Saint Patrick’s Day was traditionally a religious holiday, a celebration of the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, honouring Saint Patrick. Gradually it morphed into a feast day, coinciding with the lifting of the Lenten restrictions and involving indulgent eats and the drinking of alcohol, which are restricted during Lent. These days, anything goes and although it’s not a public holiday in Vancouver, residents with and without Irish blood take the occasion seriously enough and use it as an excuse to wear green, overindulge and generally misbehave. While plenty of amateurs still think green beer is the only way to go (just say no), be a pro and do something more real this March 17. Today, we offer you a few interesting ways to attract the luck of the Irish.
First, though, a burning question: Exactly how Irish is Vancouver? Click here for an exclusive DailyXY data crunch.
Now, on to the greener local pastures:
Green Brunching: Raincity Grill
When you think of food for Saint Patrick’s Day, corned beef and cabbage come to mind, but at the health-focused Raincity Grill, Chef Jennifer Peters will celebrate with ingredients from BC’s backyard, with nods to Irish flavours. Try Green Eggs and Ham, a dish of scrambled eggs with pork, toast and herbed potatoes, Green Fish n’Chips with house-made tartar, Irish stew with lamb cheeks, potatoes, leeks and fresh herbs, and Smoked Salmon Brioche with poached eggs, hollandaise and green salad. A two-course tasting menu is available both Saturday March 17 and Sunday March 18 ($20). 1193 Denman St., 604-685-733
Irish all week long: Celtic Festival Vancouver
Already in full swing and ending March 18, enjoy all things Irish with Vancouver’s annual Celtic Festival [pictured]. From parades to scotch tastings, musical performances and dances, there’s something for every age. Highlights include the St. Patrick Day Parade with pipe bands, acrobats and musicians, and St. Pat’s Night Out at The Vogue featuring the cross-genre band Delhi 2 Dublin, which (as the name suggests) mixes Celtic with Bhangra, Dub and Reggae.
Luck of the Irish St. Patrick’s Day Tasting: Whole Foods West Vancouver
Taste some Irish Food and contribute to the Whole Planet Foundation, a charity that helps alleviate world hunger, on March 17 from 6-8 pm. For a minimum of $10 you’ll get a passport to sample Guinness Bundt Cake, Irish Lamb Stew, Dubliner and Whiskey Cheese, Black and Tan Braised Lamb Shanks, and Reed’s Natural Ginger Ale. Unlike those of our American neighbours, Canadian grocery stores can’t serve up anything alcoholic — for Irish whiskey or beer, you’ll have to head elsewhere. 925 Main St., West Vancouver, 604-678-0500
Drink like the Irish: The Irish Heather Gastropub
The only Irish-owned pub in Vancouver, the Irish Heather Gastropub is the place to be if you want to truly celebrate in the spirit of the country. The 200-seat pub is limiting all stays to 3 hours. How legitimate is this place? 100% — no green beer. 210 Carrall St., 604-688-9779
More Irish spirits: Ceilis Irish Pub
This Saturday, down on the Granville corridor, the city’s largest Irish pub starts celebrating early: From 10 a.m., the pub offers performances from The Whiskey Dicks, Solonne Irish Dancers and BC’s Pipe Regiment. Ceilis Irish Pub and Restaurant is also open for the pre-parade brunch on Sunday, and offers $6 highball specials all weekend. If early spring holds up, the Granville rooftop patio will be booming. The Ceilis’ new location on Burrard and 7th is also partying it up, but downtown is where the real action is. 670 Smithe St., 604-697-9199
Image courtesy of gmark1.