For Immediate Release
March 1, 2021
You may not find a St. Patrick’s Day parade this March, but you can still celebrate Irish Heritage Month all across Massachusetts. The Boston Irish Tourism Association (BITA) offers 10 suggestions on how to safely enjoy Irish music, culture, history, film, food and beverage, both virtually and actually, this St. Patrick’s Day season.
1. Boston’s Irish Heritage Trail
The Irish have been making history in Boston since the 17th century, and the city’s Irish Heritage Trail tells the illustrious story. The three-mile walk of 20 sites starts at the Rose Kennedy Garden on the waterfront and ends at Fenway Park, letting visitors, residents, and students learn about local history, enjoy the outdoors and explore the city. The website also marks 20 additional Irish landmarks in Boston’s neighborhoods like South Boston and Charlestown, plus dozens more landmarks around Massachusetts to visit. Free maps are available at the Visitor Information Center on Boston Common.
2. Irish Film Festival Boston
Founded in 2000, the Irish Film Festival Boston has become one of New England’s premier ethnic film festivals and one of Ireland’s best representations abroad. Normally housed at the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square, this year IFFB runs virtually March 17-21 and features some of Ireland’s top feature films, short videos and documentaries . The new platform allows film lovers to watch even more new Irish film from the comfort of your own home! Tickets go on sale March 2.
3. Irish Cultural Centre in Canton
The Irish Cultural Centre is a year-round facility celebrating Ireland’s culture, heritage, sports, food and community spirit. In March, the ICC has a full schedule of virtual activities including lectures, theater, music classes, a mixology class, and concerts by leading musicians, including former Celtic Woman star Mairead Nesbitt on March 21. The popular ICC Restaurant & Pub is open for dining on March 13 and March 17, with live music streamed into the dining areas. Reservations required.
4. A St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn
For 17 years, A St. Patrick's Day Celtic Sojourn has entertained and enlightened audiences throughout New England. GBH host Brian O’Donovan gathers a magnificent lineup of musicians, singers and dancers from around the world, and adds poetry, sing-alongs and reflections on what it means to be Irish. You can enjoy the show with loved ones in the safety of your own homes. Among the Celtic traditions represented this year are Ireland, Scotland, Newfoundland, Quebec and New England.
5. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library
As America’s Irish Catholic President, John F. Kennedy holds a special place for Bostonians. The JFK Library & Museum in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood is the official national library our 35th president who was born in Brookline, MA in 1917. Hailed as a war hero, writer, traveler and politician, Kennedy was also devoted a son, brother, husband and father. President Kennedy’s strong Irish identity is also evident at the Library, including photos and mementos from his historic trip to Ireland in 1963.
6. Irish Music Collection at Boston College
If you love traditional Irish music, the Irish Music Collection at BC’s John J. Burns Library is the place to go. It recently released a mobile-friendly e-book version of The Séamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music, containing rare tunes and songs collected over decades by BC artist-in- residence and fiddle master Seamus Connolly. Download a free copy from the collection’s website. The library has other terrific material, such as the James W. Smith Irish Music Recordings featuring lively music played by the New State Ceili Band.
7. Irish Women of Massachusetts
In addition to Irish Heritage Month, March is also Women’s History Month, making this a perfect occasion to celebrate Irish Women. The Boston Irish Tourism Association has compiled stories of eight Massachusetts Irish women whose historical accomplishments dating from the 19th century are worth celebrating. They include poets and sculptors, labor leaders and educators, matriarchs and more. Boston is also proud to have a Women’s Heritage Trail that compliments the Irish Heritage Trail.
8. Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Dublin, Ireland has cancelled its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade for the second year in a row, but this year, organizers have planned a six-day virtual celebration for the world to enjoy. The festivities run from March 12-17 and can be viewed online and from dedicated television station. The theme this year is Dúisigh Éire! Awaken Ireland and there are 100+ events planned, as well as ideas on visiting Ireland when the time is right.
9. Ireland’s Global Greening Initiative
To appreciate the extent of Ireland’s global diaspora, check out Tourism Ireland’s 12th annual Global Greening Initiative leading up to St. Patrick’s Day. Hundreds of iconic landmarks and buildings, from Sydney to San Francisco and from Buenos Aires to Brussels, are lit up in emerald green. In Massachusetts, a number of iconic sites are going green, including the Zakim and Longfellow Bridges in Boston as well as bridges and footbridges along Boston's Emerald Necklace (pictured), the Fore River Bridge in Quincy and the Burns Bridge in Worcester. Image courtesy Emerald Necklace Conservancy.
The official site of the Boston Irish Tourism Association features a 90 day preview of cultural events in New England, profiles about the Irish-American community, and travel tips for visiting Ireland when the time is right. In mid-March, BITA releases its spring issue of Travel & Culture magazine, a free publication that is available at Irish cultural venues and visitor centers throughout Massachusetts. Pick up your copy at the Visitor Information Center on Boston Common.
ABOUT BOSTON IRISH TOURISM ASSOCIATION
BITA was formed in 2000 to promote cultural tourism year round and to strengthen travel ties between New England and Ireland. It publishes three issues per year of Travel & Culture magazine in March, June and November. See magazine archive here. BITA is creator of Boston’s Irish Heritage Trail, which highlights Irish landmarks throughout Boston and around the state.
For further details on Irish parades, festivals and concerts, as well as year-round Irish and cultural activities and hospitality amenities, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.