How to have your kind of St. Patrick's Day weekend

Listen. We might not flush green dye into Lake Superior for St. Patrick's Day -- like those rowdy revellers insist upon in Chicago -- but we've got a few ways to appease your inner "Riverdance"-er.

McInnis Kitchen plays Sunday at Clyde Iron Works. Photo courtesy of Chuck Butler.
McInnis Kitchen plays Sunday at Clyde Iron Works. Photo courtesy of Chuck Butler.

Listen. We might not flush green dye into Lake Superior for St. Patrick's Day - like those rowdy revellers insist upon in Chicago - but we've got a few ways to appease your inner "Riverdance"-er.

Options for St. Patrick's Day weekend in the Northland range from starting early with a side of seasonal stew, to learning a Gaelic phrase or two, to shaking your leprechauns loose. Here's how to find the St. Patrick's Day event that matches your mood - whatever you want.


The St. Patrick's Day Irish Ceili dates back to the mid-1970s, when a group of Irish-minded folks decided to host an Irish dance as a fundraiser. Money-wise, it went OK. Otherwise: "It's as much a fun-raiser as a fundraiser," the late Steve O'Neil, an original organizer, told the News Tribune at the party's 10-year anniversary.

The 38th annual event, hosted by Tamarack Dance Association and Loaves and Fishes Community, mixes live Irish music by the Zenith City Ceili Band and dance called by Terrence Smith, local folk dancer and caller. Can't dance and/or can't find a partner: no big. Lessons start as soon as the doors open.


St. Patrick's Day Irish Ceili is at 2-5 p.m. Sunday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 1710 E. Superior St. - use the lower entrance on Greysolon Rd. Suggested donation: $10 individual, $5 low-income, $25 family.


The family-friendly party at Clyde Iron Works includes the biggies in the regional Celtic music biz, including McInnis' Kitchen, Eira and pub-band Ninety to the Dozen. Also: Bagpipe player Fred Dudderar. And if you wanna talk the talk, John McLoughlin of Gaeltacht Duluth - a Gaelic language study group - will be on hand to offer up words and phrases. There will be a buffet and an indoor parade.

Duluth's Grand St. Patrick's Day Celebration is 4-7 p.m. Sunday at Clyde Iron Event Center, 2920 W. Michigan St. Free.


Teague Alexy (News Tribune file)

Teague Alexy, a folk-singing storytelling whiz and Erik Berry, Trampled By Turtles' mandolin player (who also plays solo shows and in a Grateful Dead cover band) having been pairing up for years to play Irish tunes on St. Patrick's Day. It's become such a thing that the duo made an album about it. "Irish American," which was released in 2017 includes traditional songs like "Whiskey in the Jar" and a couple original tunes. For this show, they'll be joined by fiddle player Ryan Young, also from Trampled by Turtles. All ages.

Teague Alexy, Erik Berry and Ryan Young play at 5 p.m. Sunday at Beaner's Central. Tickets: $7 advance at, $10 at the door.



Rick McLean is an Irish guy - about 50 percent, he told the News Tribune in 2016 - who performs original well-written, aggressive folk tunes that could easily charge a crowd into nosebleed-levels of frivolity. He claims influences like Andrew WK and The Pogues. He's starting his St. Patrick's Day Eve set with some acoustic stuff, then breaking out the band.

Rick McLean performs traditional Irish jams from 7-9 p.m. Saturday at Duluth Cider, 2703 W. Superior St. Free, all ages.


Corned Beef and Cabbage at Dubh Linn Irish Brew Pub. (News Tribune file)

Rick McLean performs Saturday at Duluth Cider. Photo courtesy of McLean.

Dubh Linn Brew Pub is giving St. Patrick's Day the long-weekend treatment. The pub is promising live music - including bagpipes, Hammerschlagen and other games. Among the draws for this place is the food: the corned beef is slow-braised for up to 12 hours, the cabbage cooked with celery, carrots, onions and braising sauce and the Irish stew, with its tender-tender beef brisket. Also: this place likes its whiskey.

St. Patrick's Day Weekend Celebration starts at 10 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday at Dubh Linn Brew Pub, 109 W. Superior St.



Shamrock shake ( photo)

It's the curious case of slapping the word "shamrock" on a thing and declaring it a holiday tradition - a minty, delicious tradition. It's Shamrock Shake season at McDonald's, which is a good reason to break your fast-food boycott and own this ice cream-mint miracle. It's topped with whipped cream and a cherry, but you can be a total purist and get it without. For some reason it just tastes better with a filet-o-fish, but you do you.

Shamrock Shake season runs from February-ish until the last bit of mint has been lapped. Available at a McDonald's near you. (If you're worried about supplies, check the McDonald's app's Shamrock Shake.)

Christa Lawler is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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