St Patrick’s Day has always been one of my favorite festivals of the year. From Irish pub crawling in the historic district of Sydney, to drinking Guinness with thousands of revelers in Dublin, and watching the river turn green in Chicago, it’s always filled with what the Irish call, “good craic.”
If you’re new to This is Raleigh, then you probably don’t know that I lived in Dublin twice. Once over the summer in 1999 with my best friend waiting tables in the vibrant Temple Bar District, and then with Craig for a year in 2003. It was one of our favorite work abroad experiences yet and a country and people we love dearly.
I have not been back since 2003, but Craig returned last year on an 8-day Ireland tour. While he made up for lost time with as much Guinness, Irish Coffees, and Irish whiskey, he left room in his belt for some of that this St Patrick’s Day in Raleigh!
We want you to be able to experience the same craic, so keep on reading to learn about all of the St Paddy’s Day fun in Raleigh.
- Why do we celebrate St Patricks’ Day?
- Ways to Celebrate St Patrick’s Day in Raleigh
- 1. Have a pint of Guinness wherever you can
- 2. Drink an Irish Coffee (or just irish Whiskey)
- 3. Attend the Raleigh St. Patrick’s Day Parade And The Wearin’ ‘O The Green Festival
- 4. Attend the Doherty’s Irish Pub St Patrick’s Day Block Party
- 5. Attend the Hibernian Block Party
- 6. Watch Ireland vs England in the Guinness Six Nations Tournament
- 7. Join a St Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl
- 8. St Patrick’s Day at O’Malley’s
- 9. Combine Irish Craic with German Prosting at the Marchtoberfest Festival
- 10. Cook an Irish dinner with friends
- 11. Watch an Irish Movie
- 12. Spend time with the Goats
- 13. St Patrick’s Day celebration on the Old Mill Farm
- 14. Bull McCabe’s St Patrick’s Day Party (Durham)
- 15. Event in a Tent at Trali Irish Pub
- 16. St Patrick’s Paddy on the Green Festival (Lafayette Village)
- 17. Party on the Tin Roof for St Patrick’s Day
- 18. St Paddy’s Dance Party (Fortnight Brewery)
- 19. Green Gnome Feest, Norse Brewing
- 20. Participate in an Irish Scavenger Hunt
- 21. Plan a trip to Ireland
Why do we celebrate St Patricks’ Day?
St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious holiday that is celebrated annually on March 17th. It is named after Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century.
The day originally commemorated Saint Patrick’s death, but over time it has evolved into a celebration of Irish culture and heritage. It is especially popular in Ireland, but also widely celebrated in other parts of the world, particularly in countries with large Irish populations like the United States, Canada, and Australia.
St. Patrick’s Day is often associated with parades, green clothing, and Irish food and drink such as corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, and Guinness beer. It is a day to celebrate Irish pride and to come together as a community to enjoy the festivities.
Ways to Celebrate St Patrick’s Day in Raleigh
St Patrick’s Day in 2023 is on Friday, March 17th, 2023, but some events take place the weekend before as well.
Below are some St Patrick’s Days events in Raleigh for 2023, and some other possible ways you may want to celebrate.
I’ve researched all Irish pubs in the area and all things Irish to help save you time! These are the things to do on St Patricks’ Day I thought were most unique. You’ll probably find St Patrick’s Day parties at many bars and breweries in Raleigh, so you can always see what your local spot has on.
1. Have a pint of Guinness wherever you can
Here’s something you should know. Guinness does not travel well. Its secret ingredient is water from the River Liffey, right next to its original brewing location in Dublin.
Trust us. We’ve drank Guinness (our favorite beer of all time) all over the world. Nothing ever tastes as good as a pint from the Guiness Storehouse in Dublin or from a Dublin pub.
However, it’s St Patrick’s Day. Even though a pint in Raleigh may not be as good, it still has the spirit of the Irish in it. Our Dublin friend says The Bridge Pub has the best Guinness in Raleigh.
There are also plenty of Raleigh breweries who will do cheap imitation versions of Guinness by way of Stout. Anyone who’s had a proper Guinness will define it as cheap, but really, it’s an apple to oranges comparison and I know you’ll enjoy a hearty pint of stout.
Pouring a pint of Guinness is an art form in itself. It should be 75% poured, let to rest awhile and then topped up to a perfect creamy head. And the best ones will come with a shamrock drawn on top. There should not be any bubbles, and I’m confident in saying in Ireland, you won’t get any! (watch our video from Dublin)
Trust me, my boss in Dublin threw out plenty of my pints when I was training at the bar, “We’re not serving that fecking s***” was his typical reaction as he poured it down the sink!
2. Drink an Irish Coffee (or just irish Whiskey)
No. It’s never too early for an Irish coffee. Nor is it ever too late. When I lived in Dubin (in my early twenties) the only way we could continue drinking past 11pm pub closure time was to head to the late-night wine bars. We had plenty of Irish coffees in them at 2am!
Invented in County Limerick in 1942, the ingredients of an Irish Coffee are whiskey, hot coffee, brown sugar, and heavy cream lightly whipped on top.
While I’m no longer doing that thanks to graceful aging, I still enjoy a warm Irish coffee and the memorie they invoke.
So far, the Hibernian Irish Pub on Glenwood Ave has the best one we’ve had in Raleigh. They manage to float the cream, which is the traditional and only way to drink it. Sinking the cream is just as much a crime as pouring a Guinness with bubbles.
Bittersweet dessert bar in downtown also does a solid Irish coffee, and pairs well with their pumpkin creme brule.
Craig was delighted this past weekend to discover Irish Roe & Co whiskey at the My Way Tavern in Downtown Raleigh. He toured the distillery in Dublin last year. This month they have a special Irish Espresso Martini with Roe & Coe, if you want a cool spin on an Irish coffee!
3. Attend the Raleigh St. Patrick’s Day Parade And The Wearin’ ‘O The Green Festival
- Where: City Plaza, Downtown Raleigh
- When: Sat, March 11, 2023, 10am
- Cost: Free
Grab your favorite green sweater and your spirit for having a good craic and head downtown to celebrate the St Patrick’s Day parade. The parade started in 1983 with a dozen or so enthusiastic Irish Americans marching down Wilmington Street to the delight and curiosity of downtown residents, merchants and shoppers.
This year will be its 39th year entertaining the locals with bagpipe players, tap dancers, decorated floats and Irish characters – I spy a leprechaun or two. The parade route starts at Lane Street and Wilmington Street and finishes at the corner of S Salisbury and Lenoir.
4. Attend the Doherty’s Irish Pub St Patrick’s Day Block Party
- Where: 1979 High House Road, Cary, NC 27519 & 5490 Apex Peakway, Apex, NC 27502
- When: Sat, March, 11, 2023, 3pm & Friday, March 17, noon
- Cost: Free to attend $$ to drink and eat
Doherty’s Irish Pub in Cary is said to have one of the best St Patrick’s Day parties in Raleigh. It’s also known to be one of the best Irish pubs in Raleigh with authentic Irish food and good pints of Guinness.
And this year they are going all out for their 11th anniversary, with two outdoor parties at both their Apex and Cary locations. Plus, they have live music, and pub trivia all week.
Their parties will feature traditional Irish food, Irish dancing, bagpipes, live music all afternoon, including ONE 40, a U2 tribute band in the evening of Mar 17, 2023 at 7pm. We plan to be there for that one!
5. Attend the Hibernian Block Party
- Where: Hibernian Pub, Glenwood Ave
- When: Sat, Mar 11, 2023; 11am – 2am
The Hibernian’s St Patrick’s Day Block Party has been a legendary Raleigh event for years! This is your year!
I love how you don’t have to choose between this and Doherty’s block party as they are on separate weekends! I think they’ll be the two biggest and best St Patrick’s Day events.
There’ll be Irish dancers, bagpipers, live music and Guinness flowing like the River rLiffey.
6. Watch Ireland vs England in the Guinness Six Nations Tournament
- When: Sat, 18th March, 1pm
Could there be a better match up on the St Patrick’s Day weekend? Did you know that Ireland is currently ranked as the best rugby team in the world. They recently even beat the All Blacks in New Zealand! Any rugby fan will know that’s a monumental feat. And if not, we’ve just told you.
I had the absolute pleasure of attending the rugby world cup in Dublin to see Australia vs Ireland in 1999. It was my tip from a group of Aussie business owners and journalists that my best friend and I served in our restaurant. We also went to attend the Irish players’ after party and meet some of them! What a memory!
So I’m always up for seeing the Mighty Irish take down England. The party in Dublin would be incredible! Just head to an Irish pub near you, or the English theme London Bridge Pub in downtown!
7. Join a St Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl
Ah to be sure. It wouldn’t be St Patty’s Day without a pint or two of the black stuff! That’s Guinness in case you’re not up to speed with all things Irish. The following St Patrick’s Day Bar Crawls are happening in Raleigh:
- Lucky’s is on Fri 17th and Sat 18th. Starting at 4pm at Zenith Raleigh. Comes with shot vouchers, drink specials and waived cover. $13-$18 – tickets valid both days!
- Bar Crawl Live is on Sat March 11 & 18, 2023. Starting at 9pm at Whiskey Rose Raleigh. Over 1000 crawlers will visit the city’s best bars and restaurants, with exclusive deals and discounts just for bar crawl participants. $15-$40
- Tri-Sports are hosting their 17th The Raleigh St. Pat’s Pub Crawl on Sat March 18th @ 3pm at Glenwood South. Includes Official Crawl T-Shirt, 5 liquor shooters, bonus beer for early arrivals, mix & mingle games for fun & prizes & shots, and a full day of entertainment.
8. St Patrick’s Day at O’Malley’s
- Where: 5228 Hollyridge Dr, Raleigh, NC, United States, North Carolina
- When: Friday, MArch 17, 11am -1:30am
Another Irish Pub in Raleigh putting on an all-day party! O’Malley’s is located in northwest Raleigh. There’ll be green beer, drink specials, Irish food, giveaways, and live music with Raleigh Assassins, Magic Pipers Band and Tyson Brothers Band.
9. Combine Irish Craic with German Prosting at the Marchtoberfest Festival
- Where: Clouds Brewing Taproom
- When: Sat, March 25, 2023, 2pm-11:30pm
- Cost: $10- $15
What happens when Germany and Ireland meet? One great big beer-swilling, toe tapping party celebrating Clouds Brewing 7th year anniversary.
German Oktoberfest kicks off at 2pm (so good you have to do it twice a year) followed by the St Patrick’s Day Fest at 7pm.
Traditional music and dancing to suit each country all day. No cover charge for the Irish Fest but your Oktoberfest price includes first beer and a Marchtoberfest glass.
10. Cook an Irish dinner with friends
All you need is some Irish soda bread, a bowl of steaming potato and leek soup, and either bacon and cabbage, bangers and mash, or Guinness stew for the main.
Put on your Irish playlist during your dinner experience. Of course, I always recommend U2, if you want something a little more modern, put on Inhaler. Close your eyes and tell me who the lead singer sounds like. Yep. It’s none other than Bono’s son!
Of course, you can’t go wrong with the Dubliners for more Traditional Irish music. I guarantee you’ll break out into some kind of Irish jig.
11. Watch an Irish Movie
Celebrate Irish culture by watching an Irish movie and learning about its rich and complicated past, especially its fight for freedom from oppressive British rule.
My Left Foot bagged Daniel Day Lewis a best actor Oscar. Michael Collins will give you a little insight into real life revolutionary, And Bloody Sunday is a documentary of the civil rights protest and massacre of January 1972,
We recently watched the newly released, Award-winning Banshees of Inisherin, unfortunately it is a couple of hours of our life we won’t get back, but you may like it. I did think the acting was very good and the scenery beautiful.
Snatch with Brad Pitt will give you an insight into my Dublin teaching days. I was a small group teacher for the Irish minority in my school.
I spent almost the entire time asking them if they could repeat that. It’s the thickest accent I’ve ever come across. But what a heartwarming and rewarding cultural experience that was for me.
12. Spend time with the Goats
- Where: Spring Haven Farms
- When: March 8-19, 2023; 10am-4pm Weds to Sun
- Cost: $13.50 ages 4+
- Tickets: You must reserve in advance
Since much of Ireland is countryside and farmland, why not spend a couple of hours with goats at Spring Haven Farm. We’ve recommended them as a farm to visit for pumpkin patches and Halloween.
They always have something fun going on year-round, especially for kids. This St Patrick’s Day they offer you the opportunity to trade the chaos of city life to the peacefulness of countryside living. There’ll be activities throughout the day, Irish hospitality, and of course, goats to cuddle!
13. St Patrick’s Day celebration on the Old Mill Farm
- Where: The Old Mill Farm, 8913 NC Highway 751 South Durham, NC
- When Sat, Mar 18, 2023 12pm
- Cost: $12 ages 3+; $40 family pack (4 people)
It may be a short drive from Raleigh, but it’s sure to be a fun event in wide open spaces, especially for families.
Featuring a scavenger hunt for treasure, 6 hours of live Irish/Celtic music from Gaelic Ails & Barrowburn, The Paddy Wagon Food Truck, Green Beer, Irish Step Dancers, & so much more!
Admission includes parking, plus scavenger hunt for kids (includes treasure/gem mining at the end), or first beverage at the bar (adults).
The Old Mill Farm is a historical farm that has many events throughout the year including Live music on Fridays at the Farm.
14. Bull McCabe’s St Patrick’s Day Party (Durham)
- Where: 427 W Main St, Durham, NC 2770
- When: Fri, March 17, 2023, 11am – midnight
While we’re in Durham, one of our favorite pubs for their Irish personality and spacious beer garden is Bull McCabe’s.
Their St Patrick’s Day party will include an entertainment lineup that includes bagpipes, dancers, and live bands. Family friendly until 8:00, strictly 21 and up after 8. They are also showing the Six Nations Rugby.
15. Event in a Tent at Trali Irish Pub
- Where: 10370 Moncreiffe Rd, Raleigh, NC 27617
- When: Friday, March 17, 2023 @ 5pm
- Cost: Free
Bring your good craic into the tent at Traili. There’ll be creamy pints of Guinness, traditional Irish music and dance, and live music in the evening from The Gravy Boys (americana, Honky tonk & Bluegrass) and Cory Luethen and the Traveling Blues Band.
NOTE: Pints of Guinness are $5 on a Sunday!
16. St Patrick’s Paddy on the Green Festival (Lafayette Village)
- Where: Lafayette Village, North Raleigh
- When: Sat, Mar 18, 2023, 12 – 4pm
Offering an entertaining, fun-filled peek into Irish Culture. Enjoy live music, food, and fun for the entire family! One:40 a Tribute to U2 will play on the green. Mackie Hayman will be in the courtyard with Irish dancers. As it’s in the village you can shop and dine here!
17. Party on the Tin Roof for St Patrick’s Day
- Where: Tin Roof, Glenwood Ave
- When: Fri, 17 March at 4pm
If going green is on your wish list, then you’ll enjoy a green beer on the rooftop of Tin Roof (note, you can’t turn Guinness green). Music starts at 630PM with The Reruns followed by Cody Clark Band on the main stage & DJ KJB on the Rooftop at 8PM!
18. St Paddy’s Dance Party (Fortnight Brewery)
- Where: Fortnight Brewery, Cary
- When: Sat, Mar 18, 2023 8pm
- Cost: $5
It wouldn’t be a special occasion without Fortnight Brewery in Cary, throwing their flat caps in the ring. Their St Patrick’s Day party will feature music, dance lights and a costume contest.
19. Green Gnome Feest, Norse Brewing
- Where: 203 Brooks Street, Wake Forest, NC
- When: Sat, March 18 @ 12pm
Not wanting to leave our Wake Forest friends without an option in this list of things to do for St Patrick’s Day in the Triangle.
Norse Brewing is having a Green Gnome Fest. Energetic Irish pub rock band, Nine Time around will play from 12pm -3pm and funky, high-energy band, Matty Begs will close out the night from 7-10pm.
They’ll have their own craft beer and some Irish Food. Special Edition Green Gnome Fest tees will be available for $25
20. Participate in an Irish Scavenger Hunt
- Raleigh St. Patrick’s Day Treasure Hunt is on Saturday, Mar 11, Sunday 12 March & Sat, March 18, 2023 @ 2pm. Depart with a treasure map on a walking team scavenger hunt and follow St. Patrick’s Day themed clues, solve puzzles, and crack codes to find and unlock the treasure chest for a grand prize!
- Shamrock Search Scavenger Hunt is a competitive scavenger hunt perfect for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in a family-friendly & fun way! Find all the hidden green shamrocks in downtown Raleigh first to win a basket full of goodies from local businesses. Sat, March 18, 2023 at 2:30pm in Moore Square.
21. Plan a trip to Ireland
Why not grab a six pack of Guinness from the store, or make yourself an Irish coffee, sit down with a loved one and start planning a trip to Ireland?
It’s a very easy country to travel to and around. Craig flew into Dublin via Washington DC. We have some posts to help you on our travel blog:
- You don’t want to miss these experiences and things to do in Dublin.
- Introducing Achill Island, Ireland’s largest Offshore island (See, Eat, Do)
- 23 Experiences to Have In Ireland (for 1st time visitors)
- 15 Incredible Places to Visit in Ireland with Kids
Comment: Your turn to share. What are you doing for St Patrick’s Day? Any great memories to share from previous year’s celebrations? Have you been to Ireland or want to go?