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The largest ancestry group in Massachusetts is the luck of the Irish! According to the US Census Bureau, 21.5% of the total population in Massachusetts is of Irish decent. That’s about 1.5 million people. In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, we’ve put together the best of all-things-Irish in Newburyport so everyone can revel in tradition, heritage, and community.

(For curious minds, the US Census Bureau also found that the second most populated ancestry group in Massachusetts is Italian with 13.1% and third is English with 9.9% of the population.) 

While St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on Tuesday, March 17, Congress proclaimed the entire month of March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1991. So, let’s get the celebration started!

The History of the Holiday

First, it’s best to know our history before we sláinte (pronounced “slawn-che”). Sláinte is the Irish phrase commonly used in a toast, meaning “health.” 

Many will toast to St. Patrick himself, known to have escaped slavery to bring a Christian influence to Ireland. And as legend has it, he is also known for driving snakes out of the country. Which, oddly enough, Ireland just reported its first venomous snake bite in history. St. Patrick also used the three-leafed shamrock to symbolize the Trinity.

Many more locals will toast to the deep-rooted traditions held in Boston’s south side with one of the first St. Patrick’s Day parades in the world organized by the Charitable Irish Society of Boston in 1737. This Year’s South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place on Sunday, March 15 at 1:00pm.

Keeping with Traditions (and Making New Ones)

More locally, Newburyport is ready to paint the town green with traditions that serve to celebrate the Irish community (and Irish enthusiasts alike). Some may dress in their Sunday best, as St. Patrick’s Day is recognized as a holy day in the homeland. Others may honor the day by stopping in local stores, like Ireland on the Square and Best of British, that supply and showcase imported goods from Ireland all year round. In a modern twist, Face / Food will be hosting a “Keep it Green: Ditch & Switch Day,” where they will be offering a 20% discount to anyone who recycles their empty cosmetics containers in their Terracycle box. 

Many will don green attire, and food and beverage will take center stage. Family and friends will feast on traditional fare, enjoy a Guinness, and maybe even try a green drink. Classic go-to St. Patrick’s Day foods include corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, Irish soda bread, and colcannon. Check out what the locals have in store:

  • The Modern Butcher will feature themed sausages and meat pie stuffed with corned beef, potato, and cabbage. 
  • Bucciarelli’s Butcher Shop & Deli has grey or red corned beef and traditional bangers available for order or try their boiled corned beef + cabbage dinner take out. 
  • Portside Waterfront Kitchen + Bar is serving up Rueben sandwiches and traditional boiled dinners, complemented with festive green drinks selections. 
  • Park Lunch will be serving up corned beef and cabbage dinner, green beer, and live Irish music all day and night. 
  • Mama Dukes has homemade specials in store 3/14 – 3/21, including their Irish Benny on homemade hash, Irish soda bread, specialty corned beef sandwiches, and St. Patty’s Day beverages. 
  • Starboard Galley will be offering a corned beef & cabbage dinner and Guinness beer on St. Patrick’s Day with a chance to enter a charity raffle.
  • Loretta will have Irish Step Dancers on St. Patrick’s Day with corned beef and cabbage served all day.

Ways to Celebrate

Now through St. Patrick’s Day, Newburyport has a host of fun-filled events popping up around town—from Irish step dancing and scenic road races to Irish craft-making and bar crawls. No matter which event you choose, there’s sure to be good Irish cheer in the air. Check out the list of events happening in the area.

  • St Patty’s 5k/10k and Pub Crawl, benefitting Salisbury Beach State Reservation.
  • The Port Tavern brings festive Irish Step Dancing and live traditional Irish music all week long.
  • Newburyport Library hosts a Pot of Gold Craft for tweens on Friday, March 13 at 3:00pm.
  • The Grog presents live music from 4:00 – 6:00pm on St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Blue Ocean Music Hall celebrates with a Blarney Bash featuring Joshua Tree on Saturday, March 14.
  • Face/Food will be hosting a “keep it green” Ditch & Switch day. Recycle any empty cosmetics containers in their Terracycle box and receive 20% off!

Wishing you all a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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