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It is that time of year again, when Massachusetts goes green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day season for the month of March.
Governor Charlie Baker recently issued a 2017 Irish Heritage Month proclamation that highlights the storied history, culture and accomplishments of the Massachusetts Irish. Irish-Americans represent the largest ethnic community in the Commonwealth, with 20.5% of all residents claiming Irish ancestry, according to the US Census. In every corner of the Commonwealth, you’ll find Irish cultural activities, special events and celebrations to mark St. Patrick’s Day, and also to welcome spring!
If music strikes your fancy, you’ll want to attend the annual A Celtic Sojourn concerts hosted by Brian O’Donovan of WGBH. Featuring Irish music, dance and storytelling, the concerts take place this year in Worcester, Beverly, New Bedford and Cambridge.
A Celtic Sojourn
Literature, too, is an important part of Ireland’s cultural heritage, so check out the Irish Literary Festival taking place on March 10-11 at the Harvard Club in Boston. Hosted by Ireland’s Consulate in Boston, the festival promises to be a fascinating display of Irish word power and poetry.
In greater Boston, the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton is a key gathering spot of the region’s Irish community. The 46 acre facility is open year round. Throughout the month of March, the Centre offers a varied schedule of music, dancing, family activities and cultural events for everyone to enjoy.
Visit our St. Patrick’s Day page for events across the state.
Heading north a bit to the City of Lawrence, we find a proud Irish heritage dating back to the 1850s, when Irish immigrants came to work in the city’s clothing mills and shoe factories. The Ancient Order of Hibernians has designated March as Lawrence Irish Heritage Month, featuring a lineup of exhibits, music and dancing, author lectures and banquets to raise funds for worthy causes.
In the west, Springfield has a brand new Irish facility – the Irish Cultural Centre of Western New England – poised as a gathering place for Irish activities in western Massachusetts and neighboring states.
Holyoke St. Patrick’s Road Race
As a nod to the coming of spring, you’ll also find Irish-themed road races around the state, including: Claddagh 4-Miler in Lawrence, Plymouth Shamrock Shuffle, the Nantucket ShamRock Run, the Running of the Leprechauns in Medford, the New Bedford Half Marathon, the Ras na Heireann 5K in Somerville, St. Patrick’s 5 K in South Boston, and the St. Patrick’s Road Race in Holyoke.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper shamrock celebration without a good parade. View the full list of St. Patrick’s Day parades taking place throughout the state here.
Finally, if you want to learn about Irish history and heritage, take a free, self-guided tour of Boston’s Irish Heritage Trail in downtown Boston and the Back Bay. And pick up a free copy of the map at the Visitors Information Center on Boston Common.