Been searching for St. Patrick’s Day plans in the D.C. region? Luckily you just found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow—we’ve rounded up some of our favorite Irish-inspired festivities and food specials happening this month in Alexandria to help you go green in a big way:
35th Annual Ballyshaners St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Saturday, March 5, 2016
Did you know that Alexandria was home to the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the DC area? Of course you did. On Saturday, March 5, the tradition continues in Old Town, where the Ballyshaners (Gaelic for “Old Towners”) host the 35th annual parade and related festivities. This year’s parade theme is “A New Republic is Born,” commemorating the centennial of the Easter Rising of 1916.
The parade officially starts at the corner of King and Alfred streets at 12:30, then moves east to finish at the corner of King and Lee streets. Among the Irish dancers, dignitaries, a dozen marching bands and dogs galore, see if you can spot the leprechaun atop the Hard Times Horse—er, Unicorn. Tip: this parade draws thousands of spectators and participants, so taking Metro is highly recommended.
Classic Car Show
Before the parade, check out the Classic Car Show from 9-11:45 a.m. on Pitt St. between King and Cameron streets, where hot wheels from midcentury America and earlier will be on display. If you miss the show, no worries—the winning entries will also appear in the parade.
Fun Dog Show
After the car show, head over to the end of the rainbow—I mean, Market Square—for the cutest sight you ever did see at the “Fun Dog Show.” Starting at 11 a.m., Alexandria’s top dogs of all sizes and breeds show off their Irish finery, competing to win Best Tail Wag, Smallest Dog, Biggest Dog, Best Irish Costume, Best Adopted Dog and Best Owner/Dog Look-a-like. Proceeds benefit the Alexandria Animal Welfare League. For everyone who needs a double dog-dose, you can also see the pups at the head of the pre-parade at noon.
Eat, Drink and Be Irish All Month Long
In Alexandria, St. Patrick’s day is more than a one-day celebration—we keep it going all month long with extraordinary Irish-inspired specials that go way beyond green eggs and ham. Stop by these places on Parade Day, on St. Patrick’s Day, or any time in between:
Authentic Irish Cuisine with Alexandria Chef, Cathal Armstrong
Native Dubliner chef Cathal Armstrong’s recipes are a mouth-watering treat any day of the year, but you won’t want to miss his authentic Irish specials going on this month at his Alexandria restaurants. After all, the James Beard nominated chef did write the cookbook, “My Irish Table”, making him our resident expert for Irish cuisine in Alexandria–with no shortage of options for even the pickiest eater.
You can enjoy Chef Armstrong’s fare at Restaurant Eve, or skip right to the drinks at nearby speakeasy PX, featuring St. Patrick’s Day inspired drinks from mixologist and restaurant partner Todd Thrasher.
Craving Fish n’ Chips? Head to Eamonn’s: A Dublin Chipper, named for Armstrong’s son, and enjoy pub-style Irish food in the space below PX.
For those looking to celebrate at home, Society Fair is offering a chance to bring Ireland home with you, including a $49 “Irish Date Night Bag” with traditional St. Patrick’s Day fare direct from Chef Armstrong’s cookbook.
Pubs & Pints
This year, Murphy’s Irish Pub is going all out with celebrations now through the 17th. On Saturday, March 5th, the doors will open at 9:00 a.m. for the annual parade, with live music starting at 10 a.m. Check out the Murphy’s website for more information on Irish dancing, the annual Pour the Perfect Pint challenge, Irish trivia night, and a Taste of Ireland with Jameson Whiskey. Special for St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th, there will be no cover charge and music all day.
Daniel O’Connell’s is as close as you can get to Ireland without a plane ride. This authentic Irish pub is an Alexandria classic, and features an array of historical antiques crafted in Ireland, some over 400 years old! See pieces of Ireland in the salvaged bar and stained glass windows from Waterford Castle, which was erected in the 1500’s. O’Connel’s will be hosting live music starting at noon on St. Patrick’s day, along with lunch and dinner specials.
During the week leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, The Dairy Godmother in Del Ray will be whipping up fresh soda bread to celebrate. Stock up early and grab some custard from one of Obama’s favorite sweet spots in the D.C. region!
More Pubs and Restaurants
Other great hangout spots for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Alexandria include Fish Market, Bugsy’s, Hard Times Cafe, Union Street Public House, Chadwick’s, Theismann’s, Light Horse, Bilbo Baggins, Mason Social, Ramparts Tavern and Grill, and Virtue Feed and Grain.
For more information on the March 5th St. Patrick’s Day Parade, click here. For more places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Alexandria, click here.