Time to let your Irish show! St. Patty's Day is near and the scent of green beer is in the air. C'mon Dallas, let's show the rest of the world how Big "D" Blarney-Stoners party!
St. Patrick's Day: Green Beer, Green Clothes, Greenville!
By Greg Holman
Faith and Begorrah! Since St. Patty’s Day is right around the corner and the insanity of the Greenville Ave. Parade looms large on the horizon, I thought that this month we’d talk some Irish. No, I don’t mean speaking in a bastardized Irish brogue like Sean Connery in the “Untouchables.” I mean talk about Irish stuff; all things Irish.
So, to this end I’ve put together a list of Irish icons, and an obvious starting point would be the national pastime… “drinking” (I can say that because I’m half Irish; it’s in my blood… alcohol and being Irish, that is). The Irish have perfected the art of drinking and in fact, Irish adults have achieved the highest rate of alcohol consumption and display the highest degree of binge drinking in Europe, and just what do they drink? Guinness Stout, Harp Lager, Smithwick’s Ale, Bailey’s Irish Cream and of course Irish whiskey (spelled with an ”e”).
Irish whiskey is made using dry malted barley, without the use of peat (decayed vegetation from bogs and moors – Yum!). This allows the natural grain flavors to come through instead of the slightly smoky elements associated with Scotch whisky (no “e”). To earn the name “Irish whiskey” it has to be made entirely from native grains and have been stored in wooden casks for three years or more.
To keep those hangovers at bay you’ll need some Irish food, and what goes better with Irish potables than Irish potatoes, in and Irish stew. Other traditional fare includes boxty (a potato pancake), colcannon (mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage), soda bread, and corned beef and cabbage.
In addition to their culinary contributions Ireland has born the world a number of famous people including Kenneth Branagh, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Day-Lewis, Colin Farrell, Patrick McGoohan (“The Prisoner”), Liam Neeson, Peter O’Toole, Spencer Tracy, Stephen Colbert, Dennis Leary, and Conan O’Brien, to name but a few. Music has also been a part of Irish tradition and the bands The Commitments, The Corrs, The Cranberries, The Pogues, Boomtown Rats, Stiff Little Fingers, Thin Lizzy (R.I.P. Gary Moore), and of course U2 are all Irish.
Other Irish things… the Blarney Stone, shillelaghs, jigs and reels, leprechauns, shamrocks, the color green, Setters and Wolf Hounds, Notre Dame (the “Fighting Irish”), Danny Boy, Riverdance, harps, Waterford crystal, Celts, red hair and freckles, the substitution of “me” for “my”, "Mac" "Mc" or "O'”, sheep, and white wool sweaters “so thick, even the boniest-fingered nun could poke you in the chest and it wouldn't bother you none!" (“Family Guy” reference).
Now put all of this together, throw in some green Mardi Gras beads, Jell-O shots, cute girls on cheaply made floats, and throngs (no, not thongs) of party-prone Dallasites, and you’ve got The Greenville Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade!
The now infamous event had its meager beginnings back in 1979 and included only a few cars that traveled just a couple of blocks. Today, the parade draws more than 100,000 people and is a bastion of Dallas debauchery. The city even waves the open container law (only on Greenville and only during the parade)!
If you’re going to join the parade festivities you’ll need to get there early to get a good watching spot. The parade usually starts around 11:00 am and lasts for a couple of hours, so wear comfy shoes. And while the event is a parade, please leave the kiddies at home, as things can get just a bit risqué (think of it as Dallas’ Mardi Gras). Bring your own booze and some cash (credit cards can limit your purchase options). And don’t forget “the wearin' o' the green” to prevent bruises from being pinched! Here's a link to the official Greenville Ave. website... http://www.greenvilleave.org/st-patricks-day/.
If the Irish immigration to Greenville makes the red hair on your freckled neck stand up, here are some area Irish pubs, many of which will be selling green beer and having parking lot parties.
The Old Monk - 2847 N. Henderson Ave., Dallas - Consistently voted one of Dallas' top bars, the Old Monk is a traditional Irish pub with good food and good drinks.
The Idle Rich Pub - 2614 McKinney Ave., Dallas - Owned by three Dublin, Ireland natives, the Idle Rich specializes in the beers and whiskeys of Northern Europe and features a menu full of Irish favorites.
Trinity Hall - 5321 E. Mockingbird Ln. Suite 250, Dallas - This full-service Irish pub feels very authentic and has an ambitious slightly higher-end menu.
Lochrann’s Eatery & Irish Pub - 6195 Main St., Frisco – Lochrann’s is a fun pub with a steady stream of regulars and good service. Live music on the weekends and a nice vibe make it the clear winner, north of town.
Molly Maguire’s - 17552 Dallas Pkwy., Dallas – Close to Lakewood, this used to be the Tipperary Inn. They have great food and fast service, even when the kitchen is busy. Live music on the weekends, bar trivia nights, and a putting green on the patio make for good times!
The Dubliner - 2818 Greenville Ave., Dallas – Being on Greenville, this place is always packed for St. Patty’s Day. With a limited food menu, drinks are the order of the day here and they are done well. A Irish bar that’s also popular with the biker crowd (in a good way).
The Black Friar - 2621 McKinney Ave., Dallas – With a similar menu, the Friar sits directly across the street from the Idle Rich, which makes for a great pub crawl.
The Capitol Pub - 2401 N Henderson Ave., Dallas – This watering hole has a great patio, a nice “real” pub atmosphere, and great French fries.
And just remember, we wear green, get drunk, throw Mardi Gras beads, pinch asses, and drink green beer to celebrate an Irish-Catholic holiday for a man who chased snakes off of an island! So if anyone tells you you’re too drunk, just remind them that an Irishman is never too drunk as long as he can hold onto one blade of grass to keep him from falling off the earth! Now “kiss me dammit… I’m Irish!"