Celebrate St. Patrick's Day The Dublin Way

Dubliners and Americans both celebrate St. Patrick's Day on March 17 every year. But, while parades, Guinness, and hangovers the day after are all hallmarks of the celebration, there are certain things Americans do on St. Patrick's Day that Dubliners do not. For instance, they don't dye their rivers green and they call the day St. Paddy's Day or Paddy's Day.

March 17 is a national holiday in Ireland — not in the U.S. — commemorating the death of the country's patron saint. St. Patrick is credited for bringing the Christian faith into the country and so the holiday is anchored on this religious aspect for the Irish. However, festivities and revelries now abound in Ireland as well to attract tourists — a secular celebration of all things Irish that was started by Irish immigrants in the U.S.

In any case, St. Patrick's Day is a day of celebration filled with fun, beer, and love for Ireland. But, if you want to stay true to Ireland's way, here's how to celebrate Paddy's Day like a Dubliner.

Visit a St. Patrick's church near you

As March 17 sometimes falls on Lent, attending church in the morning before the celebrations begin in the afternoon is an old tradition for families in Ireland. While you don't necessarily have to attend mass, it's a good idea to visit the nearest St. Patrick's Church to pay homage to the saint in whose honor this joyous and fun-filled day is celebrated.

In the U.S., the biggest celebrations of St. Patrick's Day can be found in New York, Boston, and Chicago. Other places in the country also hold St. Paddy's Day in high esteem, including Philadelphia and Savannah. If ever you're in or near these places, take a quick visit to the historic churches dedicated to the saint, pay your respects, and learn a bit of history. Some of these churches offer tours.

St. Patrick's Cathedral on New York's Fifth Avenue should be a must-visit. Located just across the Rockefeller Center, it is the largest Gothic Catholic cathedral in the country. Marvel at its 330-foot spires, stained glass windows, and a 7,855-pipe giant organ. Meanwhile, Chicago's Old St. Patrick's Church survived a Chicago fire to become the city's oldest public building. In Savannah, the old Civil War-era St. Patrick's Church was destroyed by a hurricane, but its bricks and other materials live on in other churches, such as Our Lady of Lourdes Church, other local Catholic sites, and a school.

Wear something green

You can keep your "Kiss me, I'm Irish" t-shirt because contrary to what you might be thinking, TravelPulse found that wearing something green on St. Patrick's day is something even the Irish back in Ireland do. So, deck yourself out in your most green ensemble — the more, the better.

While blue was the color originally associated with St. Patrick's Day, green is now the color of the day. The reasons for wearing green on this day vary from being invisible to leprechauns to green being the color of Irish Catholics to shamrocks being green and so on. It is the color that most everyone is wearing, so why not just go along?

There are many ways you can dress up in green. You can go all out, with goofy hats and face paint, or you can keep it simple with just a touch of green to your outfit or accessorize with something green or Ireland-related like a shamrock necklace. It's up to you.

Watch a St. Patrick's Day parade

Something both Americans and Dubliners have in common: parades! According to the History Channel, the U.S. holds over 100 St. Patrick's Day parades, with the largest being held in New York and Boston. This is perhaps only fitting as the tradition of St. Patrick's Day parades began in the United States — in St. Augustine, Florida — in 1601. In Dublin, the first parade was only held in 1931, 330 years later.

Marching bands, floats, creative pageants, costumes, fun and revelry characterize these parades. In Dublin, more than 4,000 people join in the march, per Lonely Planet, and about half a million people come to watch the parade, according to Reuters. The parade is free to watch, though a number of grandstands require tickets. The parade winds through the heart of the city, with the route typically from Parnell Square through O'Connell Street, over O'Connell Bridge, before ending at Wexford Street. If you want to see the real deal but you're not in Dublin, tune in to SPF TV to see the parade and other performances.

Dublin's march is small in comparison to New York's St. Patrick's Day parade, the oldest and largest worldwide, which sees around 2 million people. And, among the about 150,000 people who join the parade include members of Irish societies, politicians, and many more, marching from East 44th to East 79th Streets at exactly 11 a.m. led by a Grand Marshall.

Drink a pint of Guinness

Guinness, dubbed the "king of beers" by travel expert Rick Steves, is a must on St. Patrick's Day. In Ireland, you'd go to a pub (short for public house) to get a pint, but in the U.S., you can order it online, get one from Walmart or Target, or head out to an Irish pub or the Guinness Brewery in Baltimore. (A second brewery and taproom is scheduled to open in Chicago the summer of 2023 at the Fulton Market neighborhood, reports NBC Chicago.)

The Guinness Brewery in Maryland features beer releases, live music, trivia nights, and beer dinners to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Of course, you can also check out the beer and food at its Taproom and Beer Garden any time. Menu includes Guinness beef stew and signature brown bread from the Taproom and Guinness Blonde Bratwurst, wild boar sausage, and venison chili from the Beer Garden. There are also food and beer tasting tours as well as a special beer dinner on St. Patrick's Day.

If you'd rather celebrate at home or host an event, pair your beer with Irish St. Patrick's Day staples, such as soda bread or corned beef and cabbage. For soda bread, don't use an American recipe, which has a lot of additives. You can follow this recipe from the BBC instead, which is closer to the traditional soda bread of the Irish.

Listen to traditional music

Trad is traditional Irish music, and in Ireland, Guinness is typically downed with trad, according to Rick Steves. If you were in a Dublin pub holding a pint of Guinness, you'd most probably hear music from flutes, fiddles, and the Irish drum bodhráns, creating a convivial atmosphere what is apt for St. Patrick's Day.

You don't have to travel to Dublin to listen to trad though. This list from Irish Central features some of the best places in the country where you can get beer and trad. Old ale houses are always worth a visit. If in New York, head to McSorley's Old Ale House, which opened in 1854. If in Philadelphia, McGillin's is the place to get a pint. Or, experience a Dublin pub in Washington, D.C. at The Dubliner Restaurant on Capitol Hill. For a week-long St. Patrick's Day celebration in Chicago, visit Fado. In Florida, Waxy O'Connor's offers beer and traditional Irish food, while Kevin Barry's Pub in Savannah, Georgia, will quell your thirst for Guinness and live Irish music.