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Revellers across the World celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Enthusiasts of all things green and Guinness gathered in their numbers yesterday to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

The day commemorating the death of Ireland’s patron saint has become a global celebration of Ireland and, in particular, Irish drinks. According to one estimate, yesterday’s festivities may have involved 14 million pints being served at UK pubs. With the removal of most Coronavirus restrictions, many took the opportunity to partake in the first “normal” St. Paddy’s Day for two years.

Irish pubs across London were packed with partygoers. The Clachan in Soho shared the crowds surrounding their pub:

The same scene was repeated around pubs across London. The extent of the crowds may also be due to the day coinciding with “Thirsty Thursday”. With commuters more likely to work from home on Fridays, Thursday has become the new Friday night.

In the US, St. Patrick’s Day is the biggest drinking occasion on the calendar. Though less than a tenth of Americans claim Irish ancestry, the celebrations are immense. The annual dying of the Chicago River and parades across major cities are well known. Of all US cities, Boston is the one with the strongest Irish identity, prompting satire from The Onion concerning the fervour with which residents partake in the day:

A time2play survey found that Pennsylvanians consume more drinks on St. Patrick’s Day than residents of any other state, with each person having an average of 4.26 drinks. However, the state where celebrants spend the most on drinks is New Jersey, at $57.76 per person for an average of 3.07 drinks. Christopher Moltisanti of The Sopranos comes to mind when he described Hell as “an Irish bar where it’s St. Patrick’s Day every day forever.”

In Dublin the day is, unsurprisingly, a huge celebration, with many landmarks lit up green. This year, Ireland introduced a one-off bank holiday as an expression of gratitude for the sacrifices front line workers have made during the pandemic.

Beyond the Anglophone world and beyond Ireland, the day is also marked with pints of Irish stout and whiskey. Worldwide, there are an estimated 7,000 Irish-themed pubs and bars. One such pub is Paddy O’Shea’s in Beijing, which revealed to that’s magazine that it would open for its first St. Patrick’s Day since the pandemic began. The owner, Mathieu, is a French expat.

Alongside the usual drinks, St. Patrick’s Day has also become a huge commercial opportunity for breweries to sell unique beers, such as Irish breakfast tea-flavoured ale and a luminous green sour beer.

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