It’s early March, which means spring is almost upon us! But before the flowers are in full bloom, people of Irish descent around the world (or people looking for a reason to imbibe) celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th. While historically a religious holiday, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into more of a secular affair in modern times, involving revelery, drinking, green clothing, and celebrating all things Irish.
So, in honor of St. Paddy’s Day, we thought we’d delve into the history of the holiday, and, for those interested in some fun, we conclude with a great spot to safely celebrate in the DC area.
St. Patrick’s Day honors Saint Patrick, the most famous patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the 5th century (or possibly even the late 4th century, his birth and death dates remain unknown to historians.) At the age of 16, Saint Patrick was kidnapped from his father’s home in Britain by a band of Irish pirates and taken to Ireland, where he was held captive as a slave for the next 6 years. According to Patrick’s own writings, the 6 years he spent as a slave was critical to his spiritual and religious development. During this period, he fostered his relationship with God through prayer, and eventually converted to Christianity.
After 6 years of enslavement, Saint Patrick managed to escape his captors and return to Britain. After being reunited with his family, Patrick, now in his twenties, resumed his study of Christianity that he began in Ireland. A few years after returning to Britain, he had a vision that a man came to him from Ireland, bringing him a letter titled “The Voice of the Irish.” This vision spurred Patrick to return to Ireland as a missionary, where he established churches and schools and converted thousands of Irish people to Christianity–thus, completing the work for which he became celebrated.
While the Irish historically honored Saint Patrick with religious services and feasts, it was 18th and 19th century Irish emigrants to the United States who transformed March 17th into the secular, merrymaking holiday that it is today. Cities with large populations of Irish immigrants began holding St. Patrick’s Day parades, with Boston being the first in 1737, followed by New York City in 1762.
Since the late 1700s, Americans of Irish descent have continued to celebrate the holiday, which is now marked by drinking, wearing green (especially items with shamrocks), and consuming corned beef and cabbage. The city of Chicago even started dyeing its river green in 1962 to mark the day.
Now that you know a bit about the history, read on for our recommendation for the best place to celebrate.
Guinness Open Gate Brewery
Did you know that Guinness’ only U.S. brewery happens to be outside of Baltimore? The Guinness Open Gate Brewery is the perfect destination for those who want to (safely) celebrate St. Paddy’s Day, and as you can imagine, the month of March brings some special events. For St. Patrick’s Day 2021, the brewery is hosting celebrations every weekend in March, where you can enjoy plenty of Irish beer on tap, live music, and movie nights! The brewery also offers a full Irish breakfast (think thick cut bacon, bangers, baked beans, eggs, grilled tomato, breakfast potatoes, and brown bread) for hungry revelers. The seating is spaced out to ensure social distancing, and, if you don’t feel safe celebrating indoors, there is plenty of outdoor seating made possible by heat lamps.
If you’d like to wait to check out Open Gate post-COVID, the brewery has plenty to do year round. There is a taproom, restaurant, brand store full of Guinness gear, and beer garden on site. The brewery also offers free onsite tours detailing Guinness’ 260 year history, although at the moment tours are virtual only. This place is certainly worth checking out for those who love beer or all things Irish!
If you’ve had a few Guinesses and started to browse Zillow in search of your dream home, please give Lise a call at 240-401-5577 for coffee and expert advice on buying or selling real estate in the DC area!