St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more places around the world than is any other national festival. Vienna is no exception!
Whether or not you hail from the Emerald Isle, March 17th is the day to embrace all things Irish. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Vienna by wearing green, sporting a shamrock and, yes, drinking lots of whiskey, stout or cider.
Honoring Ireland’s patron saint, who drove the “snakes” out of Ireland (i.e., converted the pagans) in the 5th century, the Day of the Festival of Patrick – or Lá Fhéile Pádraig, as it’s known in the motherland – has been used ever since as a convenient excuse to break up the alcohol-deprived doldrums of lent. The snakes had the last laugh, it seems.
In Vienna, there are many ways to celebrate Irish culture. This year, St. Patrick’s falls on a Sunday, with a lot of the festivities commencing on Saturday so any hangover you might have will hopefully be gone by Monday.
1 – March in a Parade
Next to the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol, parades are what St. Patrick’s Day is all about! Proudly showing off your green in public while marching to the noble beat of bodhrán drums and the wail of uilleann bagpipes is something celebrated the world over.
While some parades are simply an excuse to move a crowd from one pub to another, others are huge, snaking festivals drawing thousands of spectators, like the famed annual parade down Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Here in Vienna, the official parade hosted by the Irish Embassy will take place on Saturday, March 16th.The parade will start at Schottenstift at noon and proceed to Altes AKH, where the green beer-soaked party takes place at Stiegl Ambulanz.
Mar 16: St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival
1., Schottenstift, 12:00 noon
2 – Go to an Irish Pub
Contributor Jamie Blake Knox took a look at four of Vienna’s dyed-in-the-green bars where you can get your Erse in gear (“Guinness Diplomacy“). We list them here, along with a few others we’ve stumbled across in various drunken stupors over the years.
9., Währinger Straße 3
The “P” stands for party at this popular gastro-pub, which has planned its own St. Patrick’s Day extravaganza on March 17th. This Saturday, it will show the Six Nations rugby match between England and Ireland, followed by live traditional Irish music by Paddy and the Sweaty Socks and and Irish Rock & Pop DJ Simone and Mani.
Mel’s Craft Beers & Dining
1., Wipplingerstraße 9
PaddyCo Vienna operates this craft beer pub along with two other Irish Pubs: Dick Macks (1., Marc-Aurel-Straße 7), which claims to be the biggest in Vienna, and its smaller sister Sally’s (1., Judengasse 9), as well as other local establishments.
O’Connor’s Old Oak
3., Rennweg 95
Lacking a central location, O’Connors also fortunately lacks the kitschy quality of many Irish expat-pubs and instead offers warmth and tasty fish-and-chips.
1., Schwarzenbergstraße 1-3
Billing itself as the “best Irish pub in Europe” (outside of Ireland, I suppose), based on an 2004 Expedia ranking, Flanagan’s has been an evergreen favorite of locals and tourists alike for 20 years.
Bockshorn, 1., Naglergasse 7
Johnny’s Pub, 4., Schleifmühlgasse 11
Four Bells Irish Pub, 4. Schleifmühlgasse 2
Shamrock, 7., Kirchengasse 3
Shebeen, 7., Lerchenfelderstr. 45
Na nÓg Irish Pub, 18., Anastasius-Grün-Gasse 6
3 – Enjoy St. Patrick outdoors in the Prater
March 17: Wurstelprater
On March 17th, you can enjoy the St. Patrick’s festivities in a naturally green setting, the Wurstelprater. From 14:00, venues throughout the Prater will offer shamrock fries and green burgers, which you can of course wash down with the obligatory green beer and (hopefully) well-poured pints of Guinness. For those who enjoy freebies (and who doesn’t?), visits to at least three participating restaurants entitle you to free tickets to a number of Prater rides.