An Irish Mama’s Tips for St. Patrick’s Day Shenanigans

lots of fiest flags hanging for St. Patrick's Day in IrelandI am Irish. Being 100% Irish on St. Patrick’s Day is special, but honestly, it’s pretty cool every day.

I remember the first and only time I took part in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Ireland. I was in primary school, and Sr. Mary had asked/forced a few of us to do cartwheels along its route (the reason for which only she was privy to, and we were never to ask why). Fearing her more than death itself, we did exactly as we were told. 

As usual, the town was packed, and the craic was morphing into something unholy. It had poured rain biblically all day and especially as we tumbled down Main Street in our new-ish O’Neills tracksuits. Our hands and feet landed in puddles up to our elbows, and the river of rain poured through our already-drenched clothing. Yet, throughout all of it, we were joyous. The sheer excitement of the day was not lost on us, and we happily splashed through thunderous precipitation for St. Patrick.

He is our patron saint, after all. We Irish love him, for reasons more than just the religious ones. St. Patrick’s Day is a day off work, school, and anything that resembles tedium. In fact, throughout the world, St. Patrick has become known as somewhat of a Party Patron. And sure, why not?

A Little History on St. Patrick Himself

He was not Irish! As a boy in Wales, Patrick was kidnapped for slavery and brought to Ireland to work as a shepherd. As children, this is the story we listened to yearly before the big day. It was in Ireland that Patrick was said to have become not only a Christian, but a devout one at that. After he miraculously escaped slavery and returned to Wales six years later, he felt the need to go back to heathen Ireland and convert the Irish to Christianity.

St. Patrick stained glass, fun facts about St. Patrick's DayHe used the shamrock to symbolize the Holy Trinity in his teachings. And for some unknown and bizarrely random reason, he banished the snakes that apparently riddled the place. Mind you, we are not complaining about that at all. To this day, you won’t find any snakes in Ireland. True story! Plate tectonics had absolutely nothing to do with it; anyone who might even hint at that is probably too educated for their own good.

Fun Activities for St. Patrick’s Day

Encourage everyone you know to wear green. Give a prize for the best green-on-green monochromatic outfit.

If you can find some, wear shamrocks on your lapel

Use food coloring to turn the water green in your toilet, the pond, the river, the water fountain at work! (umm, maybe not…)

Try to pronounce Irish names and places like Meabh (pronounced May-iv) or Siobhan (hint-hint: NOT Si-o-ban; it’s more like Shiv-awn). While you’re at it, try to list as many famous Irish people as you can in under a minute.

Run a 5K! Frisco and McKinney have the 5k Paddy Dash and Shamrock Run, respectively.

Throw a party. Invite your friends over for a St. Patrick’s Day party. Award a prize to the greenest guest. Hide a pot of gold and send guests on a treasure hunt.

Eat green foods. This is never a bad idea regardless of what day it is. But St. Patrick’s Day is probably the best day to eat all your favorite green foods, even if they aren’t necessarily Irish: salad, guacamole, green peas, zucchini, pesto, pistachios, lime sherbet, green frosted cupcakes, the list goes on and on.

{Read More: 10 Kid-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day Activities at Home}

Decorate. Green your home or office (or your favorite English person’s office) with strands of green lights, shamrocks, leprechauns, and streamers.

Look for four-leaf clovers! Pack a picnic and head to the park, or just relax in the backyard while you imagine trying to escape a banshee in a Fairy Fort.

Play Irish music. Pull out those old favorites or add some new ones to your playlist. In fact, how about a shameless plug for my cousin Mairead Nesbitt, who has a number of albums to choose from. You can even learn to play like her.

NYC St. Patrick's Day parade bagpiper

St. Patrick’s Day in Dallas and Collin County

Dallas will bring back its huge parade and festival on March 12 with Dirk Nowitzki as Grand Marshal. See the link for a map of the parade route and information on the block party and Toadies concert.

McKinney also has St. Patrick’s Day Festivities planned for March 12 including the Shamrock Run 5k at TUPP’s Brewery and a Beer Walk in Historic Downtown McKinney. There’s something fun at both events for everyone: outdoor vendor market, costume contests, a St. Patrick’s Day photo booth, and more.

Legacy Hall’s St. Patrick’s Weekend Party on March 12 features green beer at multiple bars, Tullamore Irish whiskey specials, live music lineup, and an adult-friendly Gold Coin Scavenger Hunt. FREE until 6:30pm after which the Box Garden becomes a ticketed area for the Prince tribute concert.

Go to an Irish Pub on St. Patrick’s Day

The Celt in Historic Downtown McKinney will have live music all day on March 17.

Delaney’s Pub in McKinney also has events and the best of fare to offer!

What to Eat on St. Patrick’s Day

Cabbage & Bacon

We eat a boiled-for-hours shoulder of bacon and cabbage, which is altogether a much tastier dish than corned beef.

Irish Soda Bread

A St. Patrick’s Day favorite. I make this year-round. With lashings of Kerrygold Irish butter, it’s pure heaven.


THE BEST MASHED POTATOES YOU’LL EVER EAT. Seriously, I love this dish! And if I didn’t care about fitting into my clothes, I would eat this daily.

Whatever you do on the day, you can be sure that it will be a lot of fun. You don’t have to be Irish or to have ever set foot in Ireland to take part in St. Patrick’s Day. Besides being the land of saints and scholars, Ireland is also the place of a thousand welcomes. So, whether you’re an American who hasn’t a clue where Ireland is and calls it St. Patty’s Day (cringe) or a schoolgirl in a rain-soaked Irish village, filled with pride at partaking in the local parade, we are all the same on this special day. 

Let’s raise a glass to these things in life that bring us together. In fact, you can kiss us, ‘cos we’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!

Sláinte, y’all!

Dymphna Keohan
Dymphna Keohan lives in Frisco with her husband,Paul, and their four children, (17yrs-23yr old). Originally from Ireland, Dymphna has lived in Texas for over 25 years. She works full-time as an inclusion teacher for Frisco ISD. Dymphna and her family are avid travelers and enjoy finding out fascinating things about the cities they visit. As a stress reliever, working out is her fuel, and like a crazy person, she runs six miles a day!