A seasonal blog entry? Who would have thought. This one is a little different from my previous posts but when Edinburgh’s newest lifestyle magazine, Opulence, asked how an Irish gal in Edinburgh spent the big day I just couldn’t say no.
WearWhatWorks steps away from the usual attire and, as Regina George would say, on St Patrick’s Day we wear green!
So let’s start with a little background, we need a reason to celebrate this fantastic day. St Patrick’s Day, traditionally, is the Feast of Saint Patrick, a cultural and religious celebration held on 17th March every year. Patrick started out as a lonely herdsman, held captive at the age of 16 tending sheep and pigs in County Antrim which resulted in him turning to prayer. He later escaped and sailed back to England where he became a priest and is known for converting many people to Christianity, decades later, upon his return to the Emerald Isle. He really was pretty something, our Patrick!
The modern St Patrick’s day? A day filled with plenty of Guinness, music, Irish dancers, parades, ginger wigs and lots and lots of green! Have a read as I explain old traditions, what you must wear and most importantly, a few of my favourite places to celebrate such a day in Edinburgh!
There are only two kinds of people in the world, the Irish and those who wish they were! So go on, St Patricks is a free passport to all, get involved!
A wise person once said, “Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper” this old saying couldn’t be more a kin to the day. The morning wake up call is the waft of home cooked sausages, bacon, egg, white pudding, black pudding, beans, tomato, potato bread and a generous helping of soda bread to soak it all up; everything to make the perfect full Irish breakfast! This will ‘line your stomach’ and (hopefully) prevent the inevitable onslaught your body is about to experience. A crucial start to the day, so be warned!
Next up, the most important and chic accessory of the day…Shamrocks! Usually bought last minute in the corner shop at the bottom of the road, awkwardly wrapped in tin foil, and pinned onto your aran jumper, which has been brought out especially for the occasion (brownie points if it is green!). These are worn all day, however, granted they will be wilted by the time you step foot in mass (before you’ve even had time to say ‘forgive me, father!’)
The next traditional activity allows us to ask for forgiveness before the shenanigans have even begun. Pay a visit to your local chapel but don’t worry, it wont eat into the Six Nations time!
Sweets, chocolate and crisps, the three no-go’s during the period of Lent for me (6 weeks before Easter). Traditionally a time to give up something you love in an effort to create a challenge for yourself, or in my case, to stop me eating a share bag of mini eggs every night in the lead up to Easter! The beauty of St Patrick’s Day? The lent promise can be broken, guilt free! So after that fry up, lunch is chocolate (with a side of chocolate) and crisps (strictly Tatyo) are consumed for dinner, simples! Don’t worry, sweets are compulsory throughout the day, a sugar boost is needed at a number of intervals. Reminder to self: it’s a marathon, not a sprint!
In schools, the work place and group chats, Paddy’s Day is discussed for weeks on end. A frequent, and very serious, topic of conversation which must not be taken lightly… ‘WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR, SERIOUSLY?’
‘I haven’t a clue, I own nothing green, it doesn’t suit me’
‘Our Paul said he has an Ireland top he would lend me, would that look ok on me’
‘What jacket am I going to wear, I don’t want people to think I’m not wearing green, could you imagine the embarrassment?!’
It is a testament to our heritage to wear something (anything, everything) green on the day or at a stretch a GAA top from that team you played for in primary school, simply to let everyone know how proud you are to be Irish. I mean, Obama approves!
When you have rattled through the above, the only thing left to do is grab a cold drink (you’ll be needing it by this stage) and see where you end up! One word of advice, don’t make plans! Let the people you meet and shoes on your feet determine what direction your St Patrick’s Day flows in!
Looking for a lively crowd? Keep scrolling to check out my fav places to celebrate in Edinburgh!
St Patrick’s Festival: Welcome to Edinburgh’s Little Ireland
This festival kicks off on Thursday 15th March giving you plenty of time to indulge in all things Irish (mainly Guinness). Prepare yourself for 3 days of music and comedy throughout 9 stages and 5 venues (& more Guinness). Sign up for guest list wristbands (here) and get free entry into The Three Sisters, Biddy Mulligans, Cabaret Voltaire and Espionage paired with cheap booze. If your an early riser for the occasion, bag yourself a Irish Breakfast served from 8am in Biddy Mulligans (Saturday and Sunday!!) or 9am in The Three Sisters (tradition #1 ticked off the list!)
Catch Brian McFadden & Keith Duffy on the main stage at The Three Sister’s on Friday as a warm up to the main event, or save yourself until Saturday where you can catch The Rubberbandits in Cabaret Voltaire, Jedward in Espionage or witness the record for the longest St Patrick’s Day DJ set which begins at 9am at The Three Sisters- early risers assemble! When the black stuff gets too much, switch it up! Rumour has it that Cabaret Voltaire are serving green beer… I’m sold! When you have done the rounds, prepare for table dancing and classic tunes to carry you through the night in The Three Sisters – the mothership of Edinburgh’s Paddy Day celebrations!
Make your own Irish fry and dander to the hidden door of Dropkick Murphy’s for midday on Saturday. Watch all the Six Nation’s Super Saturdays excitement with the main event on at 2:45pm – COME ON IRELAND! Or drop in for live music from 7pm and get comfy on the dancefloor, it doesn’t stop until 5am. The perfect hideout for the absolute party animal!
The all new and improved Malones Irish Bar is situated on the West End with a host of activities happening throughout the weekend. A great meeting spot to make your way into town, with irish dancers and a trad session scheduled for the weekend, it’s sure to be one not to miss!
Celtic Caledonia: A Celtic Faery Tale An irish and Highland Dance Experience
When: 31st March 2018 Where: The Jam House, Queen Street
Don’t fancy the crowded bars? Cowgate not the place for you? Don’t worry, St Patrick’s Day doesn’t have to end on the 18th. Grab a ticket to watch Edinburgh’s award winning Irish dance troupe in the highly anticipated Irish and Highland fusion show with a 100 strong cast! A foot stamping performance is bound to take place so make a night of it, get the girls together or make it a date night, either way it will be a night to remember!
Good old St Patrick was also said to have performed miracles and built churches throughout Ireland. I’m thinking we might need a miracle to get into the Three Sisters on Saturday but I’m not convinced that was one of his well known ones. So that’s it, my take on St Partick’s Day in Scotland’s capital. I’m away to dig out my best green’s…
Whatever you get up to, make it a good one! If you enjoyed this blog post or tried and tested any of the traditions or venues, leave a comment and let me know!
For now, enjoy the Guinness, slainté!