St. Patricks Day in Dublin – 10 spectacular events

With St. Patrick’s Day less than a month away, it may be time to start making some serious plans. If you have tired of drinking stale green beer and attending arbitrary parades that rarely coincide with the real St. Patty’s Day, then maybe it is time to celebrate the Irish festival in the land where it all began – Ireland.

In a country with pubs older than the Magna Carta, history abounds. You come to Ireland for this history, and perhaps the Guinness. Beyond these draws though, the kindness, spirit, and wit of the Irish is what truly sets Ireland apart. What better way to take in St. Patrick’s Day than with some gregarious locals in the Irish capital of Dublin?

Since Ireland was hit with a particularly nasty strain of the financial crisis, great deals are to be had. You can rent a car and take to the countryside for less than 10 Euros per day. Posh hotels like the Merrion that used to cost fortunes can now be had for just a hair over one-hundred US dollars per night. Round-trip flights from major U.S. travel hubs hover around $600. If ever a time existed to visit the Emerald Isle, that time is now.Dublin throws an amazing party for St. Patricks Day with events catering to both the boozy crowd and culture seeking revelers. The festivities last from March 16 to March 20, with the big parade on March 17. You can view the events program at the St. Patrick’s Festival website, but ten of the highlights include:

1. In the footsteps of St. Patrick walking tour – walking tour of Dublin based on St. Patrick, with the tour comes discounted entry into the Guinness Storehouse – free if your name is Patrick

2. Kilfenora Ceili Band – a 100 year old traveling Irish dance band

3. CEOL St. Patrick’s Day Eve – several well known Irish musicians perform on Vicar Street

4. Ganon Cup University Boat Race – a 60 year old tradition pits University College Dublin against Trinity College Dublin on a boat race down the River Liffey

5. St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Ireland’s top performance acts line the streets in an unforgettable parade

6. City at Play Funfairs – parts of Dublin are turned into Carnival fairgrounds

7. Text in the city – the audience texts topics to the Irish comedians onstage that perform hilarious skits similar to “Whose Line is it Anyways”

8. Between the Canals Premiere – movie premiere for a “gritty energetic urban tale”

9. Sharon Shannon – One of Ireland’s top musicians performs at the National Concert Hall

10. The Commitments 20th Anniversary Reunion Concert – the stars of the 1991 Irish film – The Commitments, will be performing a full concert together for the first time ever, at the O2.

flickr images via Infomatique

SkyMall St. Patrick’s Day Sale

SkyMall knows it’s St. Patrick’s Day. They also know that it’s Wednesday thanks to their Day Clock. And they’re celebrating with a St. Patrick’s Day Sale offering 25% off your total order.

What better way to celebrate your Irish heritage (or love of all things green) than with a green Slanket, an inspirational faux emerald or just a plain old green duffel bag to store all of your lucky charms. Perhaps you’d like to start walking through the office with a Handmade Irish Shillelagh. Today’s the day to make that dream come true.

Not all of the merchants on SkyMall are participating in the sale and there’s some other fine print worth scanning. But if you’ve had your eye on a piece of SkyMall swag – perhaps something you’ve read about in SkyMall Monday – then today’s the day to pull the trigger.

Ireland the Beautiful: an armchair travel experience

My strongest memories of my trip to Ireland involves hitch-hiking from Galway to Clifden and walking past peat bogs edged with stone walls along the way. This video by bigbeninjax captures the essence of that trip by weaving together images of landscape, buildings and people. From the wide vista angles to intimate close-ups, a few minutes of viewing, offer a trip to Ireland from the comfort of where ever you’re watching.

There is text throughout that sets the tone of transitions from one place and one theme to another. Halfway through, there’s a kaleidoscope effect that works quite well, as does the music’s mesmerizing effect. For people wondering what to do with those journey of a lifetime shots, here’s one way. Pay attention to the timing of each shot. It’s about right for giving the viewer time to absorb one before moving on to another.

St. Patrick’s Day: The 10 best Irish pubs in New England

I worked as a daily newspaper reporter in Boston for five years and spent a lot of time along the city’s south shore — that curve of coast running from South Boston and Quincy all the way down to Plymouth. Whenever I found myself in Hingham, which was often, I tried to stop by the Snug for a few beers.

So I was excited to see the Snug get a nod in’s recent rundown of the 10 best Irish pubs in New England.

With St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, you won’t lack for some good craic at any of these watering holes. The list avoids a few obvious choices — ditching Murphy’s Law in South Boston or Doyle’s in Boston’s Jamaica Plain, for instance — and instead goes pretty deep.

The 10 Best Irish Pubs in New England (in no particular order)

  1. The Snug (Hingham, Mass.)
  2. Brendan Behan Pub (Jamaica Plain, Mass.)
  3. The Corrib Pub (Brighton, Mass.)
  4. Buskers (Newport, R.I.)
  5. The Shannon Door (Jackson, N.H.)
  6. McGrath’s Irish Pub (Killington, Vt.)
  7. Patrick’s Pub (Providence, R.I.)
  8. Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub (Falmouth, Mass.)
  9. Wild Rover Pub (Manchester, N.H.)
  10. Anny Liffey’s (New Haven, CT.)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day: Declan Galbraith’s Danny Boy

The banning of the song Danny Boy at the Foley’s Pub and Restaurant in Manhattan for the entire month of March got me in the mood to hear the song whether it’s over done or not. Here’s a version by Declan Galbraith, a young vocal wonder in Great Britain. In this YouTube video, he’s 10 years-old. One comment on the YouTube post said that Danny Boy is supposed to be sung by a woman, but Declan belts it out anyway. This guy has a following.