Some people were lucky enough to be born Irish.

The rest of us have to be happy with feeling just a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s the one day a year when it’s extremely easy to find Irish food, drink, dance and music.

This year, with St. Patrick’s Day falling on Sunday, there’s a huge variety of Irish-themed fun planned for restaurants, bars, clubs, organizations and public spaces. Being a Sunday, it also means we all have plenty of time to partake.

Here are some suggestions for ways to be Irish, or at least feel Irish, for one day.


You can’t be Irish without an appreciation for the bagpipes. Luckily, on St. Patrick’s Day the pipes, the pipes, will be calling all along the Portland waterfront. Members of the Portland-based Claddagh Mhor Pipe Band will be marching in the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade begins at noon Sunday, at the Portland Fish Pier, then marchers head up Commercial Street to Franklin Street.


Some of the tunes the pipers are slated to play, stopping at various points along the route, include “The Minstrel Boy,” “Wrap the Green Flag,” “Dawning of the Day” and “Rose of Allendale.” If hearing the pipes stirs your soul and you want more, you could inquire about lessons. The pipe band offers lessons on Monday nights at the Maine Irish Heritage Center on Gray Street in Portland. For more info, go

The Claddagh Mhor Pipe Band will be performing several times on St. Patrick’s Day. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer


The Irish really know how to kick up (and click down on) their heels, as anyone can plainly see by the energy and passion exhibited in Irish dance. You can be part of this pageantry on Sunday by watching dancers from Stillson School of Irish Dance perform all day long.

A few of the school’s dancers will start the day with a 20-minute performance for breakfast revelers at 9:30 a.m. at O’Reilly’s Cure in Scarborough. The school’s full performance team will be part of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade starting at noon. In the early afternoon, some dancers will be at Ri Ra Irish Pub on Commercial Street for another 20-minute performance. The full performance team will be together again for a 40-minute show around 2:30 p.m., at the annual open house at the Maine Irish Heritage Center on Gray Street. For more information on the school and classes, go to

Dancers from Stillson School of Irish Dance performing at O’Reilly’s Cure in Scarborough in 2022. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer


St. Patrick’s Day is the best day to see how Irish your taste buds are. There are lots of bars and restaurants offering corned beef dinners and other Irish-themed fare, so it’s not hard to find one near you. If you want to eat Irish food surrounded by bits of Ireland, then head to Ri Ra in Portland. The place is actually furnished with interiors and materials that were in pubs in Ireland, then shipped to Portland and put to new use. You can also get an early start to your day of being Irish here; at 6 a.m., the pub will start serving an Irish breakfast with bangers, rashers, baked beans, grilled tomatoes and black pudding. Other Irish classics served during the day include shepherd’s pie, fish and chips and, of course, corned beef and cabbage. For more information, go to


There’s a lot of wearing of the green on St. Patrick’s Day at Ri Ra in Portland. Staff photo by Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer


To feel truly Irish, you need to try, at least once, a Guinness stout, Jameson whiskey and Baileys Irish Cream.  Again, there are places all over southern Maine where you can partake in these on St. Patrick’s Day, but if you want to try most of them in one place, might we make an unexpected suggestion: Bonfire Country Bar on Wharf Street in Portland. It’s advertising Guinness for $6 as well as a Guinness beef stew. There are also some innovative drink creations, including an Irish Mudslide with Baileys, Jameson, Kahlua, half and half, whipped cream and chocolate. A drink called Irish Eyes has Jameson, creme de menthe and cream, while the Irish Mule has Jameson, ginger beer and lime juice. For more information, go to


The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a moving Irish party. It begins at noon at the Portland Fish Pier on Commercial Street and lasts about an hour, ending at Franklin Street. More than 500 people are scheduled to March. Besides Irish dancers and pipers mentioned above, the Dunlap Highland Band will also be marching and playing. Other marchers and revelers include grand marshal Portland Mayor Mark Dion, the members of the Irish American Club, Portland Women’s Rugby, Irish wolfhounds and according to organizers, St. Patrick himself. For more info, go to

Members of the Dunlap Highland Band march in Portland’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade last year. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

After the parade, the party of Irishness continues at the Maine Irish Heritage Center Open House at Gray and State streets in Portland, beginning at 1 p.m. There will be tours of the center, housed in the former St. Dominic’s church, including its library and genealogy resources. There will also be food trucks outside, snacks and beverages inside and live music provided by Joe Marley, The Singing Celt. For more info, go to

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