City, Coronavirus, News

Boston celebrates second COVID-era St. Patrick’s Day

Boston will host its second COVID-19-adapted St. Patrick’s Day Wednesday, with many of the city’s traditions shifted online or canceled entirely.

st patrick's day celebration in south boston
St. Patrick’s Day Celebration in South Boston. Most of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities have been canceled or moved online this year. COURTESY OF MASSACHUSETTS OFFICE OF TRAVEL & TOURISM VIA FLICKR

South Boston’s traditional St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been canceled for the second year in a row, while outdoor dining spaces remain closed at restaurants and bars that typically host celebrations.

Chris White, bartender and server at the historic Green Dragon Tavern, said with restrictions on live music in restaurants still in place, the bar won’t have its usual St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

“We’re going to run it just like a regular day, like a regular Wednesday,” he said. 

Typically, the Green Dragon Tavern hosts a band and the bar is usually “full in the first hour,” White said.

He added that the Green Dragon’s capacity dropped from 146 customers plus standing room to just 60 seated.

However, Wednesday still has a host of events and ways for Bostonians to celebrate the luck of the Irish.

The Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys will be performing a virtual concert at 7 p.m. Last year, they performed a virtual concert on the holiday — keeping up a tradition of performing on St. Patrick’s Day weekend since 1996.

For the 2nd year in a row, we’ll be playing a March 17 show in Boston…beamed to your living room,” the band tweeted Feb. 15.

This year’s performance is titled “Still Locked Down,” while last year’s was called “Streaming Up From Boston,” a play on their song “I’m Shipping Up To Boston.”

The Irish Heritage Trail is also open to the public.

On the trail, participants can see famous and historic sites that were important to the Irish immigrants of Boston — including the Rose Kennedy Garden, Boston City Hall, the site of the Boston Massacre and the Boston Public Library. The trail ends at Fenway Park.

Other local restaurants, such as Ned Devine’s, Summer Shack Cambridge, Harpoon Brewery and City Tap House, are offering special St. Patrick’s Day menus available for takeout or dine-in.

Additionally, Boston’s Irish Film Festival is running for five days starting Wednesday. Programming will run virtually on a new streaming service made in partnership with Culture Ireland.

“This new service is a welcome addition to the IFI’s long-running IFI International initiative,” according to the festival’s website, “a program which works closely with cultural festivals to bring the best of new and classic Irish cinema to venues around the world.”

This year’s selection includes feature films “A Bump Along The Way” and “The Last Right” as well as documentaries “When Women Won” and “The Hunger: The Story of the Irish Famine,” among others.

The St. Patrick’s Day Road Race, a 5K run that typically occurs in-person each year, went virtual for 2021 — running from March 13 to 21. Participants can run, walk, bike, row, treadmill or Peloton 3.1 miles for chances to win prizes and raise funds for the Edgerley Family South Boston Boys & Girls Club.

Last year, the Boston-staple St. Patrick’s Day Parade was canceled March 10, 2020. 

This decision is being made out of an abundance of caution to ensure that we are doing what is needed to keep the residents of Boston safe and healthy,” Mayor Marty Walsh wrote.

This year, following a second parade cancellation, Walsh reiterated the importance of COVID-19 safety protocols in a Wednesday afternoon Twitter thread.

“The safest way to celebrate is at home with the people who live with you or to gather virtually with friends and family,” Walsh tweeted. “I love St. Patrick’s Day as much as anyone else but we must stay vigilant in order to stop the spread of #COVID19.”


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