St. Patrick’s Day is synonymous with certain places - Ireland obviously is the first that comes to mind. Other places like New York, London, Boston and Sydney are all associated with the Irish national day too because of the huge Irish communities there. These are the places you see on TV on March 17th with everyone dressed in green and probably drinking much more Guinness than they’re used to (or able for)!
However there are other places around the world that celebrate St. Patrick’s Day that you don’t see on the TV, and in most cases you really wouldn't expect to find Paddy’s Day celebrations there!
We’ve found some of these unexpected destinations for St. Patrick’s Day, let’s start close to Ireland...
You might have expected Britain’s biggest St. Patricks Day parade to happen in London but you’d be wrong. Birmingham takes centre stage for Paddy's Day with its 2 mile parade route and each year it attracts close to 50,000 spectators. Starting from Camp Hill at midday, the parade features colourful floats, bands, musicians and dancers. The 2013 St. Patrick’s Day celebrations actually start on March 9th and run though to March 17th, with the grand parade taking place on the final day of festivities.
Book hostels in Birmingham
Manchester embraces its Irishness for over two weeks this March with its Irish festival. There are lots of events planned around the festival including music events, plays, comedy gigs, Irish market and of course the parade which takes place on March 11th in 2012. Manchester's Irish community is quite large so if you do plan on getting in to one of the cities numerous Irish pubs then make sure you get there early.
Book hostels in Manchester | Check out our Manchester Guide
The city of Montreal has been celebrating St. Patricks Day since 1824 thanks to a strong Irish presence there. In fact, it’s said that some 40% of Quebecers can claim Irish heritage; even the city flag includes a shamrock which is the national symbol of Ireland. With almost 200 years of experience celebrating St. Patricks Day you can be guaranteed a great St. Patrick’s Day dancing well into the wee hours!
Book hostels in Montreal
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Who’d have thought that the fifth largest Irish community in the world is in Argentina? It’s not even an English speaking country! Well there are approximately half a million Irish families living in Argentina today with the majority based in Buenos Aires.
Every year up to 60,000 people cram the streets around the Retiro area for a St. Patricks Day party (there’s no parade) taking over 10 blocks of the city centre in the process. There are also a number of events at city cathedrals and churches of course if you get tired of all the dancing!
Book hostels in Buenos Aires
You may find it surprising that an Irish festival would have made its way to the metropolis of Beijing but there is huge interest in, and knowledge of, Irish culture in China – particularly through the popularity of Irish writers and poets. Beijings Irish festival takes place on March 15th each year and is located at Wangfujing which is one of the cities most important shopping streets.
Book hostels in Beijing | Check out our Beijing Guide
Similar to Beijing in terms of the interest, but lacking a formal festival structure, St. Patricks Day in Hong Kong usually sees most of the cities bars claiming some sort of Irish heritage for the day! It’s best to choose a spot early as you may find it difficult to squeeze into the more popular spots the later the day goes on.
Book hostels in Hong Kong | Check out our Hong Kong Guide
Russia and Ireland seem to have one thing firmly in common; and that’s the love of a good party! Each year a St. Patricks day parade makes it’s way (usually in the snow) down Novy Arbat with the whole street awash with the green of hardy spectators. The parade does tend to highlight the close business links between the two countries with plenty of sponsorship and advertisements so do try get out of the cold and into an Irish bar as soon as you can!
Book hostels in Moscow
Another city with a lot of experience in hosting St. Patrick’s Day festivities that you wouldn’t expect is Savannah, Georgia. 2012 sees the 188th parade in Savannah and it promises to be the best yet! It’s the second largest parade in the world even though it doesn’t get the same attention as many other cities. Savannah gets Irish for about two weeks before March 17th with many events and traditions such as the Tara Feis with music and dancing and they even colour the water in the fountain green in Forsyth Park. The parade is the main events that kicks off at 10.15am and features up to 350 floats, bands and dancers.
Book hostels in Georgia