For the Irish, St. Patrick’s Day is a very different kind of March 17 than the way it’s come to be known in the United States and Canada. Until recently, its roots that run deep in the religious history of the land meant that pubs were closed in Ireland. It was church in the morning, a bit of Irish bacon and cabbage in the afternoon. No parades, no tipsy bagpipe players … and no green beer. Slowly but surely, however, the Irish have begun to encourage tourists to view their ancestral home as a place to unfurl a bit of Gaelic pride.
These days, Dublin is the home base for St. Paddy’s in old Eire, but if you’re at The Links Cottages at Doonbeg, have no fear. There’s plenty to do in the vein of a celebration. Let’s take a moment to touch upon some of the highlights, and some ways to make it a quality time of year in a very Irish way.
Parades to the North:
If you do mean to see a float or two during your St. Patrick’s journeys, you’ll want to trek about an hour west to Killaloe. That’s where the Ballina-Killaloe Parade ends up, a while after 2 pm. Not only are there floats and prizes, but there’s also a tradition of decorated shop windows along the north-south route.
A Bit of Old Ireland:
If you’re out and about, why not take in some of the historical sites surrounding Doonbeg? With some as close a 20-minute drive, and some a bit more than an hour by car, you can take in the Vandeleur Walled Gardens and Bunratty Castle, Quin Abbey and Castle Dungaire. On all of these reminders of the past, the Doonbeg website carries more information.
Pubs Around the Corner:
Maybe your idea of St. Patrick’s Day is about something other than driving. Or maybe it’s about driving a few holes of golf before taking in the spa on The Links grounds. After that, you’ve got a host of nearby choices for a pint or two of cheer. In Doonbeg alone, there’s Igoe Inn, Comerford’s, Madigans, Morriseys Seafood Bar and Grill (just reopening on March 15, 2012), and Turbidy’s. Many of these spots feature music as well as warm hearths and foamy brews.
Before and After:
Whatever your St. Patrick’s Day idea, if you happen to be with us for longer than just the week of March 17, don’t pass up some spectacular ways to take in Irish culture before and after St. Patrick’s proper. There’s the West Clare Drama Festival, running from March 3–12; and then there’s the Kilrush Traditional Horse Fair, just a quarter-hour south, on March 22.