An Irish Girl's Guide to Celebrating St. Patrick's Day

An Irish Girl's Guide to Celebrating St. Patrick's Day

March 14, 2024

Growing up with two Irish parents, you’d think St. Patrick’s Day would’ve been a big deal in our home.  It was not.  My family did not celebrate March 17th with the same gusto as many of our non-Irish neighbors did.  My dad always rolled his eyes over the grocery store displays of corned beef and cabbage.  ‘We don’t even eat corned beef in Ireland!”

Similarly, the idea of green beer sent him over the top. “St. Patrick’s Day is a holy holiday!”  he would say.  Yet, despite the disdain my dad had over the American appropriation of his holiday into a beer guzzling day—we did have some traditions. 

Chicago River on Saint Patrick's Day

Mom would almost always serve a traditional Irish breakfast on Saint Patrick’s day before we headed downtown where we watched the St. Patrick’s Day parade from the rooftop of dad’s office building in Chicago.  I would ew and aw over the dying of the Chicago River but dad always wondered how that dye was impacting the wildlife.  

With a family of my own, I have begun celebrating the day with new traditions. Much to my father’s chagrin, I have leaned a little toward the American way of celebrating. However, while I do delight in a McDonalds Shamrock shake I never prepare corned beef! The way I celebrate the day is an Irish-American hybrid of sorts. With that in mind, I present:  An Irish girl’s tips on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day!

 Young Sean Connery

  1. A Screening of Darby O'Gill and the Litlle People. Filmed on a Los Angeles back lot, and produced by Disney, admittedly it is more American than Irish. Released in 1959 It is kitschy and adorable. The CGI is so bad that it is charming.  It features a very naughty leprechaun and a smoldering young Sean Connery (“He Isn’t even Irish!! He is Scottish!” my dad screamed the first time we watched it back in the 80s).  For added fun, put a little green food dye in your popcorn. Sidenote: For a less kid friendly film, I recommend “Waking Ned Devine” for its dry Irish wit. It is a terrific classic!  Or anything featuring Cillian Murphy because who doesn’t like staring at his perfect Irish face?  

St. Patrick's Day Rainbow Pancakes 

  1. Make rainbow pancakes for breakfast.  While I would love to prepare a traditional Irish breakfast for my family on the 17th, I live in San Diego.  The European grocery store where I used to buy Irish sausage, bacon, and black and white pudding from, shuttered its doors years ago. So now I simply add food dye to my flap jacks.  In all honestly, my family prefers it to the later.  Here is a wonderful recipe:Rainbow Pancakes.Cute Leprechaun traps
  2. Build a Leprechaun traps. These do not have to be elaborate Martha Stewart creations.  Use what you have on hand and let your kids imaginations run wild.   When my kids were little, we used shoe boxes, pipe cleaner, construction paper, and popsicle sticks.  We built them the week before and set them out on the night of the 16th.  I filled the traps with special treats- chocolate coins, skittles, and silly string from the dollar store.  Here is a great tutorial with  easy trap ideas:15 Leprechaun Trap Ideas
    Easy Irish Soda Bread recipe
  3. Bake an Irish soda bread. Traditional Irish soda bread is delicious. I use my grandmother's recipe but she would roll over in her grave if I shared that with the masses so here is an alternative  great recipe: Irish Soda Bread Recipe. Sidenote: I never add the raisins because raisins are gross, but you do you! Guinness and Black Current
  4.  Guinness with Black Current. Guinness on its own is delicious!  Guinness with black current is next level!  All you need is a can of Guinness and a bottle of Ribena English black Current syrup which you can purchase on Amazon for around $10.  Pour 1/4 cup of blackcurrant concentrate (such as Ribena) into a pint glass. Slowly pour in a 440-mL can chilled Guinness and revel its in bitter sweetness.  Perfection!  Black Current on Amazon
  5. Last, but certainly not least—stock up on some ultra cute Vignette green dresses, tops, shorts, and bubbles. We have a little something for everyone. Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit!


  1. Saint Patrick's day dress for girls