St Patrick’s Day means different things to different people. The holiday didn’t have much significance for me, until I met the (Irish) husband on 17 March a few years ago.
Lá Fhéile Pádraig, as it’s called in Irish, is the national holiday of Ireland. It commemorates St Patrick who in Irish folklore is said to have brought Christianity to Ireland using the shamrock to explain the holy trinity. Whether you believe this or not, St Patrick’s Day has grown into a unique national holiday that is celebrated around the world.
For us, St Patrick’s is a day for spending time with family and friends, not necessarily an excuse to go to the pub (although it is for many). The great thing about this holiday however is that you don’t have to be Irish to enjoy it. Here are a few ideas on how to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in Brussels, whatever your mood.
If you’re feeling very Irish this Saturday, there is a St Patrick’s Day Ball put on by the Irish Club of Belgium. I don’t know quite what to expect as this will be our first year joining this event. I’ve heard good things from friends so am looking forward to a swanky evening.
Another good choice is of course an Irish pub. There are several in Brussels, but my top pick is Michael Collins. Located on the corner of Avenue Louise and Rue Bailli, this is as true an Irish bar as you can find in Brussels. There is usually a good crowd and according to the husband they pour a decent Guinness. It will also be a festive, yet packed, place to watch the Ireland-England Six Nations rugby match on Saturday. Be sure to cheer for the right team!
If you’re feeling a little less Irish, but still want a good excuse to celebrate this weekend, check out one of the St Patrick’s themed parties. The Aloft Hotel, between Schuman and Place Jourdan, is hosting a party on Saturday night as of 10pm. I can’t promise many Irish people but I think it would be a good night nonetheless.
If you’re feeling more low-key, you can visit the Manneken Pis who will be dressed up in Irish colors and handing out Guinness as of 1pm on Saturday. Follow this up by a traditional Irish meal at home, with lamb from Jack O’Shea’s Irish butcher and of course potatoes (in the husband’s family this includes at least three types of potatoes – roast, mashed and dauphinois :)). And be sure to wash it all down with an Irish whiskey afterwards. A good one to try is Bushmills Black Bush.
Whatever you end up doing on Saturday, be sure to raise a glass! Slainte!
Images via the Irish Club of Belgium, Michael Collins, Aloft Hotel and Guinness Belgium.