By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Irish holiday of St. Patrick’s Day is observed throughout the world yearly on March 17th, and although Ireland has not historically had a large presence in Rio and Brazil, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated here and its popularity, along with the Irish presence, is growing.
In addition to lighting the famous Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue green, observances of the holiday in Rio will include events at numerous pubs, bars and clubs throughout the city tonight.
“When I moved here a few years ago, I went to the little Irish pub in Ipanema. I was shocked to meet Brazilian people who knew more lyrics of Irish rebel songs than me,” Irish expatriate Sarah O’Sullivan told The Rio Times, adding, “The Irish and Brazilian cultures are very alike, and I love seeing the celebration of Irish culture here.”
Tonight both expats and locals will find St. Patrick’s Day parties taking place in pubs throughout the city. The Lapa Irish Pub, located beside the famous Arcos da Lapa (Lapa Arches), will present the band Punching Namard playing the very best of Irish Music live.
The pub began hosting St. Patrick’s Day events on Friday, March 13th and steadily has been building up energy for the big event tonight, which is sure to include Irish rebel songs.
In Copacabana, the Clover Irish Pub will celebrate the holiday with green pints of beer and Gláucio Nunes and Ratz performing live. Promotions during the night will include two for one caipirinhas and two for one Bohemias.
Nearby in Copacabana, the Blue Agave Mexican restaurant will go green as it presents a very special St. Patrick’s Day edition of Quiz Night Rio. Hosted by Irish expat, Stephen Garland, the event is a pub style quiz night with teams tonight competing to test their knowledge of the Emerald Isle.
There will be several rounds of Irish-themed questions and the winning team will receive special holiday prizes and a round of drinks. Following the quiz, beginning at 9PM, an Irish DJ will spin and there will be karaoke. Menu options during the night will include “Paddy ‘O Bacon” and “Cabbage TacO.” Additionally, drink options will include Guinness and green caipirinhas.
In Ipanema, the popular Shenanigan’s Irish Pub is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with green beer and promotions on food, drinks and Chopp Guinness (Guinness on tap).
Also in Ipanema, the Lord Jim Pub, the oldest pub in the city, is commemorating the holiday with live rock and roll courtesy of Ronaldo Caudilho and DJ Victor Medina. Additionally, there will be very special holiday-themed promotions and plenty of shamrocks and green, orange and white seen throughout the night.
“For such a small country, we really have managed to spread our culture so far across the world,” said O’Sullivan. “2015 is the third year that we’ve lit Christ the Redeemer green for St Patrick’s Day. This is an initiative of Tourism Ireland, a governmental agency, and famous monuments all across the globe have been “greened” this week to celebrate Irish-ness.”
Ireland’s Ambassador to Brazil, Brian Glynn, and Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan attended the Christ the Redeemer illumination ceremony on Sunday, March 15th. Minister O’Sullivan’s presence marked the first time an Irish Minister visited Brazil for St. Patrick’s Day and on the 17th, she will officially open the Irish Consulate General in São Paulo.
During her weeklong visit to the country Minister O’Sullivan is promoting Irish higher education and strengthening and forging partnerships with Brazilian universities. Additionally, in the hopes of increasing the Irish presence in the country, Tourism Ireland will launch a new Portuguese-language website during the Minister’s visit.
Also as part of the “greening” initiative, in addition to Cristo Redentor six Brazilian locations will be illuminated green including Ponte Juscelino Kubitschek, in Brasília, and five points in Sao Paulo: the Viaduto do Chá, the Biblioteca Mário de Andrade, the Monumento às Bandeiras, the Estátua do Borba Gato and the Ponte das Bandeiras.
When speaking of the holiday celebrations at home, expat Sarah O’Sullivan said, “In Ireland, we have parades in all of our bigger cities. That tradition hasn’t caught on here in Rio yet, unfortunately. Bloco da Verde has a nice ring to it. Maybe next year.”
See The Rio Times Nightlife guide, for more information about the scheduled St. Patrick’s Day events in Rio tonight, including times and addresses.