By JILL DIAMOND | Downtown News
St. Patrick’s Day arrives on Tuesday, March 17, and you best be ready.
Whether you truly are of Irish descent or just want to be Irish for the day, there’s plenty of activities and places to drop by to celebrate the popular holiday. While it’s now a nearly global celebration, it was first created to honor St Patrick, an Ireland patron from the fifth century.
Several local bars and pubs are orchestrating various events and specials so put on your green attire, order some corned beef and cabbage, and a pint of Guinness along with the rest of the revelers come this St. Paddy’s Day.
According to Dan Lang, general manager at Hennessey’s Tavern in La Jolla, this is the biggest day of the year for the venue by far. Some of his favorite Irish sayings include: “Eirinn go Brach,” which translated in English is, “Ireland forever”; “slainte!” which means “cheers!” or “cheers to your health”; and “ni neart go cur le cheile,” which means, “there is no strength without unity.”
And a couple of his personal favorites:
“If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough!”
“May you be at the gates of heaven an hour before the devil knows your dead”
Festival and parade
Before imbibing some Irish whiskey and good ol’ Irish food fare, you might want to kick off the St. Patrick’s holiday by going to the San Diego’s Largest St. Patrick’s Day Block Party 2020 on Saturday, March 14, from 2 p.m. to 11:55 p.m. Come celebrate shamROCK’s 26th year and paint the Gaslamp Quarter green with Irish fun across 50,000 square feet of green Astroturf, three stages, the shamROCK Shenanigans block and more. It’s located in the Gaslamp Quarter at Sixth Avenue between E and G streets.
You can also partake in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, dubbed the “largest parade west of the Mississippi,” on March 14, at 10:30 a.m., on Fifth Avenue at Laurel Street. Here you can join thousands of marchers and spectators celebrating the patron saint of Ireland. There will be more than 120 parade entries, floats, high school marching bands, police and fire department units, dancing groups, equestrian units, clowns, dignitaries and honorees, representatives from Ireland, as well as classic cars, Irish setters and more.
Irish Festival in Balboa Park
From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and following the parade, visit the Irish Festival in Balboa Park (Sixth and Maple) featuring live entertainment. In the morning, there will be Irish step dancers followed by a full afternoon lineup of Irish folk singers and bands. All day there will be craft booths, a Celtic Food Village and other food booths, a beer garden, and a kid’s zone.
In La Jolla, one of the most popular places to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day is at Hennessey’s Tavern, located at 7811 Herschel Ave. The venue has been serving up Irish hospitality since 1976 and will do the same on St. Paddy’s Day. You can order a St. Patrick’s Day 2020 men’s or women’s T-shirt before they are history for $18 plus tax and shipping, too. Stop by for Irish nachos, a Dublin burger, as well as Irish whiskey, Irish coffee, beers and more. The location will be offering traditional Irish fare including shepherd’s pie, fish ’n chips, Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage dinners, corned beef and Reuben sandwiches in addition to its regular menu. It will also be offering “buy-one, get-one-free hamburgers” including the special burger of the month, The Irishman.
The Gaslamp District has numerous Irish pubs where you can pub hop from one to another including Patrick’s Gaslamp Pub at 428 F St. The rocking pub has live music and has been in the same historic location since 1933.
The Field Irish Pub at 544 Fifth Ave. offers traditional Irish pub grub and pints from 11-2 a.m. The staff invites all to enjoy a pint on its “favorite holiday,” which of course is St. Patrick’s Day.
The Dubliner at 554 Fourth Ave. is a traditional hangout where St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with Irish and American “pub grub, live music, and sports on TV plus local and imported brews.”
After you have had your share of Gaslamp District pubs, head to Hooleys Public House with locations in El Cajon and La Mesa at 500 Grossmont Center Drive, No. 247.
Both pubs showcase “authentic decor from Ireland, including polished brass whiskey stills and old church pews that have been repurposed to create the bar.” On St. Patrick’s Day, join the team for a pint and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Enjoy live music at both pubs starting at 3 p.m.
Have fun, be safe and enjoy the many St. Patrick’s Day happenings!