Atlantic cousins pull out all the stops for St Patrick's Day

Atlantic cousins pull out all the stops for St Patrick's Day

CRAIC & CREOLE A St Pat's parade wends its way through the Irish Channel neighbourhood of New Orleans (picture Matthew Hinton/AFP via Getty Images)

ST PATRICK'S  is an excuse for a massive knees-up across North America. You’ve just about got time to book a flight to celebrate the saint Stateside reports PHIL CAMPION

St Patrick’s Day parades of New York, Chicago and Boston are well documented. Whether it be the NYPD pipe and drums, a local union turning the Chicago River emerald green or another incredible hooley in Boston. But celebrations of our patron saint are not restricted to those three cities as folks with and without proud Irish ancestry parade, dance and celebrate across America.

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah is a great place to visit anytime,. The old city is an immensely attractive place, with Spanish moss hanging from the oak trees that line the streets and city squares.

Georgia’s warmer climate attracts the third largest USA attendance for its parade. At an average temperature of around 20C in March, this could be one of the most comfortable places to watch the parades. This year, on March 16, Savannah will celebrate 200-years of honouring our patron saint with a spectacular three-to-four-hour parade — ‘Southerners’ will be partying for several days with visitors from all over the world.

Proud to be known as the ‘Gone with the Wind’ city, Savannah has encouraged those with Irish ancestry to celebrate with the each year. Its historic squares and port offer much to the visitor complemented by renowned fine dining and cultural hubs. Its proximity to Florida, Charleston, South Carolina, Louisiana and New Orleans provides ideal locations for twin breaks.

New Orleans, Louisiana

The New Orleans St Patrick’s parade on Sunday, March 10 is the beginning of ten days of Irish celebrations in the Big Easy. For a city that excels at having wild times, you may be sure that on St Patrick's Day the citizens will throw a party to remember.

It’s impossible to get bored in New Orleans, a city that stays open for fun 24/7. This is the birthplace of jazz, and the epicentre of Cajun culture and cuisine.

It’s rumoured that the jazz bands along Frenchmen Street play a very mean version of Danny Boy come St Patrick’s Day.

Detroit, Michigan

Dignitaries from Co. Cork joined the parade on a cold Michigan Sunday in 2023. They soon warmed up as more than 80,000 revellers cheered on the 65th Detroit St Patrick’s Day Parade. This year's parade is on Sunday, March 10. Massive crowds will watch marching bands, floats and Irish clubs processing down Michigan Avenue to are known as, appropriately enough Corktown.

Once the St Patrick festivities are over, take in the classic cars on display at the Detroit Historical Museum on Woodward Avenue in the city's Cultural Center Historic District in Midtown Detroit. It chronicles the history of the Detroit area from cobblestone streets, 19th century stores, the auto assembly line, toy trains, fur trading from the 18th century, and much more

At the Motown Museum Motown Museum on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit—east of Rosa Parks Boulevard — you can get the whole lowdown on how Detroit turned into one of the great music cities in the world. Crossing the border to Canada, you can drive to Niagara Falls in less than four hours from downtown Detroit.

KICKIN' UP THE COBBLESTONES Old Philadelphia (Getty Images)

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The ‘City of Brotherly Love’ oozes history. St Patrick’s Day was celebrated in Philadelphia back in 1771, five years before the Declaration of Independence. Though many of the Irish immigrants and their ancestors over the last four centuries moved away from ‘Philly’, people of Irish descent form the largest ethnic group in the city and surrounding counties. Around 20,000 will be cheering on Sunday, March 10 at America’s second oldest parade.

There’s a lot to see in the city and on its waterfront - pretend you’re Rocky Balboa and run up the steps of Philadelphia’s Museum of Art, or stand beside the famous Liberty Bell.

The Liberty Bell, originally cast in England and recast in 1753 in Philadelphia, originally hung atop the Pennsylvania State House. It was subsequently adopted by abolitionists, suffragists and justice-seekers across the globe as an enduring symbol of freedom. The Bell is now in the Liberty Bell Center. You can view, but you can’t ring it — as far as I could find out.

‘Philly’ has many museums and cultural spots as well as a variety of food options from the famous Philly cheesesteak to fine dining.

San Francisco, California

America’s west coast will also be paying homage to Ireland’s Saint. Over 100,000 people will attend San Francisco’s St Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday, March 16. American razzamatazz joins Irish heritage as around 100 floats, dance troops and marching bands head to Civic Center Plaza.

There is an endless number of things to do in ‘Frisco’ such as seeing the Golden Gate bridge or visiting Alcatraz. Dining at Fisherman’s Wharf is not to be missed and with the average daily temperature of 18C in March, a walk on a Californian beach is an inviting option.

South of ‘San Fran’ on March 16, Hermosa Beach celebrates St Patrick with a two-hour parade followed by three hours of music. Two miles of ocean frontage and 94 acres of public beach make Hermosa a great party place. It’s located 21 miles from Downtown Los Angeles.

Kansas City, Missouri

Fifty years of St Patrick's Day parades will be celebrated in midtown, Kansas City. This part of Missouri will turn green for the weekend as its 50th parade takes place on Sunday, March 17. Back in 1999, there were an estimated 400,000 revellers and the parade committee is hoping for a big turnout in 2024. ‘Snake Saturday’ kicks off a two-day family-orientated festival including a cook-off and children's tournaments. It's a jazz city famous for its barbeques. Several museums and galleries cover everything from cowboy art to Edward Hopper.

St Louis, Missouri

Saturday, March 16, St Louis, a three–and–a–half hour drive east from KC, hosts its 55th parade. If you prefer the blues to jazz this is the place to come, with scores of bars and venues dedicated to dominant 7th chords — think The Thrill is Gone by BB King.

St Louis is known as the ‘Gateway to the West', a vibrant place where paddle steamers travel the Missouri River. Around 5,000 people will participate in the St Patrick’s parade and are expected to be cheered on by over 250,000 spectators with every type of entertainment tagging along for the craic.

Denver, Colorado

The first official parade in Denver since the 1920s went ahead in 1963 and has been in operation ever since despite their inaugural parade being blighted by one of the worst windstorms in years. Around 250,000 people are expected to attend this year's parade on Saturday, March 16. The Irish parade will have a ‘Western Twist’ with horses and stagecoaches joining the floats, marching bands and dancers.

It is known as the ‘Mile High City’ because it is on top of a mountain range. There should be plenty of snow on Colorado’s mountains in March but even if skiing is not for you, the 400-mile trip to the Rocky Mountains from the city will bring lasting memories

Phoenix, Arizona

The March 16 bash in Phoenix will be one of the ten largest St Patrick's Parades in the US. The 41st annual parade features traditional floats, dancers and Celtic rock bands - green beer is on tap. If you’re looking to get away from the ice, snow and rain, Phoenix is warm all year round with highs of 25 C in March.

Americans head to their fifth-largest city to take in the many resorts and top golf clubs. The Grand Canyon is a four-hour drive away,

Toronto, Ontario

The Canadians celebrate St Patrick from coast to coast and Toronto will attract over 100,000 spectators as 5,000 participants sing dance and dazzle the crowd on Sunday, March 17. There will be a diverse range of floats and parade participants including entries from Barbados and the other Emerald Isle, Montserrat. Each year the Mexican Folk Ballet brightens the parade in recognition of the Irish soldiers who fought for their country during the Mexican-American War. Previous parades have welcomed entries from Brazil, China, Iceland, India, Japan, the Philippines, Scotland, and the Ukraine. There is so much to see in the vast state of Ontario including Niagara Falls, a 90-minute drive from Toronto. It turned green for St Patrick's Day in 2023.