When did St Patrick’s Day become such a big thing here? Has it always been like this?
I grew up in Edinburgh, and it was always a pretty big deal up there; drunk people dressed in green, those massive Guinness hats. I even heard once that the Three Sisters pub in Edinburgh sold more pints of Guinness on Paddy’s Day than anywhere else in the UK.
But in London it’s something else altogether.
Over 125,000 people are expected to descend on Trafalgar Square over the weekend for an array of music, food, ceilidh dancing… and no doubt a pint or two of the black stuff*.
*I met someone recently who had been on a St Patrick’s Day last year where she’d drunk about eight shots of Baby Guinness, thinking they were literally just a little Guinness (they are in fact a mix of coffee liquor and Baileys and probably about 10 times as strong!)
The actual St Patrick’s Day parade will take place on Sunday (between 12-6pm) and goes from Piccadilly to Trafalgar Square. There’s also the official Guinness fan zone at Flat Iron Square which is not only showing all the Six Nations games on Saturday, they’re also celebrating St Patrick on Sunday. There’ll be live music from new wave trad band Beoga (collaborators with Ed Sheeran and Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid), plus the Monster Ceilidh Band, and The McGahan Lees Irish Dancers. Starting from 2pm, entry is £5 with a free pint of Guinness and a St Patrick’s Day hat.
In Wimbledon itself, O’Neills in Wimbledon is an obvious starting point. They’ve got Paddy’s Day deals on every day this week and are having a party on Saturday AND Sunday, with live music aplenty. The Swan on The Ridgeway might be a slightly calmer option, with doors open from 12noon.
And if you’re still feeling a bit too groggy to even face going out after the Six Nations climax on Saturday, you can always grab a little hair of the dog at home. Wimbledon Brewery picked up not one, but TWO Gold medals at The International Brewing Awards, so grab yourself a Wimbledon Pale or Copper Leaf and enjoy your Sunday!