How To Party Like The Irish

How to throw and epic St Patrick's Day Celebration

Apparently, you only need three things for an epic St Patrick’s Day celebration. Toast gets the lowdown

When it comes to having a good time, the Irish have it sussed – few nations are as committed to craic (the legal variety) as the Emerald Isle. On 17th March, millions of Irish around the world will be donning green and downing Guinness in honour of the country’s patron saint, St Patrick. Planning your own festivities? Our experts show you how it’s done.

Party Essentials

Caroline Gardener, co-founder of Irish events company The Party Pros says, “The three most important ingredients for a great St Patrick’s Day party are alcohol, entertainment and lighting – they’re the things people remember the most. If you’re hosting your event in the evening, use green up-lighters and recreate the Tricolour with lots of orange, white and green bunting.

The Drinks

A keg of Guinness or Murphy’s always goes down well, but for non-beer drinkers, a whiskey sour (made with Irish whiskey, of course) or a gin-based cocktail (Cork gin is very popular in Ireland) make a good welcome drink. Then make sure to stock up on the favourites – prosecco and wine. A Baby Guinness is great for toasting. 

The Food

Keep food simple and hearty. Most people go with coddle – a traditional dish made with sausages, bacon and cabbage – or Irish stew. Cupcakes with shamrocks or Irish coffees are ideal for afters.

The Entertainment

When you go to any pub in Ireland, you’ll usually find live music, so a three- or four-piece traditional band is a must. Good entertainment good company and good hospitality – that’s fundamentally what celebrations are all about in Ireland. Everything else is just bells and whistles.

The Black Stuff

Chris Crowley, from The Liquor Rooms in Dublin on pouring the perfect pint of Guinness

  • Choose a clean, dry, tulip-shaped pint glass.
  • Pull the beer tap toward you with the glass at a 45 degree angle to prevent the beer from frothing. The wider neck of the glass allows nitrogen bubbles to move down the side of the glass and back up into the neck of the beer.
  • Fill the glass approximately three quarters, level and stop pouring. (If using Guinness branded glassware, the three quarter mark is halfway through the Harp logo on the glass). Stopping the pour allows the nitrogen to settle and a creamy head to form.
  • Allow the pint to rest for 120 seconds. Its body will darken and the head will begin to develop. Then, holding the pint level, push the tap back away from you, and fill the pint slowly, aiming directly for the middle of the glass.
  • Once the glass is full, wait until the pint has fully settled before drinking. The body should be completely black/ruby red and the head has fully developed.

Not a stout fan? Serve your guests a Barrel Smash cocktail, created especially by Chris for the occasion:


  • Jameson Black Barrel
  • Pineapple syrup
  • Crushed ice
  • Muddled grapefruit 
  • Mint leaves


  • Muddle the grapefruit and mint in a shaker
  • Add the pineapple syrup and whiskey, and shake.
  • Strain into a rocks glass full of crushed ice.
  • Garnish with a mint sprig and a grapefruit wedge.

The Best of The Rest…

Keen to celebrate on a larger scale? We’ve rounded up the best St Patrick’s Day festivities around the world…


For an authentic experience, the Irish capital is where it’s at. Historic buildings around the city, including Trinity College and the GPO, will be illuminated in green, while three days of celebrations are planned. The culmination is the annual festival parade with the St Patrick's Festival, which kicks off in Parnell Square at 12pm on the 17th. Other unmissable events include a storytelling session with Brendan Nolan of the Yarnspinners at 3pm at the Royal Hibernian Academy and a screening of three silent films depicting 20th-century life in Ireland at St Patrick’s Cathedral. For fresh air and excellent seafood, head to the charming fishing village of Howth – just 20 minutes from the city centre by train – for the Dublin Bay Prawn Festival.


The main event takes place in Trafalgar Square on Sunday 19th March. There’ll be street food, Irish bands and ceilidhs and, of course, an all-singing, all-dancing parade. On the 17th, history buffs can meet at the south side of Nelson’s column at 2pm for a walking tour to Whitehall, to explore the impact of the 1916 Irish rebellion from a London perspective. 

New York

More than two million spectators will line Fifth Avenue for the world’s largest St Patrick’s Day parade. The action starts at 11am at 44th Street and takes in iconic sights such as Central Park and St Patrick’s Cathedral before finishing up at the American Irish Historical Society at East 80th Street. Also worth a visit is the annual open day at the Irish Arts Center on West 51st Street. Try your hand at the tin whistle, Irish dancing and traditional crafts. 


The Irish diaspora is far-reaching – on the 19th March, ex-pats will congregate in Sydney’s Prince Alfred Park for the annual Green Gathering. This popular family event will feature Irish dancers, a children’s parade, face painting and bouncy castles.


Posted in Inspire Me

by Inspire Me
on on 14 March 2017

  irish party, paddy's day

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