St. Patrick's Day: Beyond Musical Traditions

By The Gigstarter Team on 14-03-2024 |

Spreading its fame across the world, St. Patrick's Day is a well-known holiday. It began in Ireland as a way to honor the country's patron saint, but through immigration and globalization, it has now become a day to pay tribute to all things Irish. These include preparing food like corned beef and cabbage, participating in musical gatherings called 'céilí,' and decorating with symbols like shamrocks and leprechauns. With the recent launch of Gigstarter in Ireland, we want to share interesting holiday activities to try and suggest the best fitting music for them.

History of Saint Patrick's Day

The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years; however, not every international knows the story behind it. Saint Patrick was born in the 5th century in Roman Britain and became the patron saint of Ireland and its national apostle. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave, from where he eventually escaped. Saint Patrick, however, years later returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people. In the centuries following Patrick’s death on March 17th, the mythology surrounding his life became an essential part of Irish culture. When immigrants from Ireland moved to the U.S. and other major countries, they brought the tradition of St. Patrick's with them, and it naturally modernized into what it has become now. What started as a religious day has grown into an unforgettable experience of joy, traditional food, loud upbeat songs, and, of course, beer.

St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church

Typical things to do on this holiday

St. Patrick's Day Parade
If you are lucky to be in Dublin that day, many locals and tourists spend their afternoon on the biggest parade in Dublin. It starts at at Parnell Sq. North at 12pm on March 17th with expected attendancy of 400,000 people. During this event, people can witness over 4,000 Parade participants including marching bands from all across the globe in a thunderous display of music, troupes of colourful united by the values of community, diversity and inclusion. The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Spréach’, the Irish word for Spark, which represents the unique essence of Ireland and of Irish People. So don't miss out on the opportunity to celebrate Irish culture in the heart of the country!

St. Patrick's Day Feast
There exists a variety of interesting delicacies that every person should try at least once in their life to fully embrace the atmosphere of this holiday. In our opinion, the highlights of the celebratory dinner are Irish stew, together with corned beef and cabbage. The first main course is a traditional meal, the recipe of which has been passed down through generations for hundreds of years. Made with just a few affordable and filling ingredients such as lamb, potato, carrot, onion, and celery, this dinner was the greatest way for every person, regardless of income, to feed their families. It resulted in associating the stew with the taste of home.

Corned beef and cabbage, on the other hand, is more of an Irish-American dish. The main course's popularity took shape during Irish immigration to America, specifically New York. However, as more Irish settled into urban areas of America, they faced great prejudice and discrimination, much like those of Jewish heritage. These two cultures bonded together and even blended flavors. Irish immigrants purchased most of their meat from kosher butchers, where they discovered brisket, the part of meat used for this popular delicacy. Corned beef and cabbage became an integral part of the holiday, with the additional bonus of the possibility to cook it all in one pot, making the dish cheap, easy to make, and, let’s not forget — tasty.

irish stew

Enjoy Local Pubs and Drown the Shamrock
Did you know that until the 1970s, Irish law prohibited pubs from opening on March 17 as a mark of respect for this religious day? The concern was that leaving the pubs open would be too tempting and could lead to a disrespectful amount of drunkenness. Over time, the holiday gradually transformed into more of a patriotic symbol, representing Ireland and its culture worldwide, separate from the religious feast day. Nowadays, in the majority of European cities, you can find the authentic Irish pubs with live music, Guinness beer, and unforgettable owners with a rich history from back in Ireland.

Another fun local tradition connected with alcohol and pubs is drowning the Shamrock. It is an age-old custom with origins in the saint's life itself. The drowning of the shamrock takes place at the end of the celebrations on St. Patrick’s Night when the shamrock is thrown into the last glass of whiskey and drunk during a toast. Afterward, the plant is tossed over the left shoulder. The shamrock itself remains one of the most popular symbols of this day, even though it has lost its religious meaning.

Live music in its best traditions

Gigstarter is proud to share that many artists from our platform have been invited to perform on this holiday in bars and pubs across Western Europe, and we want to highlight some that truly stood out! Even though not all of them have Irish background, working with such creatives provides us with opportunity to influence music in unique ways and blend genres.

O'llainnis (NL)

O’llainnis (Irish Gaelic for ‘the Dutch language’), is a paradox in both name and music. Coming from the rainy and windy east area of the Netherlands, this unique band intriguingly mixes Irish and Scottish traditional music with modern up-tempo pop and rock melodies. Their music takes you from a wooden pub chair on an exciting journey, showcasing the rocky road to Dublin and the hills of Connemara. Throughout the band's active years, they have released two EPs and several singles, each exploring the possibilities of genres. On Gigstarter, O’llainnis has managed to secure six bookings with amazing reviews. Are you in search of a fun and enthusiastic band to brighten up the Irish night? You might have just found them!

Irish Traditional Tune

The Wild Murphys (UK)

The Wild Murphys, a lively Irish coverband based in the northeast of England, have become one of the most popular Irish music tribute acts in the UK over the last 15 years. Starting as a duo in 2005, their goal was simple: to spread Irish music far and wide. From cozy pubs to grand events, their danceable and light-hearted tunes have won over diverse audiences. Despite none of the members being Irish, their love and passion for the music have taken them to major events worldwide, including competing in the international Irish band competition in Las Vegas in 2010, where they secured an impressive 3rd place. Their videos, visuals, and website radiate professionalism from a mile away, convincing bookers to reach out to them.

Irish Tribute band

Ticket to Happiness (DE)

Ticket to Happiness is a folk rock band from Siegen, singing in both German and English, telling tales of atmospheric pub evenings, Irish legends, and addressing current social issues. Despite the unique and complicated combination of positive lightness and strong statements, Ticket to Happiness consistently immerses the audience and themselves in an emotional state of joy, celebration, and happiness. Since its establishment in 2016, the band has released three CDs, written and produced in collaboration with the successful musician Pomez di Lorenzo. The cultural blend from Germany to Ireland may sound unusual, but the outcome of their live performances speaks for itself.

Live performance of folk band

Bring the festivities near you

Are you looking for a way to immerse yourself in the Irish atmosphere while celebrating at home? Start the following playlist and enjoy our own selection of Gigstarter artists, with artists as mentioned above and many more!

St. Patrick's Day Agenda 2024

Lastly, on St. Patrick's Day, Ireland is full of wonderful and bright events in all the cities, whether it's Cork or little villages. We have created a small agenda listing possible places to go in Belfast, Cork, and Dublin. However, of course, it is only a small part of the entertainment happening that day. Moreover, Gigstarter artists are not lagging behind, with even several performances in the Netherlands!

O’Reilly’s | Paddy’s Eve Madness - March 16: Experience the biggest and wildest Paddy’s Eve on Saturday at O'Reillys Bar. Secure your tickets now for loads of drinks, party DJs, free Paddy caps, confetti, and foam cannons. Doors will be open 10 pm - 2:30 am!

Blackrock Leprechaun Chase - March 17: The Blackrock Leprechaun chase is a family-focused fun run and festival with a variety of activities for the whole community to enjoy, including storytelling sessions, magic, live music, face painting, and much much more!

The Fógues - St Patrick's Day 2024 - March 17: We have great news! The Fógues are headlining this year's celebration at Cyprus Avenue! Expect a fantastic night with their unique blend of song, dance, and surprises. After a busy 2023 in the Irish folk scene, including sold-out shows in England, The Fógues are on the rise with their latest single, 'Mountain Dew,' securing nearly 50,000 streams, and more material is on the way.

Saint Patrick's Day Concert with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann - March 17: Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Baile Mhistéala, and special guests Claisceadal na gCarad present a special concert at Saint George's to conclude St. Patrick's Day festivities. Attendees can enjoy a delightful showcase of Irish music, song, and dance. The grand finale of the show will feature an open mic session, welcoming singers, dancers, and musicians to the stage.

St Patrick’s Music Weekend - March 15 - 17: Belfast TradFest presents a music weekend as part of its overall celebrations. Enjoy a diverse, cross-cultural, and cross-traditional event in honor of St. Patrick, and take your time to stroll around traditional arts expositions, concerts, céilís, taster sessions, and workshops

St George’s Market - March 16 - 17: One of Belfast's most popular markets joins the craic with live traditional Irish music performed by members of Ards Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, established in 1976. Surrounded by local food, crafts, and a generally cultural environment, it is definitely worth visiting.

Gigstarter Agenda in the Netherlands

agenda for irish perfomancesFor more information click here

We hope the recommendations in this article will enrich St. Patrick's Day for every reader. With the recent introduction of Gigstarter in Ireland, we're excited to explore the horizons of this unique live music market. Cheers to a harmonious celebration of Irish culture worldwide!

Related articles on Gigstarter:

Are you interested in the music industry, tips for artists and Gigstarter? Please read our blog.

Gigstarter makes live music accessible to everyone. On you will find live music for your party easily. This service is free of charge for both artists as bookers. Take a look at the site and follow us on Facebook to stay updated about Gigstarter events and new talent.

No hassle. Just music.

Tags: st patricks day, irish, food, live music, celebration, launch, celtic, pub, live music, band, folk, gigstarter