March 17 is St Patrick’s Day – an excuse to celebrate all things Irish. But it’s more than just wearing green, drinking Guinness, and dealing with a hangover the next day – many people seriously honour the memory of the patron saint of Ireland.
The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years. On St Patrick’s Day, which nearly always falls during the christian season of Lent (it has on occasion been moved due to a clash with Holy Week), Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon.
Today, people of all backgrounds celebrate St Patrick’s Day – including the Danes. Since 2004, Copenhagen has celebrated St Patrick’s Day with family-focused events in and around the city centre.
The highlight of the day is the parade. Starting at Rådhuspladsen at 17:00, it moves through the streets of the city centre. After that, there are plenty of Irish pubs and bars in the city, so finding somewhere to move on to shouldn’t be a problem.
The St Patrick’s Day Parade will take off at 17.00, led by actor Tom McEwan dressed as St Patrick. Individuals and families who would like to take part and walk in the parade are more than welcome – the only requirement is that you wear something green. For those whose wardrobe are entirely bereft of the colour, there is no need to worry – St Patrick’s Day hats and accessories will be available for sale at the St Patrick’s Day shop in the coffee tent from 13:00.
While you’re there, order an Irish coffee or a pint of Guinness between 15:00 and 17:00 and you’ll get a free Tullamore Dew cap or Guinness-hat. There is also free face painting for the kids. Scottish bagpipe band Gordon Pipes and Drums will help to guarantee a festive atmosphere. Lasting about 40 minutes, the parade should arrive back at Rådhuspladsen a little before six.
The day’s celebrations are focused on Rådhuspladsen, beginning at 15:30 with a selection of traditional Irish dancing by the Dark Green School of Irish Dancing, and music – provided by one of the top Irish bands in Denmark, Trad Lads – to get you into the spirit.
St Patrick’s Day Parade
Rådhuspladsen; 17:00; free adm; www.stpatricksdayparade.dk
The Irish Rover offers great live music and craic for the whole family. Start the day with a full Irish breakfast, including a pint of Guinness and a Jameson whiskey for 150kr. For those who enjoy ‘comfort-food’, an Irish stew will be available for free between 17:00 and 18:00. And all this while enjoying performances by Fiddler on the Hoof and Rovers Ahead.
The Irish Rover
Bloomsday Bar offers variety of Irish live acts, including Seán Needham, an Irishman living in Denmark, Dace Jacob Speake, who will release his second album later this year, and the American country rockers of Rainey Brothers.
Niels Hemmingsens Gade 32
The Globe offers several happy hour specials throughout Friday and Saturday. And The Double-Inners will provide live music, from 16:30 on Friday and 20:30 on Saturday.
The Dubliner will provide live music by Julian Oakes, during the daytime – in the evening, Slainte will take over Oakes’ place. There will be free Irish stew available for everyone who participates in the race.
The Three-legged Charity Race continues Copenhagen's wacky Paddy’s Day celebrations, with the 11th annual race. Competitors are tied together and negotiate a 3km course where they need to stop off at six ‘pitstops’ (Irish pubs) along the way. At each pub punters are required to down half a pint of beer and get their scorecard stamped as proof. The race attracts all sorts so whether you’re Irish, non-Irish, tourist, expat or Dane, all are welcome to join the fun.
Three-legged Charity Race
Kennedys Pub, Gammel Kongevej 23, Cph V; registration starts 11:00; 150kr per team; www.paddysday.dk
The Over 40s Run is for those who want to participate in the race, but aren’t really up for the two-hour race against the clock. This event is not so much a race, as a league: starting at 17:00 at Kennedys for registration and leg ties, participants will accumulate points for every drink they have within the participating pubs. The race ends at 23:00, by which time all race sheets must be handed in at the Dubliner.
Kennedys Pub, Gammel Kongevej 23, Cph V; registration starts 17:00; 75kr per team; www.paddysday.dk
The Irish dance workshop is a great warm-up for St Patrick’s Day, where you can learn how to perform the traditional Irish Céilí.
Irish dance workshop
Flamencoværkstedet, Struenseegade 13, Cph N; Sun 11 March, 14:00; 100kr; www.stpatricksdayparade.dk
St Patrick’s Day
Cph K (unless stated); Saturday March 17 (unless stated); remember, everyone’s Irish on St Patrick’s Day.