By Claudia Zambrana, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – All around the world, Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations are quite similar, old and new friends getting together to celebrate and have fun. While this hardly seems necessary in Rio just weeks after Carnival, there is no doubt that more then a few Irish-culture enthusiast will be having a go at it.
The date is Thursday, March 17th, once a traditional Catholic holy day celebrating Saint Patrick (AD 387 – 17 March, AD 461), patron saint of Ireland. Today Saint Patrick’s Day has become a more secular celebration of Irish culture and community around the globe.
In Rio, the Irish community takes pride in celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day and keeping the tradition alive. For many Irishmen, it is the most celebrated day aside from Christmas and New Years Eve.
Gerry Grant, an Irishman living in Rio de Janeiro states: “Paddy’s day to me means a celebration, laughter, lots of alcohol, meeting friends… generally a celebration of all that is good about been Irish: friendliness, good craic (Irish term for “fun, entertainment and enjoyable conversation”), music and just a fun time.”
This will be the first year in recent memory that there will be no Irish owned pub to go to in Rio de Janeiro due to the closing of The Irish Pub last year. There will still be plenty of Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations around though, fear not.
Mike Taylor, Managing Partner of Shenanigan’s Irish Pub and Sports Bar is always excited about the holiday, explaining it is, “A day where the world comes together and celebrates the spirit of being Irish, even if for one day.”
Taylor, an American long familiar with the tradition in the U.S. goes on to define Shenanigan’s as “an Irish Pub with Irish spirit and Brazilian soul. With this thought in mind, we try to mix the two to create a unique atmosphere that expats and locals alike will cherish.”
It is no surprise that Saint Patrick’s Day may be second only to the Superbowl in terms of throwing a huge party for them, and Taylor lays out the specifics: “Doors open at noon. We will have food and drink specials throughout the day including Heineken long-necks for R$4, and our traditional “Green Draft” for R$4.”
At the Shenanigan’s party, live music starts at 6PM and goes until 1AM, and entrance is free until 6PM and R$20 thereafter. Other specials will be announced on the day of the event.
Fernanda Neder, a Carioca actress living in Rio enjoys the holiday which is gaining popularity amongst Brazilians, “It is a fun holiday, not so celebrated here, but fun to see foreigners get so excited about it, and some of it rubs off.”
Doug Stoneman, owner Lord Jim’s bar in Ipanema agrees, adding “(Saint Patrick’s Day) is now more popular especially with Brazilians. Since the advent of imported Guinness dating back to 2000-2001 when it first became widely available in Brazil.”
At Lord Jim’s they will be offering double green chopp (drafts) from 6-8PM, as well as Guinness and Jamesons Whisky specials. For an extra padding in the stomach, they will have “Carne Irlandesa” (Irish stew) offered for free with a Guinness.
Another Irish-themed bar sure to be drawing an enthusiastic crowd is The Lapa Irish Pub. Their party will feature live music by Café Irlanda (traditional Irish Folk) and Godimen’s (Rock/Blues), Guinness and Erdinger on tap plus assorted imported beers and traditional Irish food.
SIlmas Pareico explains for the pub, “Last year we got 350+, this year we expect around 500 people, entrance Fee R$20 and goes from 3PM to 4AM.”
Other bars in Rio sure to be holding some specials for the night are the Balcony and Mud Bug in Copacabana, as well Blue Agave in Ipanema.