St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, but the day has been celebrated in America since 1737, when the first grand party was held in Boston, Mass. Today it is celebrated all over the country, and not only by the 40 million Irish-Americans who live here. The common custom is to get dressed up in green, indulge in traditional Irish food — really Irish-American — gulp down Guinness, and have a good time with family and friends. But there is one more important element when celebrating St. Patrick's Day, and that is music.
Music has always been an important part of the Irish culture. In ancient times a hero was expected to be a poet and musician as well as a warrior, and the music was usually handed down from one generation to the next, or from one performer to another, not so much by formal teaching, but more by example. Because of its importance, music, and especially live music, is a common feature when celebrating St. Patrick's Day, and many of the area’s Irish pubs make it a top priority.
IRELAND'S FOUR COURTS, located at 2051 Wilson Blvd. in Arlington, "the home of Irish hospitality," celebrates its six-year anniversary this St. Patrick's Day. There will be festivities the whole weekend. On Friday the pub will hold a free raffle, where the winner will walk away with a trip for two to Ireland. You have to be present to win the trip, though. Besides the raffle, the Four Courts will treat you to a special St. Patty's Day lunch menu, and on Sunday guests can enjoy live performances by Jim Hartley during the day and Sanford Markley at night. For reservations or more information, call 703-525-3600.
AT MCKEEVER’S, located at 6625 Old Dominion Drive in McLean, there will also be celebrations all weekend long. They will be serving their guests traditional corned beef and cabbage and offer happy-hour prizes at the bar throughout the weekend. And as if that is not enough, the customers will be treated to the best of Irish music. For more information or reservations, call 703-790-9453.
IRELAND'S FOUR PROVINCES, located at 105 W. Broad St. in Falls Church, offers lunch and dinner sittings during St. Patrick's Day weekend. On Friday and Saturday customers cannot make reservations; they will be taken care of on a first-come, first-served basis. But reservations are recommended for Sunday, since the restaurant has a history of filling up fast on St. Patrick's Day. There will also be live music: The Doc Doherty Band will come all the way from Ireland to entertain the guests on this Irish holiday.
For more information or reservations, call 703-534-8999.
NED DEVINE'S, located at 2465-2H Centreville Road in Herndon, will start the St. Patrick's Day celebration early this year. On Wednesday, March 13, guests can enjoy a performance by the Irish band Dublin City Ramblers, which has been sharing its music and humor with its fans for over 25 years now. And that is not all. On Sunday, Folktown will be entertaining the guests during the day, and Philadelphia rockers Lovestone will be entertaining the audience during the evening. Besides all the great music, there will be lots of great deals on food and drinks. For more information or reservations, call, 703-793-7377.
THE OLD BROGUE, located at 760-C Walker Road in Great Falls, welcomes young and old to participate in this year's St. Patrick's Day celebration. The pub, which opened its doors on St. Patrick's Day 1981, starts celebrating on Friday. Pennywhistle will be playing live in the pub area all weekend long, Friday through St. Patty's Day. On Sunday the snuggery will be occupied by guitarist and singer Ted Garber during the day, and when he is done, the Flying Cows will take over playing both traditional and contemporary Irish folk music. The Flying Cows are also known for experimenting with bluegrass, country and western swing, and even rock 'n’ roll tunes. For more information or reservations, call 703-759-3309.
MURPHY'S GRAND IRISH PUB, located at 713 King St. in Old Town Alexandria, is going to do things differently this year. Instead of emphasizing the adult nighttime entertainment, Murphy's is concentrating on family-oriented activities during the day. It will be serving a Sunday family brunch, starting at 9 a.m., where the children will be taught the true meaning of St. Patrick's Day. There is no need for reservations on St. Patrick's Day. There will still be live music entertainment during the afternoon and throughout the night starting at 3 p.m. Pub guests can enjoy singer and guitarist Pat Carroll in the upstairs bar, and downstairs the singing duo Double Down will be in charge. For more information or reservations, call 703-548-1717.
KATE'S IRISH PUB, located at 6585 Backlick Road in Springfield, opens at 9:30 a.m. on St. Patrick's day. This Sunday Kate's will be serving a sit-down lunch from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. There is no need to make reservations on this St. Patty's Day. The customers will be taken care of on a first-come, first-served basis.
There will also be some great live music starting at noon with Cara. Cara will perform through the afternoon, and at 6 p.m. there will be a dance performance by four Irish dancers. For more information or reservations, call 703-866-0860.
Great food, great music and great company are what people want on St. Patrick's Day, and there are many traditional Irish pubs that hope to fill those three needs on March 17. Just take your pick!
St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Wales about 385 AD, and his real name was Maewyn. At 16 he was sold into slavery by a group of Irish marauders, and it was during his captivity that he found God. Once he escaped from slavery, he started studying at a monastery and made it his mission to convert the Irish to Christianity. Maewyn, who now had adopted the Christian name Patrick, was doing well at winning converts and was able to establish monasteries, churches and schools. After 30 years of preaching the Christian faith, Patrick retired to County Down, where he died on March 17 in 461 AD, and that is why St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on that date.