Beer and whiskey drinkers, rejoice. St. Patrick’s Day—March 17—falls on Saturday this year. Columba McGlynn, a British-born Irishman, hopes locals celebrating St. Patrick’s Day will adopt some of the proper Irish customs.
McGlynn, 40, was born in Birmingham, England, before moving to Ireland at age 4.
“It makes me a Plastic Paddy,” McGlynn said in mocking self-deprecation, referring to the slang term for non-Irish adopting the culture.
In reality, McGlynn is full-blooded Irish and proud of it. He lived in Ireland for 31 years, bringing the customs to the United States when he moved to Seattle in 2005.
The original plan was for McGlynn to split the year in four-month increments between Seattle (where nine of his first cousins live), Vail, Colo., and New Zealand. He moved to Vail for ski season shortly after arriving in Seattle.
In 2006, a few weeks into his stay in Vail, McGlynn was run over by a speeding vehicle that left him hospitalized with six skull fractures, four broken ribs, a punctured lung and a separated shoulder.
McGlynn has since recovered, settled in Seattle full time and has much to celebrate. For one, he celebrates his Irish roots throughout the year.
“In America, for one day (St. Patrick’s Day) everyone is Irish,” McGlynn said. “The Irish, no matter where they are, they carry their traditions.”
McGlynn would like to dispell some of the myths around the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. First of all, the traditional St. Patrick’s Day celebration is more sedate than the American debaucherous interpretation, McGlynn explains.
“It’s more like Thanksgiving than the Fourth of July,” McGlynn said. “It’s a religious holiday. You go to mass, with or without going to a bar first, in the morning and then you have a big meal with your family.”
In the United States, St. Patrick’s Day has translated into a drinking holiday.
“I think St. Patrick’s Day is bastardized by big business here like any other holiday,” McGlynn said. “In America, it’s an excuse to go drinking.”
If you want to drink in the traditional Irish style, McGlynn recommends Guinness Irish Stout, Harp Lager, Smithwick’s Irish Red Ale, Magners Irish Cider and Bushmills Whiskey.
McGlynn says the same thing has happened with the traditional Irish meal.
“It’s just a misconception that Irish eat corned beef and cabbage,” McGlynn said.
Instead, McGlynn said traditional dishes are bacon, eggs, sausage, black pudding (blood sausage), white pudding (pork meat, pork fat, beef fat, oatmeal and bread crumb sausage) and Irish soda bread.
“And there will always be roasted potatoes,” McGlynn adds.
McGlynn said no St. Patrick’s Day celebration would be complete without an Irish band. His favorite group is the Saw Doctors.
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on the Eastside
For Irish and Plastic Paddies on the Eastside looking to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, there are several local bars to choose from, including A Terrible Beauty in Renton, Paddy Coyne’s in Bellevue, Wilde Rover in Kirkland and J.J. Mahoney’s in Redmond.
A Terrible Beauty in Renton packs foosball, ping pong, darts and other pub games in a 7,000-square-foot, two-story space, plus an outdoor patio with a fire pit. With close to 30 beers on tap, there’s something for every beer drinker, including McGlynn’s recommended Guinness, Harp, Smithwick’s and Magners. The pub will be open at 9 a.m. until 1:30 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day.
J.J. Mahoney’s in Redmond, regularly opening at 11 a.m., will open at 9 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day. They serve McGlynn’s recommended traditional Irish breakfast of two eggs cooked to order, two Irish sausages, Irish rashers (bacon), black and white pudding, Irish beans, fried tomatoes, red potatoes and fried brown bread for $14. Come early, as the dish takes up to 20 minutes to make, longer on a busy day like St. Patrick’s Day.
Paddy Coyne’s in Bellevue’s Lincoln Square will open at 10 a.m. for breakfast service and remain open until 2 a.m. Parking at Lincoln Square is free. If you celebrate with too much beer, leave your car overnight and cab it home.
Wilde Rover in downtown Kirkland will open at 10 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day, an hour earlier than usual. Live bands, including local favorites The Kennedys and Herding Cats, will be featured from 3 p.m. until 1 a.m. Specialties such as the Jameson Whiskey Wings will be featured on St. Patrick’s Day.