Like many holidays over the past 365-or-so days, St. Patrick’s Day won’t be the same as in years past, as most events have been cancelled or gone virtual. Despite still having to distance and be mindful of capacity numbers in restaurants, greater Boston finds itself a little more practiced this year and quite prepared to make March glow green with Celtic spirit once again.
Although the annual parade in South Boston is idle, performances inspired by St. Patrick’s Day haven’t disappeared. Brian O’Donovan, a fixture on local radio for two decades as host of GBH’s “A Celtic Sojourn” Irish music program, brings back his A St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn (pictured) as an online event March 11–17. Streaming from many locations and hosted by O’Donovan, the broadcast partially benefits the theaters around New England that would normally be hosting this Irish-themed concert and dance extravaganza in person. Another staple of the season are the Hub’s favorite ambassadors for Celtic-tinged punk rock, the Dropkick Murphys. For the second year in a row, the band is hosting a virtual version of its annual St. Patrick’s Day shows. This time, the March 17 live stream, which begins at 7 p.m., is free thanks to a generous sponsor, although donations are appreciated to help keep the group’s crew afloat and their expenses paid during these trying times.
Corned beef and cabbage is a treasured Irish-American culinary tradition this time of year, and a great place to indulge is at the St. Patrick’s Week festivities hosted by Canton’s Irish Cultural Centre of New England. Enjoy this and more on March 17 at three seatings (1:30, 3:45 and 6 p.m.). Live Irish music streams into the pub and dining room, and reservations are required. For those who’d rather celebrate at home, takeout—complete with accompanying pints of Guinness, of course, as an option—is available. Closer to the Hub, vegetarian restaurant Clover Food Labs, which boasts a dozen Boston area locations, is offering two "Irish-inspired" meal boxes, including an Irish breakfast feast and a St. Patrick's Day dinner package with Irish stew, shepherd's pie, potato pancakes, a kit for baking your own soda bread and more. There's also a mix 12-pack of mostly local beer available (there had to be some Guinness, naturally), as well as a "pot of gold" contest to win a variety of Clover gift sets with all kinds of goodies. Orders can be placed now for March 16 pick up or delivery. To experience Irish culture in liquid form, join the barbecue mavens at The Smoke Shop BBQ, at least virtually, for an Irish whiskey tasting, which includes a mixer kit for a drink dubbed "cold Irish coffee," three different whiskies and a barbecue meal. Reserve now and you can pick up the libations and food at any location March 16 between 3–6 p.m., and then join the Zoom gathering that night at 7 p.m.
Boston has a long, treasured history with the Irish, so immerse yourself in this illustrious past by taking your own self-guided excursion down the three-plus-mile Irish Heritage Trail in honor of Ireland’s patron saint. Beginning at the Rose Kennedy Garden in Christopher Columbus Park in the North End—the neighborhood where the mother of famed Irish-American and former U.S. President, John F. Kennedy, was born—and ending at Fenway Park—constructed by Irish builder Charles E. Logue—the Trail encompasses 20 sites and memorials related to the Hub’s Hibernian heritage. Details about the Trail and other related sites throughout the state of Massachusetts can be found on the organization’s website. Explore Irish-ness even further at the annual Irish Film Festival Boston, which brings the best in contemporary Irish shorts, features and documentaries to these shores in a virtual format between March 17–22.