Cartoon by Kelley Wills
Whether you want a cold pint or gold medal this St. Patrick’s Day, the luck o’ the Irish will be with you in Charleston. Though it is a sea away from “The Old Sod” of Ireland, Charleston goes green each March 17. But how to celebrate? Just name it, and you can find it.
“I really just want to have a buzz by 10 a.m.”
Grab your green plastic cup and get ready to fill it with Guinness, an Irish car bomb, Irish whiskey, or even green beer (yes, really, green beer). Join Charleston’s Official St. Paddy’s Day Bar Crawl and receive a three-day pass for $15. You’ll get a map of drink specials and times at all the participating venues. Just want to crawl your own path? Be festive and try out an Irish pub in Charleston—O’Malley’s, Tommy Condon’s, Molly Darcy’s. Or all of them. Many bars (Irish and not) open early at 10 a.m. during this festive weekend. No shame: grab something cold and start sipping early.
“I want to be outside and be a part of the tradition of St. Patrick’s Day in Charleston.”
This year is the 17th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Charleston. Seventeenth on the 17th (well, actually, the parade is on March 16 – but we’ll count the significance just the same). Mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church precedes the parade at 8 a.m., and the parade culminates with raising the Irish flag at City Hall. The route down King Street is sure to be full of floats, bagpipers, Charleston’s Irish-American citizens, Irish dancers, and people who just want to have a good time. St. Patrick’s Day parades in Charleston date back to 1823, when Irish volunteers paraded down Broad Street. So don’t worry, this is one tradition backed by the test of time. And you can always stop for a drink along the way.
“I am going to need to exercise before all that beer. Besides, I can’t go a day without running.”
Want a St. Patrick’s Day that’s good for you? Go try to “Catch the Leprechaun” in Mt. Pleasant. This 5k walk/run begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Mt. Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park. If you’re low on motivation don’t fret, a bagpiper will begin play at 6:15 p.m. to signal that the run will soon begin. A “pot of gold” and medals will be given to winners in different categories. If that doesn’t sell you, anyone who finishes before the leprechaun receives a souvenir mug. Register early before the price goes up, and remember that the price includes the race, food, drinks, and entertainment. Wear green and don your best St. Patrick’s Day gear—there is a costume contest. Proceeds from the run benefit Pattison’s Academy.
“Charleston? Pshh. I want to do St. Patrick’s Day huge.”
No question that Savannah, GA., with a rich Irish-American history, is one of the most prominent southern St. Patrick’s Day destinations. The preparations and celebrations for St. Patrick’s Day begin in February in Savannah. And the parade, held on March 16, is the second largest in the world. Hundreds of thousands of spectators come to watch this three and a half hour affair. The parade contains many military units and renowned bands. Bars and restaurants are full of good deals and options during this celebration. Even the fountains run green.
“Wait, there is more to a holiday than eating? I don’t think so…”
Why not try some Irish pub grub? The traditional St. Patrick’s Day dish—though debated as to its authenticity—is corned beef and cabbage. Other Irish dishes include colcannon—mashed potatoes and cabbage and Irish stew. None of those sound delicious? Charleston’s Irish pubs are a good place to start for Irish cuisine. It’s not all corned beef and cabbage. You can get Irish nachos at Tommy Condon’s, piled with crispy potatoes, bacon, jalapenos, tomato, onions, cheddar, and ranch—a twist on Irish food that sounds a bit more exciting that colcannon. Or get out the crockpot and slow cook some of these traditional recipes yourself. Vegetarian or vegan? Just take “going green” literally and go grab or make a delicious salad, and don’t forget that side of potatoes. And a beer. (Beer counts as food on St. Patty’s Day.)
So you don’t want to get pinched this St. Patrick’s d\Day? Wear green and do something fun. Remember that for today “if you’re lucky enough to be Irish, then you’re lucky enough.”