10+ Ways to Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day in Raleigh

An Irish-life for you this month.
by Kayla Guilliams

Photo credit: Eamon Queeney

Even without one of our city’s favorite parades, when downtown is full of song, dance, and green, there are still many ways you can celebrate the day safely. Head to pandemic-safe events at pubs and restaurants or facilitate your own celebration at home to honor the Irish holiday. Here are 10+ ideas for you.

Photo credit: Liz Condo

Hear Irish Melodies from Crann Úll

Grab a Guinness and a slice of Irish Soda Bread: Crann Úll, a musical duo of longtime friends Rob Sharer and Margaret Rush, will perform Irish melodies and songs to commemorate Saint Patrick’s Day. Using instruments including an Irish banjo, flute, bodhrán, guitar, and, of course vocals, Sharer and Rush captivate audiences with their banter and lush Celtic ballads. The free performance is presented to the public by Pinecone, the non-profit which celebrates our state’s rich musical roots. Ireland native Rush says that due to the pandemic, this year celebrating the holiday in Raleigh will actually more closely resemble how it’s celebrated on her native turf: “Back home, it’s more of a bank holiday. We’d go to Mass and spend the day with family, either watching or attending the big parade in Dublin — and definitely have a pint or more.” This year, she’s planning to bake some treats to break her Lenten fast (just for the day) and hunker down at home. “Instead of having the busiest few days of the year as a performing Irish musician, I’ll be at home with family, loads of cups of tea and a Guinness chocolate cake!” says Rush.  March 17 | 7 p.m – 8:30 p.m; Virtual; free; pinecone.org

Photo credit: Bob Karp

Make a loaf of Irish Soda Bread 

Irish Soda Bread is a quick, dense, and flavorful tradition that will pair perfectly with your Saint Patrick’s Day pint. Unlike most breads, it doesn’t require yeast – it uses baking soda and buttermilk for leavening. We asked local bread master Lionel Vatinet of La Farm to share his Irish Soda Bread recipe with WALTER so you can make it for yourself at home. “Every year for almost 20 years our customers have looked forward to celebrating Saint Patrick’s with us,” Vatinet said. “We make a traditional Irish Soda quick bread that’s tender & crumbly & has a little sweetness from the plump raisins we fold into the dough.” You can find the recipe here

Register for a virtual 4-Mile Run Walk

This year’s Shamrocks & Shenanigans 4-mile run walk is virtual, meaning you can complete it anytime and anywhere throughout the month of March. Go at your own pace – run or walk all four miles at once or take it one at a time. Participants will receive a finisher medal, a race bib, and an optional finisher shirt after submitting their results, just make sure you register before all 2,000 spots are filled.  March 1-31; anytime; starting at $29; visit website for tickets and details

Celebrate at Norse Brewing Pub

For live music, great food, and beer, head to Norse Brewing Company in Wake Forest on March 13. Party band Lucky Pocket will be playing from 6 to 10 p.m, and they’ll be serving their full menu of Scandinavian food with a southern twist, as well some Irish food and drink specials. They’ll have tables available under their outdoor tent, in their Great Hall, or upstairs on their back patio, and all current COVID-19 guidelines will be followed. If you’re not up for an in-person celebration, you can get their food to-go. March 13; 6 – 10 p.m; $20 per person; see website for tickets 

Grab a stout from a local brewery 

What’s a Saint Patrick’s Day celebration without a stout? Many local breweries across North Carolina sell their own fresh, local versions throughout the year. Crank Arm Brewing has their chocolate coffee imperial, peanut butter chocolate milk, and bourbon barrel-aged imperial stouts on tap, and Raleigh Brewing Company has their imperial oatmeal stout available year-round at their locations. Raleigh Beer Garden also has several stouts on tap from breweries across North Carolina, like a peanut butter cup nitro stout from Pisgah Brewing Company, a small-batch king cake pastry stout from Catawba Brewing Co., and a coffee milk stout from Hi-Wire Brewing.

Photo credit: Eamon Queeney

Try Pub Fare from Doherty’s 

With locations in Cary and Apex, Doherty’s Irish Pub offers brews and bites that blend contemporary America with rustic Ireland. While you may not be able to crowd into the pub and experience Saint Patrick’s Day nightlife like in years past, you can still get some of their fan-favorite pub fare to-go. Try their Brisket Nachos made from housemade potato chips and brisket braised in Guinness, their Irish Egg Rolls hand-rolled with corned beef, sauerkraut and swiss cheese, or one of their class entrees like Fish & Chips, Bangers & Mash, or Corned Beef & Cabbage.  Anytime; dohertysirishpubnc.com/ 

Go to Hibernian Pub’s annual Saint Patrick’s Day celebration 

Hibernian is taking their annual Saint Patrick’s Day celebration and making it COVID-safe. They’ll be featuring reserved seating for four different 5-hour sessions – a morning and evening session on both Saturday, March 13th and Wednesday, March 17th – for tables up to 4, 6, and 8 people. There will be live music, giveaways, plenty of food and drink specials, and one aluminum bottle of beer and corn beef bites will be provided per person for every table reservation. Masks are required when you enter and any time you’re not seated at your assigned table. March 13 or 17; 10 a.m to 3 p.m or 4 p.m to 9 p.m; visit website for details

Write a Limerick 

Limericks are short, humorous, five-line poems that originated in the town of Limerick, Ireland. Writing one, like these by the Redbud Writing Group written for our March issue, can be a fun, creative way for you and your family to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day.

Make a St. Patty’s day inspired charcuterie board

Join Joy Worthy Co. and Courtney Bowman from Raleigh Cheesy for a Saint Patrick’s Day inspired charcuterie 101 and beer tasting class. The event is BYOB (bring your own beer), and each ticket includes ingredients, guided in-person instruction from Joy Worthy Co. founder Lauren Stevens, and insights on the best charcuterie and beer pairings.  March 16; 5:30 – 7:00 p.m; $59; 1053 East Whitaker Mill Road #115, Raleigh, NC 27604; see website for tickets

Make Irish Coffee 

This fan-favorite classic combines coffee, dessert, and cocktails in one for the perfect Saint Patrick’s Day drink. Try this recipe (at the bottom of the page) from Raleigh-based dessert lounge, Bittersweet. It’s their best-selling drink all year long and combines whiskey, simple syrup, and nutmeg with fresh whipped cream.