St Patrick’s Day is the one day of the year where everyone feels that little bit Irish.
The March 17th celebrations take over the Emerald Isle, but it is not just across the Irish Sea where the anniversary of this patron saint is celebrated. All around Europe, and further afield, cities are holding their very own events to pay homage to Ireland’s favourite son. We take a look at what’s happening on this day in Europe…
Rowing in Barcelona
They do things a little differently in Catalonia when it comes to honouring Ireland’s patron saint. In 2009, Aodhan King and Mark Redden formed Iomramh, which is a literal translation from the Gaelic “to row”, with the aim of bringing together people from all nations to take part in a number of cultural exchange events.
Every year around St Patrick’s Day the group holds the Mediterranean Currach Regatta. The rowing competition invites people from all over Barcelona, and even tourists, to race each other at the Mirador Del Port Vell, near the Roy Lichtenstein sculpture Moll de Bosch I Alsina.
This event goes on throughout the entire day and includes traditional Irish dancing along with a host of other activities. It provides a great daytime event before people head off into the city centre to enjoy the rest of their St Patrick’s Day celebrations in the bars of Barcelona.
Irish churches in Rome
The historic city of Rome would not be the first place that springs to mind when it comes to St Patrick’s Day celebrations, but the Italian capital has deep rooted Irish connections. While the day is not widely acknowledged across the country, Rome has a number of events going on to mark the patron saint.
There are around 2,500 Irish ex-pats living in Rome and they all celebrate St Patrick’s Day in their own way. However, for tourists wanting a different experience could visit one of the city’s many Irish churches. Whether this be St Patrick’s (very apt), St Isidore’s, San Clemente, San Silvestro or the Irish College you will find members of the Irish celebrating the occasion.
If you’re looking for something a bit livelier, you could pay a visit at Finnegan’s Irish Pub which claims to be the only Irish-owned pub in Rome.
Parading in Munich
The German city is somewhere that takes St Patrick’s Day very seriously and there has been a holiday parade every year since 1995. Started by Mike Spillane and a group of friends they formed the Deutsch-Irischer Freundeskreis Bayern e.V. aimed to get the parade and other events off the ground.
Originally believed to attract around 300 people, the organisers were overwhelmed when 3,000 took part in the march from Odeonsplatz to Munchner Freiheit. Since then the event has soared in popularity with some marches seeing as many as 15,000 people attend. Alongside the traditional parade there is the ‘Greening Flash Mob’ outside Munich Town Hall as well as post-march party.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the first-ever Munich St Patrick’s Day parade and will be honoured with a host of special events such as the ‘Journey to Ireland’ Dance and Music. This day-long celebration will no doubt will be lasting long into the wee hours as more and more Guinness, whisky and, of course, authentic German brews continue to flow.
Festivals in Birmingham
You don’t have to leave the country to get a truly authentic St Patrick’s Day celebration. Birmingham has a significant Irish population and has been holding a festival since 1996 which remains hugely popular. It incorporates both a cavalcade of music and culture culminating in the annual parade through the city.
The entertainment goes on throughout the day with entertainment in the form of Irish dancers, traditional music and a series of exhibitions displaying Birmingham’s Irish connection. There is also the chance to sample so special Irish dishes an