Who knew you could combine Ibiza holidays with Irish style wearing of the green?
Most of us would imagine that St Patrick’s Day, on 17 March, is only a big deal in Ireland and English-speaking countries such as the UK, US, Canada and Australia where successive waves of Irish immigrants have settled.
However, Spain is just one of the many European holiday destinations where this most Irish of festivals has taken root. Celebrations in the Costa Blanca resort town of Cabo Roig are reportedly among the biggest in Spain. There, traditional Irish dance meets flamenco against a backdrop of parades, pageants and plenty of the party spirit. Past years have even seen a St Patrick’s Day parade in Puerto del Carmen, the popular resort on Lanzarote in the Canary Islands.
But the St Patrick’s day fun doesn’t stop in Spain and its island outposts. Here are some of the other sunny European places where you can celebrate all things Irish:
Where would you look if you wanted to locate the epicentre of St Patrick’s Day in Istanbul? You’d go straight to the James Joyce Irish Pub, naturally. In previous years, St Patrick’s Day events there have spilled over into a month-long festival of Irish culture. Shamrock-starved expats and Irish-o-philes alike could revel in Irish film showings, Irish dance workshops – and music aplenty, naturally.
When you’re next in Thessaloniki on 17 March, be sure to wear something green so that the rather organised Irish community there can claim you as one of their own. Let yourself get swept up in a Greek–Irish street party that rocks way into the early hours – everyone is invited. Check local listings for details; the location tends to change from year to year.
Rome is, I’ve heard, mad for St Patrick’s Day. I find it hard to picture those elegant Romans downing green beer – although apparently they do! But for those who can’t quite get with the programme, I’m sure the Guinness and Irish whiskey goes down a treat. Whatever they drink to celebrate on 17 March in Rome, you can be sure they’re doing it in style.
There’s a Croatian–Irish Cultural Society that puts on a parade, to be sure. (But then, you know, it seem there’s an Irish cultural society almost everywhere from Sweden to South America). For many Irish people, at home and abroad, St Patrick’s Day is a religious festival, which commemorates the coming of Christianity to Ireland, as well as a secular celebration of everything Irish. So the day will involve a church service – but the restrictions of Lent (which often coincides with St Patrick’s Day) are lifted so Christian revellers can enjoy a drink and a feast, too.