Luck o' the Irish: Parades, pub crawls return for St. Patrick's Day after COVID-19 shutdowns

17 March 2022

Piles of corned beef were ready to be served Thursday as the Irish and Irish wannabes prepared for in-person celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day for the first time in two years.

Full-fledged parades returned in New York City and New Orleans, with bars serving green beer and churches open to commemorate Ireland’s patron saint after the recent lifting of COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates.

Grand Marshal James T. Callahan, general president of the Washington, D.C.-based International Union of Operating Engineers, led New York’s parade — the world’s oldest and largest — up Fifth Avenue.

The parade was scheduled to stop briefly in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral at noon for a moment of silence to remember victims of 9/11 and COVID-19.

Bishop Robert Brennan of the Diocese of Brooklyn will offer a prayer on the front steps as police, fire and military honor guards perform a tribute to the fallen.

The annual March 17 holiday marks the fifth-century death of Patrick, a British-born bishop who brought Christianity to Ireland as a missionary.

“He became one of them,” Bishop Brennan told a packed St. Patrick’s Cathedral at a Mass on Thursday morning , emphasizing the theme that everyone becomes Irish for the holiday.

On Thursday, corned beef specials were on the menu at Irish pubs as Americans flocked to live music events wearing shamrocks and “Erin go bragh” shirts.

“It’s good to see people smile a little bit and relax,” said Joe Schinosi, a bartender at Duffy’s Irish Pub in the District of Columbia. “There’s a lot of pent-up tension, and we’re expecting a crowd.”

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Sean Salai can be reached at

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