As you may or may not tell from my name, Bridget Leigh Callinan, I come from a mostly Irish heritage, with a little mix of Irish-English in there. My mom, Norma Jane O’keefe, comes from a complete Irish background and my dad, Richard William Callinan’s, ancestry comes from an Irish-English background. The picture below shows the family tree from my fathers side, further proving my love for the Irish culture. I don’t know if my love comes from the knowledge of my ancestry, the Americanized St. Patricks Day holiday, the accents, or the drinks (snakebites, and Irish-car bombs).
Unfortunately, I haven’t made it to the country yet, unless you count Epcot, but it is #1 on my list! I have seen so many photos of my grandparents trip to the Country where they toured castle after castle, visited Ireland’s national parks, and even kissed the Blarney stone upside down! It truly is a dream of mine to visit Ireland, replicate their trip, and really soak in the culture.
The Callinan Family Tree!
As you can see from above, my ancestry is long, I always wonder how deep it would be on my mom’s side since O’keefe is extremely Irish. Being proud of my heritage, I have always LOVED St. Patricks Day. If I had to rank the holidays, I think it falls at #3 (after Christmas and Thanksgiving of course), probably because of the fun spirited and heavy all-day partying that the holiday entails. It was only a few years ago (pardon my naivety) that I learned St. Patricks Day is an Americanized Holiday and if you were to be in Ireland on March 17th, it would be like any other day on Ireland, except filled with excited tourists like me who might make a fool of themselves decked out in green with shamrock glasses to top the outfit off. Anyways, since I love ST. Patricks Day enough for all of Ireland, here are some things to do to make your St. Patricks Day celebration fun (In my opinion, of course)!
1. Visit a local Irish pub!
In this case, I recommend ordering fish & chips from Blue Anchor Pub in Delray Beach, Florida right on Atlantic Ave! I may be biased as I have frequented this pub many times over the last year, but that has to tell you how good it is. Now, it is a British pub, but the owners are Irish so they plan on doing St. Patricks Day up BIG! (Complete with a complimentary Jello shot to end your visit!)
804 E Atlantic Ave, Delray Beach, FL (Happy Hour ALL DAY)
If you are a history buff, this Pub is for you. It is a Transplanted 19th-century London pub built in the 1840’s, whose exterior and rich wood interior features were taken apart and shipped to New York City. The pub was stored in New York until 1996, when they brought it down to Delray Beach! It is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of Bertha, and if you are lucky enough, you just might hear her footsteps wandering the pub during your visit! Everything I have had on the menu has been recommendable, especially the giant pretzel and heavy wine pour. You can find me here on St. Patty’s Day with Shepards pie in one hand and an Irish Car Bomb in the other!
2. Go to your local St. Patricks Day Parade!
As a Fort Lauderdale resident, I usually make it over to the St. Patricks Day Parade in Ft. Lauderdale every year. However, there are many other parades (basically one in each bigger city), that occur on the same day as one another each year. For example, the St. Patricks Day parade in Delray Beach, FL and the parade in Fort Lauderdale, FL are both on Saturday, March 12th at noon.
At the Ft. Lauderdale parade in 2019, a month before the pandemic shut-down!
These parades are one of the biggest events in both cities, with each parade attracting thousands of citizens every year! Delray’s is right on Atlantic Ave and is a First- Responder themed parade that will have many floats and walkers honoring Veterans. I even heard that The Victory Dolls (a 1940’s inspired girl group with the goal of honoring Veterans and remembering the best generation), who I have personally seen perform at the Delray Beach Playhouse will be in the parade! The Dolls, and 70+ other entries comprised of floats, schools, businesses, community groups, non-profits, elected officials, pipes and drums, etc will parade down the Ave, drawing in audiences from every group!
The Fort Lauderdale St. Patricks Day parade stretches miles over the city, with everyone dressed head-to-toe in green ready for the jam-packed, eventful day.
3. Hit up your local St. Patricks Day Party!
Not the parade type? Don’t feel like walking for miles? Not a people watcher? Not a problem! Find your less family-friendly local St. Patricks themed party! There is a famous party every year in Wynwood, called St. Pat’s Wynwood, where citizens are free to wander the famous street, drinking green beer, and ordering at the various food trucks set-up along the street. Miami’s finest DJ’s all line-up to take part in this event, so live music and good food is guaranteed! The multiple bars surrounding the area will give you your party fix, and the dyed-green beer will help you feel the true St. Patricks Day spirit!
4. Hop aboard your local Booze Cruise!
Just want to spend the day acting as a true Irishman, drinking your sorrows away? Hop on board your local Booze Cruise! This is another Miami event, with tickets starting at $40. Your booze cruise trip will include complimentary green beer, a live DJ, and views of the Miami Skyline! If parades and bar scenes aren’t your go-to, grab your adult friends and get ready for an all-you-can drink and all-you-can-dance St. Patricks Day cruise party touring through Miami’s most famous spots and prettiest views.
5. Enjoy a Shamrock Shake!
This one is for the kids, or the inner kid in everyone. Originating at McDonald’s, the ‘Shamrock Shake’ has become a limited-time menu item at most, if not all, fast food chains. A shamrock shake is exactly how it sounds, a Vanilla milkshake that is dyed green, mixed with mint flavors, and topped with whipped cream! It is absolutely heart-attack inducing and absolutely delicious! I look forward to ordering one of these off of some fast-food menu once a year in March and think it is a great way to get younger individuals in the spirit for St. Patricks Day to truly have fun!
6. Pinch everyone not wearing green.
Does this one need an explantation? Legend has it that anyone in green on St. Patricks Day is invisible to Leprechauns, those not in green are not invisible and therefore pinched by leprechauns themselves (AKA your friends and family)!