would safely be able to crown you the greatest celebrant of St. Patrick's Day of all time.


1.  Go to a traditional Irish music session.


2.  Eat bacon & cabbage.


3.  Sign-up for an Irish language class.


4.  Take a sean nós dancing lesson.


5.  Explore some little-known facets of Irish history.


6.  Watch an authentic Irish film (e.g. "The Field", The Guard”, “The Secret of Roan Inish”, “Waking Ned Devine to name only a few).


7.  Ride a Connemara Pony.


8.  Cozy-up to a turf fire (or the closest thing you can find).


9.  Learn to knit Aran style.


10.  Read a piece of great Irish literature.


11.  Play a game of road bowling (if you can find a safe, deserted road!)

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Tags: Dance, Film, Food, Gaeilge, Irish Language, Literature, Movies, Music, Sport, St. Patrick's Day

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on March 9, 2014 at 12:23pm

Yep, John ... suggestions most certainly welcome.  And I'm glad that the religious aspect of it was brought up by someone, because I know some folks do indeed still celebrate it in that fashion.  My list of 11, however, was not about keeping St. Patrick's Day in the oldest or most original way ... rather (as stated in the actual article), as a list of suggestions intended to "provide ideas for celebrating what truly makes Irish culture unique."  So yes ... my original intent was to give ideas for those of us who celebrate this day in a secular way, but want to do so with as much authenticity in regard to Irish culture as possible.

Yes, we're splitting hairs a bit here, but I hope that helps clarify where my thoughts were.  I don't sense a significant anti-Catholic sentiment here on The Wild Geese.  It's good to hear input from those of you who are devout Catholics.  I'm devout myself, but not Catholic.  

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on March 9, 2014 at 12:40pm

John ... how about writing a blog post about celebrating Patrick's Day from a religious standpoint?  I didn't write this piece to stir controversy ... far from it.  It was intended to be a list of solid suggestions for those of us who don't attach any religious significance thereto, but rather have a strong desire to celebrate the uniqueness of Irish culture.  I was hoping this would be a fun and helpful post / discussion, and so far it has been a bit heavier than that.

Would you be willing to write a piece on the religious aspect, John?

Comment by Bryan Maloney on March 9, 2014 at 12:54pm

A man should be able to get as many lengthwise slices out of a hair as one can cut inch-thick disks from a twelve-foot log.

Paraphrase of Leonard Wibberly

Comment by Bit Devine on March 10, 2014 at 11:09am

John, a chara, I wasn't trying to "correct" anything...merely offering another facet of the ST Patrick story. It would be rather hypocritical of me to be "anti-catholic" in any way or form...growing up as such and all

I don't believe there is a leaning, religion wise,  one way or the another here at NWG. In fact, we really do strive NOT to have a leaning...it has always been that all are welcome... and every story has equal importance... as does every view point...

Comment by Rose Maurer on March 12, 2014 at 10:24am

Sincere thanks to Ryan O'Rourke for a sensible and sensitivily written blog, accompanied by delightul photos. Thanks too, to Bit Devine for extending the blog with her comments.

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on March 12, 2014 at 1:43pm

Thanks, Rose ... glad you enjoyed it.  I had hoped it would be helpful / enjoyable rather than controversial ... would never have imagined it could have sparked a heated debate.  

Comment by Joe Gannon on March 13, 2015 at 10:02am

A few years ago we started our own St. Paddy's Day tradition of having "the full Irish" for breakfast on the weekend closest to the day, or on the day if it falls on a weekend. It's a bit much to do on a workday morning. Just the other day we got in our order of bangers, rashers, and white and black pudding so we can whip up a real full Irish for Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Sure and it will be grand. Here's a pic of last years masterpiece from herself. You'll get a variety of "sides" from place to place in Ireland, but the bangers, rashers, and the white and black pudding are pretty much always there. We have ours with beans, fried tomatoes and mushrooms. Some have it with some form of potatoes instead of the beans. But however ye have it, it will stick with for a VERY long time. We love to have this around 8 or 9 am while we are over there, because we won't be hungry again until late afternoon. ;)

Comment by Claire Fullerton on March 15, 2016 at 10:43am

I'll be seeing the Irish traditional band, Altan and am thoroughly confidant this would meet your approval! Thank you for this post!


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