Celebrating Irish culture for St. Patrick’s Day

March 5, 2013

St. Patrick's Day party season begins in earnest this weekend, with a whiskey-centric bar crawl around Dupont Circle and a wear-green-or-get-pinched bar crawl through Clarendon. But if your idea of celebrating Ireland's patron saint leans toward Celtic art and music instead of tipsy twentysomethings wearing "Kiss Me I'm Irish" T-shirts, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate. Here are a few of our favorites.


The Laureen O"Neill-James School of Irish Dance performs on Constitution Avenue during the 2008 St. Patrick's Parade. (Richard A. Lipski/The Post)

Tuesday, March 5
The Wolfe Tones have been performing Irish rebel songs on both sides of the Atlantic since the mid-1960s, and the band's version of the Republican anthem "A Nation Once Again" was voted the top song of all time in a 2002 poll of BBC World Service listeners. Some $35 tickets still remain for tonight's 6 p.m. show at Flanagan's Harp and Fiddle in Bethesda.

Saturday, March 9
A special family-friendly Saturday morning performance finds the young musicians of the Bog Band performing traditional Irish tunes at the National Theatre while the Shannon Dunne Dance Company shows off its floor-pounding steps.

Friday-Sunday, March 15-17
To accompany the Folger Shakespeare Library's current exhibition about "Nobility and Newcomers in Renaissance Ireland," the Folger Consort will perform three nights of Irish, English and Scottish music of the 16th and mid-17th centuries for harp, bagpipe and fiddle. Friday's performance is preceded by a free discussion about music of the period, beginning at 7 p.m.

Saturday, March 16
Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, the Keegan Theatre stages "A Behanding in Spokane," the most recent play by Irish-British playwright Martin McDonagh. McDonagh, known for his dark comedies, is the author of "The Cripple of Inishmaan" and the writer and director of "In Bruges." "A Behanding in Spokane" earned a Tony nomination for lead actor Christopher Walken when it debuted in New York City in 2010.

Sunday, March 17
Admiral Mike Mullen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the grand marshall for the annual Washington D.C. Saint Patrick's Parade on Constitution Avenue. The parade, which features bagpipers, bands, dancers and floats representing civic associations and local businesses, starts at Seventh Street NW at noon, and heads for 17th Street NW. It's free to watch along the parade route, but grandstand seating is available between 16th and 17th streets for $15 per person.

Students of the Culkin School of Irish Dance perform on the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, beginning at 6 p.m.

Fritz Hahn has covered bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram.
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