A Litany O' Fun For St. Patrick's Weekend

By Ben Taylor

Mar. 18, 2011

A float from the 2009 St. Patrick's Day parade. (don'twakemeIplanonsleeping/Flickr)

They say everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day. This may or may not be true, but whats certain is that Massachusetts -- and Boston in particular -- gets especially decked out for St. Patrick's Day weekend. Enter our St. Patrick's Day weekend guide o' fun, which will help you and your family decide how to spend this lucky weekend.

Friday, March 18

Irish band Téada. (WGBH: A Celtic Sojourn)

WGBH's St. Patrick's Day Celtic Sojourn
Friday at 8 p.m. in Cambridge; Saturday, Mar. 19 at 8 p.m. in New Bedford

Mark the "high holidays" of Irish music with WGBH's own Brian O'Donovan, a variety of musicians, dancers, and surprise guests. Featuring the young Irish band Téada, singer and accordion player Séamus Begley from the Dingle Peninsula and the Tiperarry-born uillean piper Michael Cooney -- playing the Irish form of the bag pipes.

Celtic Music Weekend in Norwell
9 p.m. Friday

The Norwell pub and music venue The Tinker's Son is carrying today's celebration over to the rest of the weekend with even more of Celtic-rock acts, headlined on Friday by Dublin Free Press.

Sunday, March 20

Boston's St. Patrick's Day Parade,
Sunday, Mar. 20 at 1 p.m.   

The annual tradition brings bag-pipers, step-dancers and Bostonites of all stripes to the streets of Southie. It's one of the country's largest events of its type, with some estimates of up to 1,000,000 viewers in past years.

South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade, 2009. (RacelVoorhees/Flickr)

South Boston Road Race
Starts at 11 a.m.

Whether to work off some corned beef- or Guinness-related calories or just to contribute to the local Boys and Girls Club, you can spend the couple of hours preceding Sunday's parade running the length of Southie and back.

Holyoke Parade
Starts at 12 p.m.

This 60th annual parade is likewise one of the largest in the country, with elaborate floats and all sorts of other spectacles. The town also holds a ten-kilometer road race on Saturday, which is followed by a ceremony to lay a wreath at a memorial to John F. Kennedy and a mass in the evening. The parade will feature the presentation of an award to Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and notable Irish-American David McCullough.

Over the Weekend and Next Week

Other Parades around Massachusetts
Other notable parades are happening around the Boston area and across the state, as well as in Manchester. Some took place in the weeks leading up to the holiday, but there are still parades to come in Abington, Scituate (both this Sunday) and elsewhere.

A float at the 2009 parade in Scituate, said to be the most heavily Irish community in the state. (Chris Devers/Flickr)

Irish Film Festival
Thursday, Mar. 24 to Sunday, Mar. 27

Decelerate from all of this weekend's festivity with this 12th annual sampling of new and notable Irish films and documentaries, showing at Boston's Stuart Street Playhouse and the Somerville Theater in Davis Square.


Irish Heritage Trail
After St. Patrick's Day has stimulated your interest, expand on your appreciation for the state's largest ethnic community by exploring these landmarks and neighborhoods. The trail designates sites significant to Irish-American culture and history around the city and throughout Massachusetts.

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