On St. Patrick’s Day, “there are only two kinds of people in the world, the Irish and those who wish they were.” And if you’re not Irish (I’m German, Norwegian, Swedish and French), you can still celebrate with the best of ’em on or near March 17, from a weekend of “all things Irish” at the James J. Hill House and Landmark Center to the popular St. Patrick’s Day parades in St. Paul and Minneapolis to lively celebrations at Irish bars in the metro. Even if your last name isn’t Fitzgerald, O’Connor, or Murphy, just wear green—and remember a few key Irish expressions—and you’ll fit right in: “Erin go bragh!” (Ireland forever!), “May the roof above us never fall in, and may the friends beneath it never fall out!” “May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks, may your heart be as light as a song, may each day bring you bright, happy hours, that stay with you all the year long!” and perhaps the most important expression of all “Sláinte!” (Cheers!).
Irish Heritage at the James J. Hill House
March 15 – 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
March 16 – 1 to 3:30 p.m.
James J. Hill House, 240 Summit Ave., St. Paul
Celebrate Minnesota’s Irish heritage with Irish songs and stories about James J. Hill’s wife, Mary Theresa Mehegan, and her Irish roots, as well as the Hill house servants. Learn how Hill acquired fame and fortune through building the Great Northern Railway. Tours are $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and college students, $6 for kids 6-17, and free for children 5 and under. Reservations can be made by calling 651-297-2555.
The Wee Leprechaun Costume Contest
The Normandy Inn & Suites, 405 8th St. S., Minneapolis
There are costume categories for kids ages one to three, four to six, and seven to nine, as well as a family category. The winner receives a Wii game system, and every entrant receives a little goodie bag.
Get Lucky 7K and Triple 7K (Half Marathon)
Half marathon starts at 8:30 a.m. (route is in St. Paul)
7K race starts at 9 a.m. (route is in Minneapolis)
Start the weekend with a “fun, friendly, and festive” race, filled with plenty of green, white, and plaid. Spectators can watch costumed runners along the course in either St. Paul or Minneapolis.
Irish Day of Dance and 33rd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Irish Celebration, in partnership with the Irish Music and Dance Association (IMDA)
Landmark Center, downtown St. Paul, 75 West 5th St. (facing Rice Park, next to the Ordway and The Saint Paul Hotel)
Irish Day of Dance March 16 – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
St. Patrick’s Day Irish Celebration March 17 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Attractions include local and regional Irish music on four stages, performances by traditional Irish dancers, the Irish Marketplace featuring Celtic vendors, merchants, and artisans, traditional Irish food and American style sandwiches, local and Irish beer, children’s crafts (free of charge), children’s entertainment catered to the “wee ones,” and seminars on Irish music and language. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for kids 5-12, and may be purchased at the door or online at irishmusicanddanceassociation.org. Group discounts can be arranged by calling IMDA at 612-990-3122 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
48th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade
St. Paul — The parade travels west along 5th Street beginning at Broadway, wraps around Rice Park, and turns south on Washington and east on 4th Street. The viewing area is on 5th Street between Wall and Washington and around Rice Park.
The St. Paul parade—a special tribute to St. Paul’s Irish community—began at Gallivan’s restaurant and bar back in 1967. The focus ever since has been on family groups, encouraging walking and family units and discouraging motorized vehicles (there’s a float for Ms. Shamrock and the celebrity grand marshal, and that’s about it). All units pay to participate and provide their own signage and banners. Blarney Brothers and Miss Shamrock contestants raise money for the parade and local nonprofits and charities.
Minneapolis St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Nicollet Mall (11th Street down to 5th Street)
The Minneapolis St. Patrick’s Day Parade is just as much about promoting awareness and raising funds for charity as it is about having fun. Proceeds from the $5 button sales benefit Camp Needlepoint, providing unforgettable camping experiences for kids living with diabetes.
Irish bars in the metro area
Jake O’Connor’s, 200 Water St., Excelsior. There’s still time to sign up for the Luck O’ The Lake 5K Fun Run, taking place on Saturday, March 15 in Excelsior. Race fees benefit community events. On St. Patrick’s Day, celebrate at Jake O’Connor’s with authentic Irish food and drinks and be part of a large, high-energy party. jakeoconnors.com
Claddagh Irish Pub, Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, 7890 Main St., Maple Grove. The weekend kicks off on Friday, March 14 with free 2 Gingers Whiskey samples from 4-6 p.m., followed by live music by 3 Birds; Saturday brings even more live music; and Sunday, March 16 is “Family Day” complete with live Irish rock and a chance to meet a leprechaun at 1 p.m. The action-packed celebration concludes with all-day entertainment and drink specials from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day, including a toe-tapping Irish dance performance at 4:30 p.m. claddaghirishpubs.com
Blarney Pub & Grill, 412 14th Ave. SE. (Dinkytown), Minneapolis. March 17 will be rockin’ with live music all day, “Irish Trivia” in the Blarney Basement at 2 p.m., and Jameson toasts randomly throughout the day. blarneymn.com
Keegan’s Irish Pub, 16 University Ave. NE, Minneapolis (St. Anthony East neighborhood). Party in the tent Saturday, March 15 and Monday, March 17. Doors open at 9 a.m., Four Pints Shy play Saturday, while Erin Rogue and the Minnesota Police Pipe Band play on St. Patty’s Day. See the new Dedication Wall featuring Irish American peace officers and firefighters. Don’t forget to order a Guinness (aka a “pint of gat”)—Keegan’s is continuously honored by Guinness for the way they properly pour and serve their beer. [*Fun fact, on any given day 5.5 million pints of Guinness are consumed around the world. On St. Patrick’s Day, that number more than doubles to 13 million pints.] keeganspub.com
Kieran’s Irish Pub, 85 6th St. N., Minneapolis. Kieran’s will be open at 7 a.m. on Saturday, March 15 for 6 Nations Rugby fans and those participating or cheering for participants of the Get Lucky 7K. At 4 p.m. the live music starts (and goes until bar close). A DJ keeps the party hoppin’ in the heated tent, complete with an expansive dance floor. On St. Patrick’s Day, the party continues with The Current’s morning show from 6-10 a.m., and live music from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. kierans.com
Merlins Rest Pub, 3601 E. Lake St., Minneapolis. Take part in some serious Irish whiskey tasting on March 17: Jameson Black Barrel, Tullamore D.E.W. “Phoenix” limited edition, Knappogue Castle 16 year, and Red Breast 12-year-old cask strength. See the website for more details. merlinsrest.com
O’Donovan’s Irish Pub, 700 N. 1st Ave., Minneapolis (across from First Ave). Live music starts at 2:30 p.m. on the busiest day of the year. odonovans.com
The Local, 931 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. Enjoy fish and chips and some good craic on St. Patrick’s Day (The Local is on the Minneapolis St. Patrick’s Day parade route). the-local.com
Celts Irish Pub and Grill, 14506 S. Robert St., Rosemount. 651-322-7995. You’ll have a “whale of a time” with old friends and new at this neighborhood Irish bar on March 17. Be sure to try the corned beef and cabbage.
Charlie’s Irish Pub at the Water Street Inn, 101 Water St., Stillwater. Enjoy a five-course whiskey dinner and hand-rolled cigars, join the Jameson Whiskey Club, and if you’re one of the first 50 to enter the pub, you’ll score a free t-shirt. Save 50 percent off hotel rooms Sunday and Monday at the Water Street Inn. charliesrestaurant.us
Pub 112, 112 S. Main St., Stillwater. St. Patrick’s Day festivities include traditional bagpipes and DJ Gonzo in the upstairs Whiskey Lounge on Saturday, March 15, and on St. Patrick’s Day, a performance by American Idol contestant Chris Lawrence, DJ Gonzo spinning upstairs, and a Pot-o’Gold guess for a chance to win a $100 gift card. pub112.com
St. Louis Park
Cooper Pub & Restaurant, 1607 Park Place Blvd., St. Louis Park. Traditional Irish food, whiskey, beers and fun for the Irish and Irish-loving people. Live music starts at 4 p.m. cooperpub.com
Kip’s Authentic Irish Pub, 9970 Wayzata Blvd., St. Louis Park. Live music all weekend, green beer March 15, Kilbeggan Distillery Whiskey Tasting March 16 (8 p.m.), and KDWB Live from 6-10 a.m. on March 17, followed by bagpipes and live music. kipspub.com
O’Gara’s Bar and Grill, 164 North Snelling Ave., St. Paul. Live music all day March 17, no cover, 23rd Annual World’s Shortest Parade (lasting from 3:30 to about 3:35). ogaras.com
Patrick McGovern’s, 225 West Seventh St., St. Paul. Party in a tent on Monday, March 17 following the St. Paul parade, mingle with the Minnesota Police Pipe Band, and dance to music by Three DJs starting at 2 p.m. Close to 20,000 customers are served at McGovern’s on St. Patrick’s Day. No cover charge. patmcgoverns.com
Shamrocks Grill & Pub, 995 West Seventh St., St. Paul. Enjoy live music, an outside tent party, a leprechaun look-alike contest, a green hair contest, bag pipes, corned beef and cabbage, and drink specials throughout the weekend and on St. Patrick’s Day. crnook.com
The Liffey Irish Pub, 175 West Seventh St., St. Paul. The Liffey is a hot-spot following the annual St. Paul St. Patrick’s Day parade. theliffey.com
O’Malley’s Irish Pub, 1775 Radio Dr., Woodbury. Start the weekend with a Fish Fry Friday ($9.95 includes two piece fish and chips and a pint), followed by a tent party Saturday, March 15 with music by Righteous Rock. The kids have their own special day on Sunday, March 16 at the “Kiddie St. Patty’s Party” complete with face painting, balloons, and crafts, starting at noon. On March 17, O’Malley’s will be packed with those who enjoy a fun atmosphere and authentic Irish food and drinks (Finnegans, Harp, Guinness, and Smithwicks on tap) on this special Irish-American holiday. omalleys-pub.com