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St. Patrick’s Day in Washington D.C.

St. Patrick’s Day in Washington D.C.

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. And like many east coast cities, Washington, D.C. has a great Irish History. In fact, the Irish gave us one of the best neighborhood names in the country. No, not Foggy Bottom (though we love the name of our neighborhood). We’re talking about Swampoodle! It’s the area where Union Station sits today, but back in the 19th Century, scores of Irish Immigrants escaping the potato famine across the Atlantic, settled in this neighborhood nestled just north of the Capitol Building. It was also right on the banks of the old Tiber Creek that ran to the city. This dingy waterway was surrounded by so many swamps and puddles, that the name Swampoodle only made sense.

The Swampoodle neighborhood eventually became home to some of D.C.’s greatest institutions. Union Station was built right in the heart of it after the Tiber Creek was filled in. The Uline Area was also built here which was home to the very first U.S. Concert for the Beatles 50 years ago! That same arena hosted one of D.C.’s first basketball teams, the Washington Capitals, coached by the legendary Red Auerbach (of Boston Celtic’s fame). The neighborhood was also home to Swampoodle Grounds, one of the first homes of the Washington Nationals baseball team in the late 19th century. Did we mention that it was an Irishman, James Hoban, who designed the White House?

These economic developments eventually meant that the Swampoodle neighborhood would lose its dense Irish identity. But, the Irish often found ways to make due. In the years following the abolition of slavery, many Irish Immigrants worked alongside recently freed slaves and built many of the buildings that now populate the city as well as huge public works projects like the C&O Canal. So, like they have in Boston, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and all over the United States, the Irish have certainly made their stamp on D.C. history. And this upcoming Monday is a celebration of that history. With it being on a weekend, it means that there is no shortage of opportunities to show your Irish pride and just celebrate what is hopefully the beginning of Spring! Luckily, we’ve narrowed down all events and got some of our favorite St. Patrick’s Days Events for you here:

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

With over a 100 Marching bands, military units, dance schools, and floats all celebrating Irish History and culture, this rolling rally will ride down Constitution Avenue on March 16th at noon. Don’t miss this quintessential St. Patrick’s Day Experience. Perfect for the kids or just something to do before you make your way to the pubs. Find more info on the Nation’s St. Patrick’s Parade here.

Four Courts Four Miler

Want to get a little exercise while you celebrate this weekend? Irelands Four Courts is hosting their massively popular Four Mile run on Saturday. Take a nice run around Arlington during the morning and finish at Four Courts for a day of Irish music and fun. The pub will be filled with live Irish music on two stages as well as food/drink specials all day. Four Courts continues the celebration all the way through Monday. Find more info on the Four Courts Four Miler by clicking here or for more on the entire list of St. Patrick’s Day weekend events at Four Courts, click here.


Though its not till next Saturday, it’s one of D.C.’s biggest annual music festivals. With over 50 bands performing throughout the day, this year’s lineups features local favorites like White Ford Bronco and the D.C. Pipes and Drum group as well as national Irish rock acts like Dropkick Murphy’s, Carbon Leaf, and the Fighting Jamesons. For an all day party, tickets are a steal at $30. Find out more about Shamrockfest here.

Bars and Bar Crawls

It is St. Patrick’s Day after all. So here is a quick wrap up of some of our favorite pubs to grab a pint of the black and enjoy our Irish heritage (adopted or not).

RiRa Georgetown –  The brand new RiRa opened earlier this year and has been rocking since. Live Irish music and drink specials will be happening all day on March 17th.

The Dubliner – located in the old Swampoodle, the Dubliner is the classic Irish Pub with live music 7 nights a week. On St. Patrick’s day, they’ll open up at 10am for live bands on two stages all day!

Shamrock Beer Bash – for the local Beer connoisseurs. Grab a ticket for this event near National’s Park on Saturday, and get tastings of every kind of beer and cider from Green Bud Light to the most authentic Irish brews while snacking on treats from D.C.’s best food trucks.

Shamrocks and Shenanigans – the best deal on St. Patricks Day. Go for the cheap drinks? Plus Irish step dancers, pipers, music and contests.

Irish Whiskey – get $1 bottles of champagnes, half price fish and chips, and deals on Irish Whiskey and beer all day on Saturday while listening to a piper on their patio!

James Hoban’s – named for the Irish man who designed the White House, James Hoban’s in Dupont Circle will feature tons of drink specials, Irish music, rugby matches on TV and an Irish brunch on Sunday!

Looking for more?

Check out Destination D.C.’s wrap up as well as About.com’s suggestions for your St. Patrick’s Day in D.C. No matter what you decide to do … HAVE FUN! But, please, drink responsibly, don’t drink and drive.

Beannachtam na Feile Padraig! (Happy St. Patrick’s Day!)

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