St Patrick’s Day was, as usual, celebrated in style this year. With over 900,000 ethnically Irish people living in the capital, it was sure to be a weekend to remember (or not) with many different events taking place across London between Friday 17th and Sunday 19th March. Whilst we may not have had the famous Parade winding down our streets, there was certainly a bar crawl or two taking place, soaking up the most popular sights (and pints) in Shoreditch. Here is a roundup of what happened in our neck of the woods over those three wonderful days.
This may be stating the obvious, but we certainly enjoyed a drink or two over the weekend. It is estimated that 13 million pints of Guinness are drunk worldwide on St. Patrick’s Day alone, and we were able to contribute a fair few glasses to that number. Blueberry – Sink Pong was one of the many places to celebrate with special drinks offers including 3 pints of Guinness for just £12 and shots of Jameson whiskey for £3.50. Irish burgers were also served throughout the night to help soak some of the alcohol up. Another popular spot, for a more refined whiskey experience, was Black Rock on Christopher Street. The main attraction in this small, underground bar is a 185-year-old oak tree which has been cut in half and transformed from a simple piece of timber to a stupendous, whiskey-filled table. Different channels, each holding different whiskey cocktails, have been carved into the trunk and can contain 17 litres of whiskey cocktails at any one time. The whiskies, which will change over time, reach your glass through custom-made taps at each end. With a huge range of overseas whiskies to choose from this made an excellent stop-off place for a dram as well as to sample another Irish-themed dish, Guinness fried oysters.
St Patrick’s Day is synonymous with singing, dancing and general merriment. We may not have had these London Underground Irish dancers with us, but we certainly had a jig or two of our own. One of the coolest pubs in Shoreditch, The Crown and Shuttle, held a party in honour of St Paddy on the Friday night. Alongside the beer, top of the bill were Beltane, a lively Celtic band. BOXPARK were also on hand to ensure there were plenty of dance floor opportunities. DJ Siggy Smalls provided a contemporary St Patrick’s Day soundtrack for revellers who were also treated to free samples of Jameson whiskey, ginger ale and lime cans of drink during the night.
We toasted absent family and friends
Yes, we drank (again), this time to raise a glass of cheer to absent family and friends. One in six Irish-born people currently live overseas, the highest proportion of any country within the OECD. We toasted far flung acquaintances all around the globe as well as those in Shoreditch who have fallen in love with the area since emigrating here. We also had a night cap for those who live too far and couldn’t join us for the night. Some were working, some were too tired to go out and preferred to stay at home and join in the festivities online. They at least had many opportunities to celebrate online though, with Facebook Messenger offering St Paddy’s day themed overlays/filters on their My Day’ feature. Others took to Irish-themed games, with the Lucky Leprechaun slot, available on Betway casino celebrating all things Irish in a title featuring fiddles, jigs and reels. Made by software developer Microgaming, the slot was not only there for the festivities but is available year-round on the casino. The Google homepage also had a special Irish doodle for the day which featured the Skellig Michael World Heritage Site situated off the coastline of County Kerry. The doodle shows two anthropomorphic shamrocks doing a high five hands on the remote island – and since it was on Google, the importance of the day was hard to miss even by those who may have been living under a rock.
We dressed up
Some of us dressed up smartly. Others donned their annual Paddy’s paraphernalia. Think green wigs and oversized hats in the shapes of pints of Guinness. Fancy dress costumes are easy to acquire and there were plenty of leprechauns (male and female) and shamrocks on parade. Green face paint was also popular this year as well as limited edition St Patrick’s Day t-shirts, included in some of the specially organised tours, such as those by 1 Big Night Out. There were plenty of party goes on their bar crawls, which took place in Shoreditch as well as Camden and Central London over the course of the weekend.
We admired the street art
St Patrick’s Day has seen some pretty spectacular ways of celebrating over the years. In Chicago, the river has been turned green with vegetable dye before to mark the day, while the statue of Christ the Redeemer was illuminated with similar coloured spotlights. We didn’t do anything quite so dramatic in Shoreditch, but moving from one bar to another gave us a chance to take in some of the neighbourhood’s ever-evolving street art. In particular, we stopped and admired the Irish wolfhound by Irish artist James Earley. Earley, famous for his representations of animals in motion, also painted the bull on the Old Truman Brewery Gates on Buxton Street. If you’re interested in seeing pieces in daylight, then Shoreditch Street Art Tours have plenty of information about the plethora of work and run regular morning and afternoon guided walks.
All in all the St Patrick’s Day weekend offered a great chance to go out, meet up with friends and (re)discover some of the great bars and clubs in Shoreditch. It’s not too early to start thinking about next year’s celebrations either. Whether you want to join us on an organised bar crawl or on an independent itinerary, you are more than welcome to celebrate the famous saint with us on 17th March 2018.