When I traveled through Ireland back in the ’80s and ’90s and the folks there learned that I lived in San Antonio, Texas, they’d ask, “Say lassie, is it true that they dye the river green for St. Patrick’s Day?”
I could say without trace of blarney that indeed ’tis true. (Update: This year’s greening will take place on Saturday, March 17, 2012, at 3 p.m.)
Any why not? Many of the heroes of the famed battle of the Alamo were Irish. To commemorate their service, members of San Antonio’s Harp & Shamrock Society will lay a wreath on the shrine at noon on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.
The feast day of St. Patrick falls during Lent; however, I have it from good counsel–our Irish priest–that only 39 of the 40 days of Lent are observed by those with Irish blood. “You’ll be wanting to water the shamrock” is what he actually said.
So for those who want to water their shamrocks, you won’t have any problem finding a place on or near San Antonio’s greened river to do so.
Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub, located on the river level at the Hilton Palacio del Rio, has Guinness Stout on tap. Guess it wouldn’t be an Irish pub if it didn’t. Green beer (ground-up shamrocks?) is also available. Open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, except on Sundays when they’re open from noon to 2 a.m. Go in for a brew and to sing along with the piano player.
Further down the River Walk, you’ll find MadDogs, a British Pub that swings Irish for St. Patrick’s Day. Located on the river level of the Hyatt Regency, you may watch people as they stroll down the River Walk while you sip your Guinness Stout. Open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 2 a.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m.
Pat O’Brien’s, located at 121 Alamo Plaza, should be a happening place on Thursday. Open daily from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m., dueling pianos begin at 5 p.m. during Happy Hour (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily). Remember to wear green!
Update: This year’s Irish Fest is on Friday, March 16, 2012, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and on Saturday, March 17, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., in La Villita.
Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh! (St. Patrick’s Day blessings upon you!)