By Leo Byrne, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Cidade Maravilhosa never needs much of an excuse to enjoy a party, so it is little wonder that over the years, the renowned St. Patrick’s Day festivities have been gaining traction and popularity in Rio. With March 17th falling on a Sunday this year, enthusiasts can look forward to a whole weekend of all things green.
“St. Patrick’s Day celebrations will take place across Brazil, with large parties and events planned in São Paulo and Belo Horizonte. However, Rio de Janeiro will be the focus for all those Irish and ‘honorary’ Irish this weekend, as the Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) will be illuminated green in celebration of Ireland, Irish culture and the Irish people,” Sharon Lennon, the second secretary at the Irish Embassy in Brasília told The Rio Times.
With the first ever St. Patrick’s Day parades in the U.S. dating back to 1766, Americans always make a good showing for the celebrations. With that in mind the only American-owned Irish bar in Rio, the Lapa Irish Pub will feel like one of the more authentic destinations in Rio this year.
The pub will be getting things rolling at the start of the weekend by offering traditional green draft beer on Friday. Then on Saturday their real party kicks off, with the doors opening at 1PM for a whole day of festivities with live music handled by three rock bands that will keep things going until 4AM.
In addition to green beer, “On Saturday, we’re having a two-for-one special on Guinness, I think we’re the only bar in town doing that,” manager at the Lapa Irish Pub, Thales Fiorin told The Rio Times. The pub is at Rua Evaristo da Veiga under the arches in Lapa near Centro.
In Zona Sul (South Zone) Rio’s oldest and largest Irish bar Shenanigan’s in Ipanema will also be hosting two whole days of St. Patrick’s Day themed events.
“We will celebrate St. Patrick’s for the whole weekend starting on Saturday, March 16th. We will have two bands playing each day. We’re also going to have drink promotions with Guinness, traditional snacks, giveaways and of course, green beer,” Shenanigan’s owner Ulisses Vasco told The Rio Times.
The Clover Irish Pub in Copacabana can lay claim to the first round of celebrations however, with a warm up party on Thursday where one of the band members from the ‘Irish Fellas’ will be handling the music starting from 8PM.
The well situated bar will also be having an all-day party on Sunday starting at 12PM and continuing as long as people are still standing. The venue will be using a wristband system so party goers can take their pints of Guinness for a stroll down Copacabana beach and return later. Entrance will be R$30 and drinks promotions will be announced soon on the pub’s Facebook page.
“Although it’s our first St. Patrick’s Day here at the Clover, our owners have over four years of experience throwing these parties, so it should be a good event,” bar manager Rodrigo Mendoça told The Rio Times.
Back in the Centro district and testament to the celebration’s growing popularity, night club Espaço Acustica will be hosting one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parties in Rio. Four different bands will be playing everything from traditional Celtic tunes to Irish punk and metal, with the night also featuring games, a costume contest, raffles and free doses of mead.
Whatever the destination, St. Patrick’s Day in Rio will offer a chance for expatriates and Cariocas to get together with old friends and make new ones. “St. Patrick’s Day is primarily about connectedness. Feeling connected to our past, our heritage, our traditions, and our fellow citizens,” Ms. Lennon told The Rio Times.