To get a feel for how a major city celebrates, it’s probably a good idea to visit around St. Patrick’s Day. March 17th is not only the day when Irish people celebrate their identity, but many other countries celebrate their own Irish connection. Paddy’s Day celebrations are famous and reflect the deep impact that Irish diaspora have made abroad.
Whether you’re working in a new city, or simply travelling there to enjoy the long weekend, it’s well worth visiting a city if St. Patrick’s Day is on its events calendar.
In Dublin, St. Patrick’s Day has become almost as much a party for tourists as for the locals. Some Irish traditions have been retained in the capital, such as the wearing of green (Ireland’s traditional colour) and the fact that it is a national holiday. If you are teaching in Europe and have some time off, we highly recommend you make a trip to the home of St. Patrick and celebrate in style! Indeed if you do make it to Dublin for the celebrations we have lots of tips on how to spend your day….
The most popular “tradition” is the St. Patrick’s Day parade, which in fact is a relative newcomer having been imported from America in the 1970s. Dublin’s main parade usually starts around midday and takes a couple of hours to wind its way from the north to the south of the city. With impressive floats and international participants, it is a spectacular occasion for kids and adults alike. Added to this is a range of artistic and family-friendly events, organised as part of a four-day festival.
Of course, no Paddy’s Day would be very complete without a trip to the pub. Temple Bar, the centre of tourism and parties in Dublin, is packed with revelers for the duration of the day. Don’t be disappointed if you can’t find green beer though – the Irish never tamper with quality alcohol and you’ll be hard pressed to find green food colouring in any of your beverages!
St. Patrick’s Day is also a significant event in Asia. The Irish Association of Korea has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day annually since 2001 with parades and celebrations (featuring “Korean U2”) in Itaewon, Daehangno and Cheonggyecheon. This year is their 18th event and they’re expecting thousands of spectators again.
China is also adopting the Irish national celebration, with festivities in the major cities. The larger cities with Irish pubs will of course be celebrating with various offers, including green pints (you may have to dress in green to qualify!). Check out Paddy O’Sheas, Xian @ East. Red Dog or Eudora Station in Beijing for food and drinks or for the more discerning, the 27th annual “Beijing Irish Ball” will take place on Saturday, 23rd March 2019 in the Kempinski Hotel in the Beijing Lufthansa Centre, with the Irish ambassador to China, Eoin O’Leary, due to attend. Black tie attire required – check out https://www.eventbank.cn/event/19995/ for details.
In Shanghai, you can choose from The Blind Pig, Big Bamboo, Logan’s Punch, Abbey Road and The Blarney Stone amongst others for food, drinks, live music or televised 6 Nations rugby matches (Saturday 16th) or check out the Shanghai Comedy Bunker for their Stand-Up Comedy Showcase on Friday 15th March at 9pm. If you’re in Shenzhen, check out McCawley’s Irish Pub in Futian to try their “Lucky Clover Bar Run“, The Terrace or the Craft Head Tap House or head to Sculpting in Time Cafe (Shekhou) for the Zip Improv Comedy St. Patrick’s Day Show on Saturday, 16th March at 8pm. Elsewhere in China or other parts of SE Asia, check out your local Irish pub for their Paddy’s Day events and specials!
The “greening” of the Great Wall of China is now an annual event. Other landmarks in China going green for St. Patrick’s Day this year include the Canton Tower in Guangzhou, the Grand Kempinski Hotel in Shanghai and the Nanjing Eye. Elsewhere in Asia, the list includes City Hall in Seoul, Pen Monument at Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi and Straits Quay lighthouse in Penang. Check out the one nearest you if you are teaching in Asia this year!
So there you have it! As an “Irish mardi gras”, St. Patrick’s Day provides a unique opportunity not only to get to know a city, but also to make your own Irish connection. With parties and parades on offer to all inhabiting or visiting these cities, all that’s left to do is dig out your greenest finery, dust off your drinking boots and celebrate all things Irish.
Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig (Happy St. Patrick’s Day)!
If teaching English in Asia with the opportunity to travel could be for you, check out our article on this at: https://www.teachersforasia.com/teaching-english-overseas-after-university/. Our News section is full of interesting articles on teaching and travel in Asia, the application process and many useful tips and advice: https://www.teachersforasia.com/category/news/.