The Boston Irish are arguably the most Irish of all Irish-Americans, and on St. Patrick’s Day they set out to prove it. From parades and musical events, to films and historical walks, to restaurants and bars, St. Patrick’s Day in Boston is a special day, and a special weekend at that. Here then are just five of the best ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day 2018 in Boston.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade
South Boston Allied War Veteran Council
South Boston, MA 02127
Even though the St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held the day after St. Patrick’s Day (Sunday, March 18), that is not a problem for the Boston Irish. It just means that the celebrations can go on for another day – or for some, the morning after the night before. The parade has a long and storied history, and, fittingly, winds its way for four miles through the most Irish part of Boston: Southie. Floats, bagpipers, high school marching bands, veterans associations and, of course, the Boston Police Department march up and down Dorchester Ave, starting, quite appropriately, at the James A. Kelly Bridge.
117 E. Berkeley St.
Boston, MA 02118
J.J. Foley’s has been in the same Irish family since it starting pouring beer in 1909. While there are over 100 Irish bars in Boston, J.J. Foley’s is the best known and the most iconically Irish of the lot. There are lots of Irish beers and whiskeys to choose from, as well as a number of items on the menu that have an Irish flavor (and not just those with grilled Irish bacon). There are a lot of whimsical items on the menu as well, such as Foley Fireballs (deep-fried mac and cheese) and the Hellfire Burger, and there is always Irish Brown Bread to compliment any meal that doesn’t come on a bun.
Dropkick Murphy’s Concert
House of Blues
15 Landsdowne St.
Boston, MA 02215
The Dropkick Murphy’s are Boston’s most famous Irish musical group, and they have never forgotten their roots (not like their fans would ever let them, of course). Although they play in venues all around the globe, they always come home for St. Patrick’s Day, and they always put on a series of shows at the House of Blues to mark the holiday. This year they will play five shows: three at 6 PM (Thursday the 15th, Friday the 16th, Sunday the 18th) and two on St. Patrick’s Day itself, at noon and 9 PM.
Irish Heritage Trail
Boston Common Visitors Information Center
139 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02111
Why is Boston considered so Irish? Take a walk along the Irish Heritage Trail and see for yourself. Visiting so many places in Boston where Irish immigrants made their mark is more than just an educational or tourist experience; it can be a very moving one as well, especially for those whose families came from the old country back in the Colonial era, in the days of The Famine, or during the American Civil War.
There are 20 stops of note on the Boston Irish Heritage Trail, which runs from the Rose Kennedy Garden to Fenway Park, with stops honoring the city’s Irish of note, from mayors and soldiers to commodores and scholars. Guided tours are available on select weekend days – including, of course, St. Patrick’s Day and the day after, March 18. Tours begin at 1:30 PM on both days, and start from the Boston Common Visitors Information Center. The 90-minute walk is $15 for adults, $12 for students, and free for children. Reservations are required, as the tour group is limited to 25 people. Visitors, however, can walk the trail on a self-guided tour at any time.
Irish Film Festival 2018
Somerville, MA 02144
Every year the lovely old art deco Somerville Theatre hosts an Irish film festival. This year will be the 18th annual festival, and it will be held for four days, from March 22 through 25. The entries are judged and four prizes are handed out for Most Inspiring Short, Best Breakthrough Feature, and Director’s Choice for both Short and Feature films. The non-profit organization behind the festival was formed to promote Irish cinema and to “bring the very best of Ireland and the Irish to audiences around the world.”
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