The travel experts at Cheapflights.ca are in the party mode and have compiled a Top 17 St. Patrick’s Day Party Towns around the world where the streets (and pubs) will be lined with “green” on March 17.
The lively Irish culture and influence reaches to every corner of the world and following are seven of Cheapflights.ca’s top picks found on this side of the pond:
!!! Boston, Mass. – About one million celebrants flock to South Boston each year where Saint Patrick’s Day features the second-largest parade in the US (New York is in first place).
!!! New York, N.Y. – The world’s oldest and largest parade is run entirely by volunteers. Some families have been volunteering, turning a stretch of New York green, for generations. There has been a St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York since March 17, 1762.
!!! Chicago, Ill. – There are several miracles associated with St. Patrick. He converted the Pagan Irish to Christianity, brought people back from the dead (as well as a horse and some mad cows owned by his aunt). The greatest, of course, was driving the snakes out of Ireland. So, it makes sense that a river might miraculously turn green for a few hours on March 17. Every year, with a little bit of help from the local plumbers union, the Chicago River magically turns green; this year, the river will be dyed March 15 at 10 a.m. The city’s parade route starts at the corner of Columbus Drive and Balbo then meanders North to Monroe.
!!! Montreal – As one of the founding groups of Montreal, the Irish have always had their place in the Francophone city. This year, the parade is March 16 (the 191st consecutive parade starts from the corner of du Fort Street at noon and marches east as far as Phillips Square), but the United Irish Societies of Montréal start to celebrate in February by raising the Irish community flag outside Place Ville Marie.
!!! Toronto – Half a million spectators wearing some little shred of green line the parade route between Bloor St. and Queen St. at Nathan Philips Square. The Toronto St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a festival of St. Patrick, Ireland, Canada and multiculturalism. There are colourful, spectacular floats from a variety of cultural groups. 2013’s parade featured 70 marching sections and 28 bands. This year, at the 27th annual parade, there will be an Olympic gold medalist Grand Marshal (Katie Taylor, a boxer – the current Irish, European, World and Olympic Champion), dancers from the Native Canadian Centre and marchers from Scouts Canada.
!!! Montserrat, Caribbean – Montserrat, a lush little island in the Caribbean is also nicknamed the Emerald Isle. That’s where the similarity to the other Emerald Isle ends. Looking at temperature and rainfall, Montserrat enjoys a balmy 17-degree average temperature with about 400 mm of rain each year. In Ireland, the average temperature is 10 degrees and average annual rainfall can be in the region of 1,400 mm. Montserrat has a strong Irish heritage, however: In the 17th century Irish Catholics, persecuted on other Caribbean islands, found a welcome home on Montserrat. The same Irish Catholics had originally been banished from Ireland by Oliver Cromwell. This is also the only country outside Ireland where St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday. A week-long St. Patrick’s Festival (March 9-18) is held; it’s a fun fusion of Irish, African and Caribbean culture, and one of Montserrat’s most popular annual events.
!!! New Orleans, La. – The St. Patrick’s Day festivities in New Orleans run March 13-23. The city’s Irish heritage stretches back to the 1840s, and in the home of Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day is done a little differently. It’s the only parade where you can leave with the ingredients for a traditional Irish meal. During the Metairie Road St. Patrick’s Day Parade – the largest of the parades – float riders chuck green beads and trinkets for spectators to catch. They also pass down potatoes, carrots, cabbages, onions and seasonings for an Irish stew. The annual Metairie Road St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place from 11 a.m. until around 3 p.m. March 16. There are six parades in total and festivities are spread throughout the Greater New Orleans Area.
Clearly, there are plenty of party options in the Americas for St. Patrick’s Day. However, if you find yourself in any of the remaining corners of the world – Europe, Asia or Africa – check out these towns where you are sure to have a memorable St. Paddy’s Day: Dublin, Ireland; London, England; Birmingham, England; Cape Town, South Africa; Moscow, Russia; Tokyo, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; Munich, Germany; Bologna, Italy; and Sydney, Australia. To read the details on these and Cheapflights.ca’s complete Top 17 St. Patrick’s Day Party Towns, visit http://www.cheapflights.ca/travel/top-17-st-patricks-day-party-towns .