Best of St. Patrick’s Day 2012

In an effort to prove their love for St. Patrick The Patron Saint of Ireland, Irish people all over the world don and dye things green annually to celebrate the man’s feast day on March 17. These are some of the best places to join in the Guinness, Jamesons and Baileys drinking, marching or parading, singing and jigging, and generally rowdy ‘wearing of the green’.

In Chicago the river becomes a ribbon of emerald running towards the pot of gold. The city's St. Patrick's Day organisers have been doing it since 1961 and those responsible claim there’s leprechaun magic in getting the colour just right – especially seeing as it goes on orange then turns the perfect shade of Irish green before vanishing by nightfall…

Montreal has the record for the longest running St. Patrick's Day parade outside Ireland, they’ve been marching since 1824, and there’s a lot of local pride about it - which tends to manifest itself in a competitive spirit when it comes to drinking spirits as well.

London doesn’t like to be shown up by its northern neighbours, or to miss out on an opportunity for some drinking followed by some singing and jigging, and the holiday is well celebrated in the city’s Irish pubs, and not just by the Irish. Trafalgar Square’s fountains are also up for a dying. But it’s Birmingham that boasts the world’s third largest celebrations…

...after New York: which has the world’s largest parade – one which includes marching fire fighters and representatives from the police and the army as groups who love a good parade sing and dance up – and attracts a cheering, green clad audience of around two million – who need to get there before 9AM to bags a good spot, and may have had a drink in one of the city’s Irish pubs before that&. New York’s first St. Pat’s celebration took place in the *Crown and Thistle Tavern (What! Not a shamrock in the title but a thistle!) in 1737, but the celebrations didn’t get out of the pub and on to parading the streets until the 1760’s. This town even has a St. Patrick’s Cathedral...

…Like the St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, where they don’t generally need an excuse to celebrate being Irish, and they have the world’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations. Oh yes, it starts with a parade, but before that there’s the drinking of the Guinness for breakfast, and the painting of the shamrocks on the cheeks, and the pinching of anyone not wearing green and the dancing of jigs. Post parade it’s time for the drinking of the Irish Whiskey, and loud renditions of ‘Fairytale of New York’, and the telling of bad Irish jokes about potatoes in pubs, and the drinking of enough green Guinness to drown a leprechaun village and to turn your waters green at the other end.

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