Celebrate St. Patricks Day 2014 in St. Louis

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Everyone is Irish in St. Louis this March as special events celebrating the Emerald Isle – including two major parades – are staged throughout the city.

Here are all the details on the parades and runs, plus recommendations on the area’s best Irish pubs and restaurants

Michelob Ultra St. Patrick’s Day Parade Run
Lace up your running shoes to take part in the five-mile Michelob ULTRA run on march 15. The annual event starts at 9 a.m. Broadway & Walnut, and concludes at 8th Street. View Race Route For more info: www.irishparade.org

The Downtown Parade
On March 15, the streets of downtown St. Louis will become a sea of green as thousands of visitors attend the annual St. Patricks Day Parade. The parade kicks off with tons of elaborate floats, marching bands and larger-than-life helium balloons. The festivities begin at noon at 18th and Market streets near St. Louis Union Station and end at Broadway and Market Streets. Grab a piece of sidewalk anywhere along the route to see the sights and take part in one of the happiest days of the year with some of your closest friends. Before or after the parade, stop by the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark Irish Village in Kiener Plaza for food, shopping and live music from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more info: www.irishparade.org

The Hibernian Parade in Dogtown
Every year on St. Patrick’s Day, crowds flow into the Dogtown neighborhood for the Ancient Order of Hibernians Parade beginning at 12:30 p.m on Monday, March 17. Featuring family clans, marching bands, floats and Irish music and dance, the parade begins at Tamm and Oakland avenues and ends at Tamm and Manchester. After the parade, the crowds stick around for a big street party. For more info: www.stlhibernians.com

Laclede’s Landing
The Laclede’s Landing entertainment district, along St. Louis’ Mississippi Riverfront, gets in on the act on March 15 with festivities from 2 p.m. until the semi-wee hours of 10 p.m. The area’s restaurants, nightclubs and bars will offer Irish-themed food and drinks, including favorites such as Irish Stew and Corned Beef and Cabbage. Get information at www.LacledesLanding.com or 314-241-5875.

Irish Restaurants and Pubs
St. Louis has some of the best Irish restaurants and pubs, at least in my opinion. You can certainly bet they will all be packed, but after the parades, they’re a great place to celebrate. Here are my favorites:

The Dubliner Irish Pub & Bistro
Located on the trendy Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis, the Dubliner is also the “hip” Irish place in town. With the loft feel it makes it a great alternative to a cramped and smokey Irish bar. There’s live music on weekends and great Irish food.

Llywelyn’s
If you’re looking for a true Celtic good times this St. Patrick’s Day, make Llywelyn’s Pub your destination – there are six to choose from!  Enjoy Corned Beef and Cabbage specials, an Irish Menu, traditional Irish libations, and live Irish music that will have you dancing a jig!

Maggie O’Brien’s
Another popular spot for the after-parade party is Maggie O’Brien’s at Market and 20th. Aside from serving up some of the best food in downtown St. Louis, Maggie O’Brien’s has become a local hot spot for live music, pub theater, St. Louis sports, holiday parties and private events. In short, whether you’re a St. Louis native or just visiting for the weekend Maggie O’Brien’s is your St. Louis Entertainment Destination. You can never go wrong with any of our trademark dishes like the O’Hen-essy, Maggie’s St. Louis Style Ribs, Dexter’s Irish Beer Cheese Soup or the Paddy Babe’s Original Smoked Corned Beef.

The Precinct Bar & Grill
Enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day Saturday breakfast at The Precinct on Saturday March 15 from 7-10 a.m.  Before the big parade begins indulge in some of your favorites including eggs, bacon, smoked ham, hash browns, biscuits and gravy and a small stack of pancakes (pick 3 or pick 5).

Tigin Irish Pub
A gathering place to enjoy humor, hospitality, fine Irish food and drink. When you want to meet friends for good drink, good food and good conversation, Tigin Irish Pub is your place. Open early for European sports and Irish owned with those authentic roots anchoring a contemporary approach to great food, drink and banter.

Irish Heritage, History and Culture: Dogtown’s Hibernian St Patrick’s Day Parade
St Patrick will surely be a smiling when the Irish parade in Dogtown, St Louis’ Irish neighborhood.

“What makes our St Patrick’s Day parade special is its history, It’s held in St. Louis’ last true Irish neighborhood,” said Jim Mohan, spokesperson for the Ancient Order of Hibernians, noting the 2014 parade marks its 29th year in the old neighborhood.

“We’re different than the St Patrick’s Day parade held downtown, which is always held on a Saturday. We always have our parade on St Patrick’s Day – March 17th,  no matter the day of the week. Another thing that sets us apart is we focus on Irish history, heritage and culture. And while we’ve been known to have a politician or two march in the front the parade we keep out commercial advertising.”

A key element to the Hibernian parade is the marching of family clans. Each year St Louis Irish families gather and parade down the street together; each carry signage with their clan’s name. Some build and ride elaborate homemade floats.

“Over the years the floats have gotten bigger and the number of clans and units marching now number a hundred,” said Mohan.

The Hibernian’s will step off their parade at 12:30 p.m. at the overpass at Turtle Park at the intersection of Oakland and Tamm Avenues. Traditionally, the parade would travel from Oakland south bound on Tamm to its destination, St James Catholic the Greater Catholic Church. Now the parade continues six more blocks to Manchester Road, Dogtown’s southern border.

St James the Greater Catholic Church, whose identity is still considered Irish, remains the day’s epicenter for family activities, corned beef and cabbage dinners, Irish music and dance. It’s also a prime location for parade watching where it’s not unusual to see the crowds swell to 20 deep. Mohan advises to visitors to arrive early to find and stake out a spot along the parade route.

Besides St James Church, a stop at one of Dogtown’s legendry Irish hangouts as Pat’s Bar and Grill (6400 Oakland) and Seamus McDaniels (1208 Tamm) is considered a must.  Throughout the day Seamus’ and Pat’s offer indoor and outdoor service. Pat’s located at the beginning of the parade route opens at 6 a.m. where according to servers the parade’s faithful assemble for an Irish breakfast.

Besides early breakfasts the pubs will offer limited menus. But the best bet for lunch and supper is at St James Church, where corned beef and cabbage dinners will be served from 11 am to 7 pm.

“It’s St James’ biggest fundraiser of the year,” said Mohan who encourages the patronage of St James and all the Dogtown businesses. “ They’ll be plenty for all to enjoy for all the places along the route gets involved in St Patrick’s Day. Even those without Irish names.”

St Louis Irish Trivia

  1. St Louis’ first St Patrick’s celebration was held in 1820.
  2. By 1820 one out of every seven St Louisians was a native of Ireland, second in number only to the French.
  3. The first Irishman reached St Louis in 1779. His name was Kennedy and was killed as he ran from an Indian attack – dying on the threshold of the city.
  4. Joseph Charles, an Irishman who had fled Ireland after the Irish Rebellion, founded the Missouri Gazette, the first newspaper west of the Mississippi in 1808.
  5. Urban legend says Dogtown got its name during the 1904 World’s Fair when Philippine natives who had a taste for dog meat captured area dogs.  More likely Dogtown was named for the poor Irish miners who settled in the area during the late 1800s. According to local historians, Dogtown was an old mining term relating to the shacks and settlements miners lives.

Hibernian St Patrick’s Day Parade Tips

  1. Parade Parking: It’s a first come first served basis on St Patrick’s Day, March 17. Best parking recommendation is the South Lot of the St. Louis Zoo.
  2. Hours: All outside sales in the Tamm area will close at 6 p.m. Inside sales will close at 8 p.m., allowing establishments and the neighborhood ample clean up for the following day’s business.
  3. The Hibernians and the Dogtown Business Association encourages all who choose to drink to drink responsibly.
  4. Don’t drink and drive. Call a ride services are available during the day on request.

Irish Heritage, History and Culture: Dogtown’s Hibernian St Patrick’s Day Parade portion of Blog written by St. Louisan Suzanne Corbett.