Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in London
Each year, around this time, people are telling stories about they have links to Ireland to give them an excuse to raise a glass or two on St Patrick's Day. However, celebrating the Irish Patron Saint can be much more than just getting a few rounds in at your local. In London, there are many ways to celebrate this March 17th.
Who is Patrick?
A lot of what is known about Patrick is taken from the Declaration, which he is thought to have written himself, so the accuracy of his legacy may be slightly skewed. According to his tale, Patrick was a Roman Britain in the fourth century who was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken to Gaelic Ireland to be a slave. During this time, he found God while working as a shepherd and fled to the coast, where there was a ship waiting for him and he went back home.
He then worked to convert pagan Ireland to Christianity and allegedly drove snakes out of the country, though Ireland has never had any snakes. Patrick died on March 17th and is reportedly buried at Downpatrick and has gradually become Ireland's most famous saint.
Whether you believe the story and legends that surround St Patrick or not, you can celebrate the day along with everyone else and London is a fantastic place in which to do it.
How you can mark St Patrick's Day in London:
Trafalgar Square Festival
There are few places more iconic than Trafalgar Square and every March the whole area is taken over by performances to celebrate the Irish ties that London has. Stars from the West End will be joined by Irish acts and choirs from the local community to entertain the masses between March 17th and 19th. Stand-up comedian Jarlath Regan will be hosting a huge céilí that will take place on the stage in Trafalgar Square.
If you can tear yourself away from the action, there will be a wide variety of Irish food on offer. Both modern and traditional fare will be served up at the street food market, so you can sample the roots and future of Irish cuisine. As well as this, there will be a tea tent that will allow you to warm up with a mug of something warm and a slice of something sweet.
Join a walking tour
If you and your other half are looking to learn a little more about the connection between London and Ireland during your stay, then a walking tour may be exactly what you're after. There are three main tours that are officially commissioned for the London Festival and focus on different areas of Irish history:
Terrible beauty - March 17th, 2pm
Meeting at Nelson's Column, this walk looks at London's connection to the Easter Rising, which saw thousands of Irish people rebel against the country's British rule. It was the most significant rising from Ireland in nearly 200 years and marked the start of the country's fight for independence. This walking tour takes you on a journey from Trafalgar Square to Whitehall and explains how London played a part in the rebellion.
Where the String Broke - March 18th, 2pm
This walk will start at Camden Town tube station and take you on a tour of Ireland via London's pubs, clubs and hostels that gave the city its strong Irish influence. Camden is home to a number of ballrooms, pubs, churches and hostels that have been frequented by some of the biggest Irish characters to come to London.
The Emerald City - March 19th, 2pm
Meeting at the steps of St Paul's Cathedral, this walk goes along Fleet Street and to Covent Garden, taking you on to some of London's Irish hotspots. From pubs to churchyards and theatres, learn about the influence that Ireland has had on this thriving city.
Be entertained on the Underground
There will be a selection of free Irish-themed performances happening on the London Tube network on St Patrick's Day itself. Visit Victoria, Waterloo, Tottenham Court Road or Covent Garden Tube stations to get an authentic experience of the Emerald Isle this March.
Image credit: Elenachaykina via iStock