An Irish Gal’s Guide To St.Paddy’s (Not Patty’s) Day In NYC

An Irish Gal’s Guide To St.Paddy’s

(Not Patty’s) Day In NYC

It’s here, the day you’ve all been waiting for. Your favorite holiday that, (although you won’t admit it), betters Thanksgiving and comes just after Christmas on your top hits, because hey, there’s more alcohol.

I’ve been in New York for a year-and-a-half now and given that my last St. Patrick’s Day here winded up in da club with Conor Mcgregor and a gaggle of his adulating fans (by accident), this one promises to be just as entertaining, because it’s on a Saturday. I’ve rounded up a preliminary guide to your day in the city, which is just some friendly advice from mine to yours, and included a smattering of photos of mine from over the years on the day in question for your entertainment. 

Would recommend: shamrock headband
1. It’s St. Paddy’s, not patty’s

I would like to state on the case of St. Patty’s -v- St. Paddy’s, that you have been deceived your whole life into thinking that the day was synonymous with a patty ( a.k.a a burger). “Paddy’s Day” is short for St. Patrick’s Day. In colloquial Irish parlance, Paddy is an abbreviation of Patrick. And for anyone who tries to push their feminist agenda (with ‘patty’ rather marginally sounding more ladylike than Paddy), on the holiday, please refrain. St. Patrick was a man, ladies, get over it.

2. Start early

Start as you mean to go on. Ireland will play England in a rugby match at 9AM E.S.T, and it provides a great opportunity for an early opener to the day.

Now, while rugby might not be your cup of tea (and that should be Lyon’s Irish Breakfast Tea on Saturday, not Barry’s, in my honest and completely biased opinion), the fact that Ireland are playing England always makes for a great, atmospheric watching experience. The age-old rivals, (England presided over Ireland’s governing for 700 hundred years), will go to battle in what could be an extremely momentous rugby occasion for the boys in green.

Ireland have a chance to win ‘The Grand Slam’ having beaten every other team in the Six Nations tournament. You won’t want to miss this one if you’re an early riser, and The Long Hall in midtown is always a safe bet to watch the game. 

3. Eat an Irish breakfast

While you might think black pudding (blood sausage) is particularly daunting, the rest of an Irish breakfast happens to be very pleasant. Irish sausages and especially Irish bacon, which is immensely superior to that of the Canadian variety, make up the best of the dish, which (should) also include beans, toast and eggs. 

If you’ve never tried it before, surely this is the day for you.

4. There’s never too much (or too little) green

My darling latina editor told me that when she was younger, if you didn’t wear green on St. Patty’s Day, you would get pinched. This, funnily enough, is an entirely American tradition which began in the 1700s and has something to do with leprechauns. If you don’t wear green in Ireland, you certainly don’t get pinched. 

I will be trying to squeeze an element of green into my outfit on the day, and admittedly there are years I’ve gone overboard (cue horrifying flashbacks to electric green, skin tight leggings and velour emerald bodysuits), but accessorising for the day is just as fun. In fact this year, in one (slightly awkward) holiday package sent to the office, we received shamrock-shaped nipple stickers, because who couldn’t do with a pair of those during a girls-gone-wild moment on the day. 

My favorite thing to do for the day however? An irish-flag themed manicure.

While talking to a painting might not be the most advisable Paddy's Day activity, you get the electric green pants look and dyed hair, right?
5. Hydrate

For every (American) pint (an Irish pint is larger) / glass of wine / vodka-soda / gin and tonic / shot you do, drink a glass of water. This is not child’s play, you’ll want to at least last until 4pm, otherwise it’s all you’ll be hearing for the next week in your group chat. Some of the most lauded stories of my friends’ childhoods are those from Paddy’s Day, during which they’ve over-consumed alcohol, under-consumed food and water, and have lived to regret the mistakes they made neglecting their liver (and self-respect) in the meantime.  

HATS, scarfs and headbands - accessorize, accessorize
6. Don’t ask an Irish person to speak ‘Gaelic’

Hold your horses on this popular instruction from across the bar. As children in Ireland, we’re taught our native language, Irish, otherwise known as Gaeilge. Gaeilge is to Irish as Hola or Bonjour is to hello. ‘Gaelic’ is a language that predates rhyme and reason, and is akin to Old English which, if you’ve ever seen an original Beowulf text, is mostly incomprehensible to the modern reader.

We will however be glad to share a line of Irish with you, considering it will probably be an insult dripping with sarcasm in the form of “kiss my ass,” or, póg mo thóin.”

7. Know your haunts

Word on the street is a Saturday St. Patrick’s Day trumps NYC’s Santacon for citywide craziness, and I absolutely believe that.

I plan on hitting midtown for a midday peek at the parade and spending a little time on in the row of pubs on 2nd ave. from 49-55th st. These bars (Draught 55, The Horny Ram, Murphy’s, Jameson’s) are generally pretty quiet and very low-key, so it’ll b interesting to see the difference a day makes, but beyond that I’ll be staying downtown. Stone St. will provide ample entertainment for any party goer new to the city as will the likes of The Swift Hibernian in Noho or the esteemable Dead Rabbit (which happens to have a larger than usual female staff leading the charge behind the bar). For late night revellers, The Mean Fiddler and Fiddlesticks will expect you.

Moral of the story is: before you head out for your celebrations, know what you like – pubs big or small, uptown or downtown – and figure out the general area you would like to be in. From there, you can’t go wrong!

Lá Fhéile Pádraig folks, or, Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Amy Corcoran

Head of Content at SWAAY: Amy is an Irish writer, avid foodie and feminist with an insatiable appetite for novels and empowering women's writing. She has enjoyed calling Dublin, Paris and now New York her home.

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