St Patrick’s Day
- David Pollock
- 1 March 2009
Party with Paddy
If you’re in Scotland over St Patrick’s Day, then Glasgow really is the place to party. David Pollock points you in the direction of some pubs, gigs and events
As the saying goes, ‘everybody wants to be Irish on St Patrick’s Day’. Although this green-clothed and shamrock-festooned celebration of all things associated with the Emerald Isle is meant to be a patriotic event, it’s indulged in vigorously the Western world over by people who probably couldn’t even point to Ireland on a map.
Where emigrants in America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand might have a decent claim, there can be few places, outside Ireland itself, which celebrate the country’s most famous patron saint’s day quite as vigorously as Glasgow. The locals view any chance for a night out as being hard to pass up, and nobody much minds changing their regular tipple to Guinness for the day. But more than that, a substantial proportion of Glasgow’s population is descended from Irish migrants who came over looking for work more than two centuries ago, and they’re fiercely proud of this heritage. So why not join them in a little modest (yeah, right) celebrating.
Stiff Little Fingers
They might have formed in Belfast in 1977, right at the height of the punk explosion, but for some reason this bunch of shouty survivors like to spend St Paddy’s night in Glasgow. So much, in fact, that they’ve done so every year for the last eighteen, and their gigs don’t get any tamer. Plus it’s in the single most famous venue in the city.
Tue 17 Mar, Barrowland Ballroom, 7pm, 244 Gallowgate, Glasgow (H5), 0141 552 4601, www.glasgow-barrowland.com, £15.50.
St Patrick’s Day Irish Comedy Special
It is, of course, the height of the Glasgow International Comedy Festival on the evening in question, and there’s no way the organisers could have let this one pass without notice. To mark the occasion this show presents a quadruple bill of exciting Irish comic talent in Colin Murphy, Niall Browne, Andrew Stanley and Michael Redmond.
Tue 17 Mar, The Stand, 8pm, 333 Woodlands Road, Glasgow (C1),0870 600 6055, www.glasgowcomedyfestival.com, £10.
St Patrick’s Day at the Viper
By the time you’ve spent a day in the pub learning some new songs and getting a little merry, it really doesn’t matter where you end up, does it? The Viper is a reliable dancing and pulling den in the West End, which is opening specially on St Patrick’s Day with some local live music and DJs afterwards. Here’s the best bit, though; it’s free to get in if you’re Irish or, says their website, you ‘at least try to sound like it’.
Tue 17 Mar, The Viper, 9pm–2am, 500 Great Western Road, Glasgow (D1), 0141 334 0560, www.socialanimal.co.uk
Decked in quotes from Irish writers and poets, and soundtracked by the most Emerald-tinged of rock and folk artists old and new, Jinty’s is an Irish pub’s Irish pub. It will, of course, be packed out on St Patrick’s Day, but hopefully you’ll still get a chance to admire the gorgeously rustic scenery of Ashton Lane while you’re here.
Tue 17 Mar, 21–29 Ashton Lane, Glasgow, 0141 339 0747.
Glasgow Irish St Patrick’s Day Festival
A family friendly event with (horror!) no alcohol allowed, this weekend event should still present a more authentic side of St Paddy’s. The afternoon’s marquee party involves traditional and rock music, Irish dancing and a schools Gaelic football tournament, while both this event and the evening’s show feature The Emerald Ceili Band.
Sat 14 Mar, day event: Glenconner Park, 1pm, Royston Road, Glasgow; evening: Langside Hall, 7.30pm, 5 Langside Avenue, 0141 632 0096, www.irishinscotland.com