Everything you need to know about celebrating on St. Patrick’s Day

March 18, 2024

We all wear green on Saint Patrick’s Day. And if you’re looking to eat, drink, read or even sing Irish this March, we’ve got you covered.

Here, we’ve gathered stories from our archives about Irish names, music, food, drink — and even the saint himself. Let’s call it our own little pot of gold.

So, like you might with a big plate of corned beef and cabbage, dig right in.

Icon of Saint Patrick from Christ the Savior Orthodox Church in Wayne, West Virginia.

He is the primary patron saint of Ireland, but was most likely born in Roman Britain and didn’t make it to the Emerald Isle until he was kidnapped by Irish pirates at the age of 16. Does that mean he was Roman? British? Could St. Patrick have actually been… Italian? More:

The 2024 Bergen County St. Patrick’s Day Parade took place on Sunday, March 10, in downtown Bergenfield. NorthJersey.com’s annual live parade broadcast captured all of the action on Washington Avenue, along with historical images of the parade and interviews with parade officials, dignitaries and more. More:

The 2024 Bergen County St. Patrick's Day Parade marches along the green line through downtown Bergenfield on Sunday March 10.

If you’re Irish — or like the way the Irish party — you’re probably looking forward to all of the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The most common traditions for this holiday across New Jersey are the annual St. Patrick’s Day parades.  in downtown Bergenfield is among them. More:

“A name that a shame never has been connected with.” That’s Harrigan — according to the old George M. Cohan song. Though it might just as easily be Murphy, Kelly, O’Brien, Ryan, Byrne, O’Connor, Walsh, O’Sullivan, McCarthy, Doyle —  Names — no less than music, poetry, shamrocks and soda bread — are part of the Irish legacy in this country. More:

Morristown Colonials Marching Band during the 2023 Morris County St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Morristown, NJ on March 11, 2023.

What’s an Irish celebration without music? Not for nothing is Ireland’s national emblem a harp. “When we heard Irish music, there’s something about the lilt, the melody, that grabs us and makes us identify it as Celtic and Irish,” said Brian Patrick Timmons, marching band recruiter for the parade, and district music coordinator at Bergenfield Public Schools, who describes himself as part-Irish by blood, 100 percent Irish by marriage (his wife is Megan; his three children are Kaleigh, Alanna and Declan). St. Patrick’s Day is music to his ears. More:

Jim Roberts, right, featured vocalist with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra, sings

Its lyrics were composed more than a century ago by English songwriter Frederic Weatherly. But to most Irish Americans, “Danny Boy” holds a hallowed place in Irish culture. And it’s hard to imagine a St. Paddy’s party or parade at which the song isn’t prominently featured. Ditto for the music of The Chieftains and the Clancy Brothers. Still putting together the playlist for your St. Paddy’s bash? Don’t overlook The Irish Rovers, The Dubliners and Sweeney’s Men, all of whom helped revive Irish folk music in the 1960s. And, while you’re at it, throw in some fancy string work from such legendary fiddlers as Mary Custy, Paddy Canny, Peadar O’Loughlin and Brian Conway. More contemporary minded? The tunes of Hozier, U2, The Cranberries and Dropkick Murphys won’t disappoint. More:

Slices of corned beef, served over a bed of cabbage and side of boiled potatoes.

New Jersey may be known for pizza, pork roll and great tomatoes, but when March begins, so does the hunt for the best corned beef. It is a St. Patrick’s Day staple, after all, along with soda bread, green bagels and Irish beer. Now that the countdown to St. Patrick’s Day is on, where can you find these dishes? Luckily, Irish eyes are smiling: Plenty of restaurants will serve Irish favorites on March 17, and some keep them coming all year long. More:

Stephanie Kurowsky's Irish Soda Bread.

When I asked a colleague for his wife’s recipe for Irish Soda Bread — I’d had it once at a staff pot luck and it was outrageously good — he said he wasn’t sure he could give it out. “She said it’s her mom’s recipe and has to check with her before sharing it so widely,” he wrote on Microsoft Teams (ah, the times we live in). No matter. There are more recipes for Irish Soda Bread online than you can throw a cup of raisins at. Google away and you’re sure to find one. But what you won’t find on a search engine are the stories behind the recipes. More:

Another successful loaf of Julia O'Neill's Irish soda bread.

For a single day each year during the 1970s, Julia O’Neill’s Irish soda bread was, hands down, the most famous soda bread in the New York metro area. No — don’t even think about arguing the point. Here’s how. More:

McDonald's iconic Oreo Shamrock McFlurry and Shamrock Shake, limited-time desserts.

This year, we’ve got a trusty recipe to help you DIY your own Shamrock Shake from the comforts of your home (shoutout to our parent paper, ). So, while the golden arches might be pumping their florescent drink with we don’t really know what, you can keep full tabs on what’s going into yours. More:

Guinness Beef Stew

We know corned beef and cabbage is going to be on many an Irish dinner table that evening, you might want to shake things up just a bit this year and have beef stew. But not just any beef stew – beef stew that has been cooked slowly and lovingly all afternoon in a simmering bath of Guinness Draught, which is a rich dark Irish dry beer that will add a deep and wonderful flavor to your stew. More:

Shepherd's Pie Quesadilla

I know my Irish mother is probably reading this column right this second, several days before The Day (as we refer to Saint Patrick’s Day in our Irish family), and wondering what on earth is her daughter thinking with this delicious travesty that is shepherd’s pie quesadillas. Crisp tortillas stuffed with a mixture of tender beef and carrots, mashed potatoes, and a little bit of cheddar cheese.  Irish cheddar cheese, please … we need to be authentic. More:

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