Weekend Trip Idea: Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Festivities

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It’s officially parade season, where the majority of blog posts will be dedicated to St. Patrick’s day shenanigans and I will be posted less frequently because I will be attending such shenanigans every weekend and thus have less free time than usual.

One Pennsylvania “Irish” tradition I frequently embrace is Philadelphia’s Erin Express, a popular barcrawl originally started by Cavanaugh’s Restaurant in West Philadelphia (just past University City) usually held the second and third weekend of March. Approximately fifteen bars participate and from 11-5 these bars have specials, entertainment (many of them close down portions of the street outside and have bands, djs, tents and food) and a fleet of school buses that rotate through said bars so that if you’d like you could participate in all 15. From what I remember there is no cover at any bars, but again, this is from what I remember, not something that’s set in stone.

Erin Express is very much a morning/afternoon event so if you do want to participate plan accordingly and arrive on the earlier side. By dinnertime things are normally very much quieting down. Now many of the participating are of the faux Irish pub variety so if you want a more authentic barcrawl experience try this Philly Irish Pub crawl I came up with a few years ago.

There’s also an event called “Running of the Micks” which is on March 1 and 8th and thrown by the Running of the Santa’s people. From what I understand this is a separate entity from Erin Express. I sort of hate that the only “participating bar” is Finnigan’s Wake “America’s Legendary Irish Pub.” Sure, I don’t hate Finnigan’s Wake (We go there every Christmas and I have a blast) and it is the name of one of the great Irish folk songs but America’s Legendary Irish Pub it is not. On the plus side, the “Running of the Mick’s” also includes “Mcpattyfest” which I’m assuming is similar to the “North Pole” party at Running of the Santas. They don’t have a location listed yet, but will have performances by Secret Service and Go-Go Gadget, for those of you who get excited by the SIC music scene.

As much as I love seeing Secret Service and Go-Go Gadget, I’m always a little disappointed by the lack of Irish music at these festivals. If “everyone is Irish” on St. Patrick’s Day, can’t some of the music be as well? And I get it. I get that when you’re out drinking and frolicking you want to hear songs you’re familiar with, which is why I’m trying to make it my mission to have more people learn some Irish tunes so we could properly jam out come March. I guarantee you that in Philly, you’ll have people who know this songs. Here’s five essentials to help you get started:

“Fields of Athenry”

“Wild Rover”

“Finnegan’s Wake”

“Fairy Tale of New York”

“Celtic Symphony” (aka “Grafitti on the Walls)

The Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held Sunday, March 16.

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