Brooklyn's a great place to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. You aren't faced with huge crowds of sodden people, yet there's a lot of fun things to do, from bar hopping to readings of Irish literature to kid-friendly parades. Or, just put on a green t-shirt and have a normal day. Here are a dozen ways to mark St. Patrick's Day, whether or not you're Irish!
Skip the crush of people in Manhattan, and head to one of Brooklyn's local, picturesque parades! You'll get a mini version of the whole thing: bagpipes and kilts, lots of shamrocks and green, and have a grand time!
There are a couple of places in Brooklyn to learn Irish dancing, for instance Buckley School Of Irish Dance (see brooklynirishdance.com)and the Donny Golden School of Dance, run by a nationally acclaimed dancer and teacher. Learn more.
3. Rent a KiltHead to Rent-a-Kilt in Bay Ridge at 9018 4th Avenue, to rent a full men's kilt outfit for St. Patrick's or any other holiday.
Check out some of the interesting Irish pubs in Brooklyn, which range from new and cool to historic. Learn more
Bargemusic, the classical music venue that's on a renovated historic barge in the middle of the East River, in DUMBO, offers an alternative to St. Patrick's Day chaos in the city: a concert. In 2013, for instance, they showcase Celtic and American folk musician Ashley Davis and Irish harp virtuoso Cormac De Barra in honor of St. Pat's.
7. Shop Irish
Head to Bay Ridge to two specialty shops offering Irish imported foods, clothes and everyday items. Learn more.
Celebrate Irish heritage with a party in a traditional tea room setting, and a menu of such items as shepherds pie, fish and chips, bangers and mash, and Guiness stew. For sweets, choose among trifle and treacle, spotted dick pudding and Bailey's gelato. This Bay Ridge venue is one of a kind, with an Irish store in front and an Irish experience in the back room.
Especially wonderful for children age 5 and under, the Brooklyn Children's Museum introduces fun, loving elements of Irish music, food and culture for a St. Patrick's Day special "Imagine a Day in Ireland!" program. See their website for program details. There are morning and afternoon sessions.
It's hard to believe how many interesting people are buried in Brooklyn's Greenwood Cemetery (or maybe their tour guides are simply wonderful storytellers.) In any event, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, try to book onto a guided tour of some of the more famous Irish men and women, romantics, rogues, politicians and poets, who are among Brooklyn's most permanent residents. In 2012, for instance, there was a guided tour of Eminent Irish Men and Women in Brooklyn. Advance ticket purchase required.