Oh how times have changed… the evolution of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in London

'Paddy's Day' Image: Creative Commons
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The 17th of March is coming round again, bringing with it mid-week drinking and parties across the capital. St Patrick’s Day has become for many a booze-fuelled party across the world with London being no exception, yet the style of celebratory events has changed over the years.

'Paddy's Day' Image: Creative Commons
‘Paddy’s Day’ Image: Creative Commons

 

One main venue that put on celebrations for the Irish community for decades is the Galtymore Ballroom in Cricklewood, North London. For many, this was a home-away-from-home with its traditional events for 50 years until its closure in 2009.

Yet, as with many things, trends change over time and the way people choose to celebrate has altered. Thomas Fay, a 73-year old pensioner originally from Dublin, went to the Galtymore for years. “There were always the best musicians on St Patrick’s Day,” he said. “ A few of the dancehalls in London were good for Irish music but that was the best.”

'Traditional Guinness' Image: Jordan Avis
‘Traditional Guinness’ Image: Jordan Avis

Nowadays, bars and pubs across the capital will be drawing in the crowds through advertising their authentic music, but with more focus on attracting the crowds through cheap drinks and deals.

Blogs and news outlets have been listing the top drinking spots in London for party-goers to plan their evening with the local Faltering Fullback in Finsbury Park being featured on many lists. Traditional Irish stew will be on offer through the evening with many resorting to the traditional Guinness.

'The Faltering Fullback' Image: Creative Commons
‘The Faltering Fullback’ Image: Creative Commons

 

The good news is that for hordes of Londoners, Irish or not, there are endless options for how to celebrate this year. Just a friendly reminder – you still have to get up for work on Friday!

Who was Saint Patrick?

'Saint Patrick' Image: Creative Commons
‘Saint Patrick’ Image: Creative Commons

The Patron Saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick, wasn’t actually of Irish descent. Born in England in 385 AD,Patrick was taken to Ireland as a slave for six years. After committing to a life of religion, he then returned to Ireland around the age of 30 as a missionary which is the work he is known for now. There are many legends and historic stories suggesting particular parts of his work including an explanation for why the shamrock is a significant symbol for Ireland. Historians suggest that Saint Patrick used the three-leaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) to the previously Pagan Irish community. It is said that he died on the 17th of March, a date that is now celebrated worldwide to commemorate not only this individual, but the whole Irish culture.

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