Subscribe to Newsletter

A teetotaller’s guide to St Patrick’s Day

When it's not queasy being green

It’s a cruelty akin to listening to Westlife on repeat when St Patrick’s Day falls on a Monday. One Guinness turns to two and then seven, an Irish Coffee is more whiskey than anything else and for some reason beer is dyed green which makes you think it’s healthy (you’re generally quite drunk by this point and thus logic is as rare as a four leaf clover).


So how are you meant to celebrate St Patrick’s Day when you’ve got to be up early tomorrow morning?


Eat your woes with Irish comfort food

Despite guidebook threats of crubeens (boiled pigs’ feet) and black pudding, food from the Emerald Isle can be a delicious alternative to a pint of stout.


Tuck into a hefty stew or colcannon (an awesome vegetable casserole) with a thick slice of soda bread and you’ll be transported to a time before Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman ever dreamed of pretending to be Irish in the worst Irishish film of all time, Far and Away.


If you want to whip up something a little more family-oriented (ie: green food colouring is a must ingredient), get the family hooked on lime sorbet floats or a Shamrock shake (basically mint ice-cream milkshakes). Dessert can be as simple as recreating a pot of gold with cubes of yellow jelly popped into a bowl.


But, if like many of us, you’re time poor and want a truly authentic Irish meal, head to the local chipper and pick up some thick cut chips. Dip them in curry sauce and you’ll be so Irish you may be mistaken for Bono (if you’re wearing sunglasses and urging people to end poverty).


Rock out to Irish tunes

Ireland has produced top music. It has also given us Brian McFadden (Westlife) and Ronan Keating (Boyzone), but we’ll forgive them a few fails for the likes of The Frames, Bell X1, Thin Lizzy, The Chieftans and U2.


And remember, no St patrick’s Day is complete without once singing Danny Boy – only when sober, you’ll actually have to learn the lyrics. Also, dancing is less dangerous when not under the leprechaun haze of a few pints, so feel free to bust a few moves Lord of the Dance style free from the fear of embarrassing falls.


Document the demise of others

Ahh, the beauty of social media. Never before has it been so easy to benefit from the downfall of so many so quickly. Being the only sober person around used to be depressing. Nowadays, with your trusty camera phone on hand you can earn yourself a pot of gold by posting your friend’s drunken antics to YouTube or using said footage in an elaborate blackmailing campaign.


Have an impromptu Irish film festival

From feel-good flicks like Waking Ned Devine, Once, and (a personal fave) The Commitments to The Crying Game and In the Name of the Father, sit back and immerse yourself in an Ireland that almost makes up for not being there.


Plan your next trip to Ireland

From the money you save not drinking on St Patrick’s Day and by blackmailing friends, why not book your next trip to Ireland to experience a real St Patrick’s Day. Though I dare you to go teetotal there!


For details on where to go and what Irish pubs to avoid, visit your local travel agent or head to




Click here to read the latest issue of traveltalk Click here to read the latest issue of traveltalk
Written by: Gaya Avery
Published: 17 March 2014

comments powered by Disqus