March 14 – Nutty Irishman

Party Places

To this day, the Sip Advisor is still proud to say that he not only celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, live from Dublin, Ireland… but that he also survived the trip! You don’t have to go all the way to the Emerald Island to get your green on, though. Here are the Top 5 most unique St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, from around the world:

#5: Prohibited Partying

The idea of a dry St. Patrick’s Day celebration seems absolutely ridiculous, but that’s exactly what the officials of Hoboken, New Jersey have tried to accomplish with their annual parade. Public intoxication has grown to such extremes for the event that a zero tolerance policy was enacted. To the Sip Advisor, it all just sounds like a challenge: to get as wasted as possible, while avoiding the establishment and their exorbitant ($2,000 minimum) fines. It would be like the alcoholic version of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off!

meanwhile-in-ireland

#4: Shamrock Shake

In the otherwise non-descript town of O’Neill, Nebraska, is the world’s largest shamrock. The massive clover was originally painted in the middle of the road, at the intersection of Route 281 and Highway 20. It has since been reinstalled as coloured concrete, ensuring its prosperity. Founded by Irish national, John O’Neill, the place celebrates in some unique ways, including a Children’s Literature Festival, the reading of Dr. Seuss’s ‘Green Eggs and Ham,’ and a massive fish fry.

#3: High Flying

This one may be hard for the average person to achieve, as I’m sure you need some serious credentials just to be launched into space. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield didn’t let floating high above the world, aboard the International Space Station in 2013, disrupt his celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Hadfield decked himself out in green, performed the song “Danny Boy,” and snapped some photos of Ireland from outside the earth’s atmosphere.

Green Meaning

#2: Fun in the Sun

The island of Montserrat – part of the West Indies – is known as the “Emerald Island of the Caribbean.” It is one of the few places in the world, outside of Ireland, where St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday (Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada, being the others). How did this Caribbean nation become a hot bed of Irish activity and celebration? Well, it was established by Irish refugees, duh! If you visit, your passport will be stamped with a shamrock and you can celebrate a weeklong St. Patrick’s Day festival with a calypso flavour.

#1: Short and Sweet

While the St. Patrick’s Day parade I witnessed in Dublin wasn’t the most thrilling thing I’ve ever seen, it did provide a taste of Irish culture. The festivities in Dripsey, Cork, may have been more up my alley, though. Dripsey is home to the shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world, stretching just 100 yards and starting from one of the town’s pubs, while finishing at the other. That means, you can grab a pint of Guinness at the start and be ready for another round at the finish!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Nutty Irishman

Nutty Irishman Shot

  • Rim glass with Nuts
  • 0.75 oz Irish Crème
  • 0.75 oz Frangelico
  • Garnish with Nuts

Where have you celebrated St. Patrick’s Day? If you’ve hit any of the preceding places, let the Sip Advsior know how it was. You never know where our next travel plans will take us!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I was hoping to rim the glass with Lucky Charms, but I couldn’t justify shelling out $7 for a box of cereal that I don’t really need. The shot was pretty good and any lover of nutty flavours will enjoy it. Best of all, I got to enjoy a ton of Honey Roasted Peanuts in the process of making the shooter!

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Ireland – Blarney Stone

Luck of the Irish

Bouncing around Europe to make sure the Sip Advisor ended up in Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day was a must. Of course, the day celebrates the death of and feast for Saint Patrick. But what do we really know about this patron saint of boozing and his namesake holiday? Luckily for you, my little sippers, I’m here to educate!:

Don't Have to be Irish

Saint Patrick has become a symbol of national identity for the Irish, despite being born in England. He is credited with using the shamrock as a teaching tool and figure for the holy trinity (the father, the son, and the holy spirit… had he plucked a four-leaf varietal, would he have had to make up a fourth element for the concept?). Despite common belief, Ireland’s national symbol is actually the harp, not the shamrock. Mmmm, it gets me thinking of Harp Lager, which is my favourite Irish brewing import.

Patrick worked his way across Ireland setting up monasteries, churches, and schools to help with his converting and was arrested many times by the Celtic Druids (a wicked name for a rock band), managing to escape their capture every time. His inclusion of native Irish rituals helped in bringing people over to Christianity. Patrick is credited with creating the Celtic Cross, by adding an image of the sun (an important Irish symbol) to the Christian cross.

As with most saints, Patrick has been recognized for performing a number of miracles during his life. Those phenomenal feats include driving snakes out of the country, although most scientists believe there were never any serpents in Ireland to begin with. The term serpents could have had more to do with converting paganism followers to Christianity and exiling those who did not wish to jump ship. Legends also state that Patrick was able to raise the dead.

Ireland Snakes

While wearing green is a St. Patrick’s Day tradition, Saint Patrick’s garments were actually blue. I have so much more blue in my wardrobe (it accentuates my eyes!), so I kind of wish we would celebrate March 17 with some historical accuracy. Other traditions for the day include kissing the blarney stone, which for Mrs. Sip and I means going to the local pub of that name and getting drunk enough that your face meets the floor.

The leap year tradition of women proposing to men has also been attributed to Patrick. The account states that when Saint Bridget complained of women waiting too long for men to propose (hey, we’re just enjoying what’s left of our freedom!) Patrick made this little alteration to courtship guidelines. Bridget tried to propose to Patrick, but the wise missionary turned her down.

St. Patrick’s Day is known as one of the booziest days of the year and it was no different in Patrick’s time. He is said to have endorsed drinking on his feast day, stating that everyone should have “a drop of the hard stuff.” Along these lines, it is customary to drop the shamrock you’ve worn on St. Patrick’s Day in your last drink of the evening, thereby ‘drowning the shamrock’.

st-patricks-day-dd

Everyone seems to get in on the St. Patrick’s Day act from the Chicago River in the United States being died green (although that might just be all the people expelling their green beverages) to the Canadian province of Newfoundland celebrating a provincial holiday… I really wish that this would spread across the entire country, rather than the French language. The day is also celebrated in Argentina, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, and other locales around the globe.

And earth’s atmosphere apparently can’t contain the festiveness. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have been known to commemorate St. Patrick’s Day, including American Catherine Coleman playing instruments belonging to Irish musicians The Chieftains and Canadian Chris Hadfield taking photos of Ireland while in orbit and donning green for a rendition of Danny Boy.

File this under the ‘say it ain’t so’ category: From 1903 to 1970, St. Patrick’s Day was a religious observation, which equated to all pubs being shut down each year on March 17. When that law was overturned and the day was recognized as a national holiday, the booze was back. Thank god (or Saint Patrick) we remedied that!

Ireland: Blarney Stone

Blarney Stone Drink Recipe

  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

So, raise your glass (whatever it is, it better be green) and join me in reciting this great toast: “May your glass be ever full. May the roof over your head be always strong. And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead!”

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink is great. It combines three of my favourite ingredients: Whiskey, Ginger Ale, and Lime Juice. The taste is light and refreshing and thanks to the two ounces of booze, you can get pretty trashed just like Saint Patrick would have wanted!