It’s that time again and I know you have your plans. The question is, would you rather stumble around on St. Patrick’s Day waiting for amateur hour, or would you rather have a faithful guide stumbling along beside you?
I thought so. Well, the perfect way to start off St. Paddy’s week is with proper sustenance. Why St. Paddy’s week? Well, the Irish don’t get a “history month” to celebrate, so we’re taking over a week out of March.
Kick the week off with a traditional Irish American dinner at the Irish Heritage Center put on by the Irish American Club (IrishOfMaine.org). Saturday the 13th at the Center on the corner of Gray and State Streets in Portland, the Irish American Club will be hosting, you guessed it, a corned beef and cabbage dinner. The event starts off with Happy Hour and hot hors D’oeuvres at 4:30 followed by dinner at 6:00 with music by Box of Crackers. There will be step dancing by the Stillson School of Irish Dance and a cash bar available. Tickets are a donation of $17 for adults and $10 for children and can be picked up at Ireland’s Crystal and Craft, 558 Congress St. Portland. (773-5832) and Port Grooming and Pet Care 472 Ocean St. South Portland (767-2456). Tickets go fast, so don’t miss out!
If you move along quickly, your tour guide will lead you down to Commercial Street Sunday the 14th for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Yes, with the corned beef still playing delightfully between your teeth, you can settle along the route between the Fish Pier and State Pier for a view of the new, improved, and larger parade. The parade begins at noon and concludes at the State Pier with dignitaries, dance, and closing ceremonies.
The only bad part about a good parade is when it’s over. That’s why the Irish keep the good times moving with a ceili at RiRa from 2:30-4:30 with live music from the Portland Ceili Band. Experience is neither expected nor necessary. Just grab a pint of Guinness and join with your family to watch, dance, or just enjoy the music and craic!
St. Paddy’s morning, for those suckled by Arthur Guinness himself, a real treat awaits them at Brian Boru. Boru opens at 6:00 am for a traditional Irish breakfast and traditional music all day. Believe me, once you’ve had rashers and black pudding in the morning, you will never look at a Grand Slam the same way. Throughout the morning, people of all ages gather for this once-a-year Irish celebration. It is truly one spectacle not to be missed. Besides, what other time of the year can you justify a full pint of Guinness with breakfast?
From there, things tend to get a little hazy, as your tour winds the streets of the Old Port, visiting such standards as Ri Ra, and Bull Feeney’s. It is a day of pipe bands, live music, dancing, and good times. Be prepared to eat well, drink well, and surround yourself with thousands of your closest friends. While you’re in the spirit, stop by IrishOfMaine.org, to learn more about ceili dancing workshops, tin whistle lessons, and Irish language classes.
Slan go foil!
Douglas Mac antSaior
Thanks to loyal fan and contributor, Doug McIntire, for his great piece on the true St. Patrick’s Day experience. You can read more of Doug’s writing at his blog – cdmcintire.wordpress.com.