Thank Guinness for St. Patty’s Day

By Veronika Janik

It’s that time of the year again-green paraphernalia, shamrocks, four-leaf clovers, those adorable little people we call leprechauns, one day of solid non-stop boozing, and the inevitable next-day green urine. That’s right folks; it’s St. Patrick’s Day.

This magical celebration means all those of non-Irish descent will spend most of the day half cut “celebrating Irish tradition” and immersing themselves in stereotypical Irish symbols, beliefs, and conventions. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to celebrate culture, many forget or fail to realize the legitimacy of this holiday.

Generally placed in the fifth century, St. Patrick was a Briton who was captured by Irish raiders attacking his family’s estate, and was enslaved in Ireland for six years. He escaped and traveled back to Britain where he was ordained as a priest. Following this, he returned to Ireland to convert the Irish to Catholicism. He was named the patron saint of Ireland, and his legacy continues to be annually celebrated world-wide on March 17th.

‘”The day is closely tied to the politics of Irish identity,” says professor of Music Education and Irish studies expert Jerry Kerlin.

“The Irish as a group are very strong in North America and in the world because they were forced to disperse through famine and political oppression,” he adds.

In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated as a religious holiday for thousands of years. Special masses are held after which individuals dance, drink and feast.

With over 50 million Americans claiming Irish ancestry, there is no surprise that the holiday has become a day of festivity not just in America, but also world-wide.

“The sheer size of the Irish population in Canada makes it a big celebration,” says Kerlin. “In addition, I think it’s easy to appreciate Irish culture. It should be a day to be in solidarity with an ethnic group that has been very productive in North America. There’s nothing wrong with attaching a connotation of celebration or partying. I’ve been known to knock back a few pints myself,” he adds.

So, whether you’re Irish or not, March 17 is a day of celebration. Now that you know the brief history of the holiday, you can begin planning your day by checking out what a few Irish venues will be offering on St. Patty’s Day.

The Seanachie Irish Pub

5909 Signal Hill Centre SW

The Seanachie or story teller, which opened this past summer, offers the authenticity of Old Ireland along with what Calgarians consider a good local. On St. Patrick’s Day, the pub will be overflowing with Guinness and green beer. There will be a Celtic band called The Seanachie starting at 6 p.m. In addition, there will be Irish dancers and bagpipers throughout the day. The menu offers general pub food as well as an extensive traditional Irish section. The age range of clientele is anywhere from late 20’s to 50’s and there is no cover to get in. Managers suggest arriving between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to avoid line-ups.

Current price for a pint of Guinness: $6.25 plus tax.

Molly Mallone’s Irish Pub

1153 Kensington Crescent NW

Situated close to the University, this pub offers a roof-top patio, as well as a huge bar and copious amounts of Guinness. On the 17th there will be entertainment all day long, with Randy Hutchins playing during the day and Jeff Anderson at night. Following with true Irish tradition, there will be no green beer as managers say they would hate to defecate a good pint with green food coloring. The menu contains regular pub food mixed with traditional Irish cuisine. Age range is anywhere from 20-40, with the majority being between 25 and 35. Managers say the pub will be packed by 3 p.m., so it’s best to arrive before then. No cover to get in.

Current Price for a pint of Guinness: $7 plus tax.

Limerick’s Traditional Public House

7304 Macleod Trail South

This two-floor pub located in the southern part of the city has a warm atmosphere that blends Irish, Scottish and Canadian tradition. On St. Patty’s Day, Limerick’s will be featuring a live Irish band called the Smokin’ Clovers, which is a five piece band with a fiddler included. In addition, they will also be offering Irish dancers and bagpipers as well as green beer. Clientele age range is anywhere between 25-50. There is generally a rush from 11-2, followed by an afternoon lull and then mayhem ensues from 4 p.m. until around 1 a.m. Best to get there before 4 p.m. No cover to get in.

Current price for a pint of Guinness: $6.50 plus tax.

The Kilkenny Irish Pub

500-3630 Brentwood Rd. NW

If you don’t want to travel far from the university on St. Patty’s day, this pub is perfect. About a 10 minute walk from U of C and voted Calgary’s number one sports bar, the Kilkenny pub offers a warm and traditional Irish atmosphere as well as traditional Irish cuisine. They will be featuring a live Irish band called Fidello, who will begin playing at 6 p.m., along with Irish dancers and bagpipers throughout the day. There will also be green beer, lots of Guinness, and shooters on special. The Kilkenny has a strong student base, with a large number of customers between 19 and 23. Managers suggest arriving before 4 p.m. No cover for this event.

Current price for a pint of Guinness: $6.25 plus tax.

Fionn MacCool’s Irish Pub

255 Barclay Parade SW

This authentically Irish pub offers a great selection of brews as well as whiskies and cognacs. They will be offering a shooter special on St. Patrick’s Day, however, there will be no green beer. Managers say it is an insult because Irish beer is Irish beer just as it is. There will be live entertainment all day long beginning with a Celtic jam session featuring Staggered Pints from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and another band called Second Fiddle from 4 p.m. to close. There will also be three showings of Irish dancers. In addition, there will be a feature menu, which offers a variety of dishes, all containing Irish beer. The age range is quite broad, with the main clump being 30’s business class. Fionn MacCool’s opens at 11 a.m. and is generally full by 11:30 a.m. on St. Patty’s Day. With that being said, one option is waking up, skipping your morning classes, and heading directly to the pub. There will be no cover, however, the pub is accepting donations for charity.

Current price for a pint of Guinness: $7 plus tax.

The James Joyce Authentic Irish Pub

114 8 Ave SW

This is about as authentically Irish as you can get. Named after the celebrated Irish author, James Joyce, this pub offers a relaxed setting, with dark mahogany woods and artifacts from all over Ireland. On the 17th, James Joyce’s will be featuring different kinds of Irish imports. There will be no green beer, as the managers say that is not an Irish tradition. In addition, there will be prizes for a draw, two live bands, Fraid Knot and Tir-na-nog which means land of the young. There will also be Irish dancers and a full Irish menu. Tickets for this event are $10 in advance and $5 at the door. Advanced tickets allow you to leave the pub and re-enter without cost. Situated in the business district, the crowd is a bit older and business class. Nonetheless, students are welcome and should be there before 3:30 p.m.

Current price for a pint of Guinness: $7.10 plus tax.

Regardless of where you go, have a pint, and tip your glass to the strong and proud nation of Ireland.

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