St. Patrick’s Day is back this year.

Not that it ever left. It was always on the calendar, always in the hearts of the people. But a day that’s known for joyous, raucous celebrations of all things Irish was truly tamped down during the pandemic, which first hit the United States in mid-March of 2020, essentially canceling St. Patrick’s Day that year. In 2021, some virtual and spaced out events were held.

This year, however, most of the St. Patrick’s Day festivities at bars, restaurants and other venues around southern Maine will be pretty much back to normal. If you’re so inclined, you can have a big Irish breakfast while listening to Irish music, take a plunge for charity and basically eat corned beef and drink stout or whiskey the rest of the day at any number of places.

Portland’s big St. Patrick’s Day Parade is back in person this year, too, but it was scheduled to be held the Sunday before the holiday, as it normally is. St. Patrick’s Day is Thursday, March 17.

Here are some ideas for things to do, eat and imbibe on St. Patrick’s Day. Though masking indoors is no longer recommended for most people in Maine by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, keep in mind that individual venues may have their own COVID safety measures.


On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone wears green. There will be plenty of festivities to choose from around Maine this year. Jill Brady/Staff Photographer)


If standing by the bar in a pub all day is not your thing, there are ways to get some fresh air while celebrating St. Patrick’s Day too.

At 8 a.m. Thursday, there will be a parade starting from the Maine Irish Heritage Center at State and Gray streets, in Portland’s West End. Marchers and bagpipers will travel to Harborview Park on York Street, overlooking the waterfront. The purpose of the parade is to convey an Irish flag, to be raised in the park to honor Irish longshoremen and their families who lived and worked in the area for generations. After the parade, people are invited to go back to the Maine Irish Heritage Center, until 10 a.m., for Irish tea and soda bread and music by Portland singer/songwriter Joe Markley. There is no charge to attend, but donations are gratefully accepted. For more information, go to 

One way to make sure you’re wide awake for all the St. Patrick’s Day fun is to start your day with a plunge in the frosty ocean. You can do that at a charity event called the Paddy’s Day Plunge, sponsored by RiRa, an Irish pub in Portland. People taking the plunge also take pledges to raise money for the Portland Firefighters Children’s Burn Foundation. Organizers have moved this year’s plunge to Willard Beach in South Portland – instead of Portland’s East End Beach, as in years past – to make sure there’s enough room for all those who want to participate. Check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. for the 8 a.m. event at the beach. For more information and to sign up or donate, go to

Traditional Irish breakfast, just the thing to start your St. Patrick’s Day. Photo courtesy of RiRa


Speaking of RiRa, the Irish pub on Commercial Street in Portland will be open at 7 a.m. Their Irish Breakfast features Irish banger sausage, Irish rashers (bacon), black pudding, sauteed mushrooms, BBQ beans, grilled tomato, toast, tri-color potatoes and two eggs, for $20. Other Irish fare on the menu all day long includes shepherd’s pie, beef and Guinness pie, corned beef and cabbage and fish and chips. The place is accepting reservations this year, as well as walk-ins. There will be live music throughout the day, including from the Claddagh Mhor Pipe Band, beginning around 10 a.m. For more information and to see the menu, go to 


O’Reilly’s Cure on Route 1 in Scarborough will open at 8 a.m. and its traditional Irish breakfast includes bacon, sausage patty, three fried eggs, home fries, grilled tomato and soda bread for $16. There’s also an Irish eggs benedict and a Baileys Irish Cream French toast on the menu. Local favorite Don Campbell will play guitar and sing from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and there’ll be performances by step dancers from Stillson School of Irish Dance in Portland and from bagpiper Brian Young at various times during the day, with traditional Irish dishes for lunch and dinner as well. For more information, go to

Shepherd’s pie is part of a three course St. Patrick’s Day menu at MK Kitchen in Gorham. Photo courtesy of MK Kitchen


St. Patrick’s Day is a great time to try some Irish-themed cuisine, since so many restaurants and bars are serving it. Maybe you can try something you’ve never had before. Dock Fore on Fore Street will be serving corned beef and cabbage pizza for $12.95. There’s mustard for sauce and the cabbage is added after cooking. They also have corned beef and cabbage sandwiches – using the non-colored kind of corned beef – for $10.95. For dessert, try a specialty Jello shot in the colors of the Irish flag.

Ryan’s Corner House Irish Pub & Restaurant in Kennebunk is offering up Smithwick’s beer battered fish and chips, Guinness beef stew and shepherd’s pie, among other dishes. Travis Cote – also known as The Barmen – will serenade people in the pub with Irish songs and folk ballads. He plays guitar, bagpipes and sings.

For those who want to try something a bit more creative and sophisticated than corned beef and cabbage, MK Kitchen in Gorham is offering a three-course St. Patrick’s Day dinner Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, for $35. It offers a choice of potato leek soup or wedge salad, local beef skillet shepherd’s pie or spice-rubbed grilled pork loin with bacon mac and cheese and fried Brussels sprouts, and either chocolate mousse or tiramisu.

Mahaffey’s Finest, a stout from Foundation Brewing Company in Portland. Photo courtesy of Foundation Brewing Co.


Whiskey tasting – now there’s something most of us don’t do everyday. But it’s an easy thing to do on St. Patrick’s Day. Noble Kitchen + Bar in the Brunswick Hotel, in Brunswick, is offering an Irish whiskey tasting menu for $35 that includes Powers Gold Label, Tullamore D.E.W. and Green Spot Single Pot Irish Whiskey. There’ll be a whiskey tasting at Falmouth Country Club at 6 p.m., organized by sommelier Erica Archer, who will lead a discussion on whiskey as well. There will be at least five bottles of whiskey sampled, along with charcuterie boards from executive chef Owen Price. Tickets are $125. To purchase, go to

Fore River Brewing Co. in South Portland will be serving its John Henry Nitro Milk Stout, Timberhitch Red Ale and an Oyster Stout brewed with shells from Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, plus a green pilsner. There’ll be live Irish music from Bitter Brew with Sam Mitchell and food from Cafe Louis in South Portland. Maine’s first gluten-free brewery, Lucky Pigeon Brewing in Biddeford, is offering a tasting-room only release of an Irish red ale called Kay’Lee. There will also be live music in the afternoon, beginning at 2 p.m., and fish and chips from the Paddy Wagon food truck.

Liquid Riot Bottling Co. in Portland will be serving its Irish stout, Irish Goodbye, as a well as two whiskey cocktails, Rolling in Clover and Luck Dragon. Pepper’s Landing in Brunswick will offer Lucky Green Cocktail specials all week, including an Irish mudslide and a St. Patty’s Sangria, plus live music from Katie Daggett from 5-8 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day. Foundation Brewing Co. in Portland will offer its Irish stout, Mahaffey’s Finest, named for the two of the brewery’s owners. You can get it at the brewery or in stores.

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