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White House (St Patty's Day)

Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Washington, DC

Pay tribute to Irish heritage with an array of activities in the nation’s capital.

Whether you’re honoring a holiday or simply looking to explore Irish history, heritage and hops, DC has plenty of options, from bars that capture the spirit of the homeland to historic buildings to can’t-miss events.


Hang out at Duffy’s Irish Pub

Duffy’s is the definition of a welcoming neighborhood bar, a decades-strong Dupont Circle haunt known for its chicken wings and craft beer selections. Duffy’s also fixes up some delicious Bloody Marys. The atmosphere is exactly what one would ask for from an Irish pub, with plenty of Guinness available (the bar boasts of its perfect 20-ounce pours) and plenty of seats to be had.


James Hoban: Architect of the White House

White House (St Patty's Day)

Did you know an Irishman was the architect of the White House? Read up on James Hoban’s fascinating story and how he came to be selected as the designer of one of the country’s most historic buildings. Snap a photo in front of the home of the Commander-in-Chief during your DC visit and check out our FAQ on White House tours.


Visit St. Patrick Catholic Church

Home to the oldest Catholic parish in DC, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church dates back to 1794, when it was a simple frame chapel designed to accommodate Irish immigrants working as stonemasons during the construction of the White House and the U.S. Capitol. In fact, the parish’s second church was designed by the previously mentioned White House architect James Hoban, who was a parishioner. The church also played a role in the invasion of DC in 1814, hosting Sunday mass for British soldiers in the city. Today, the church hosts daily mass and offers cultural activities and educational groups.


Enjoy beer and music at The Dubliner

Established in 1974, The Dubliner is as true to its name as a bar can get. The beloved abode has become a Capitol Hill institution, modeling itself after authentic Dublin pubs and still standing strong as one of the nation’s great Guinness purveyors. The Dubliner also serves up its own special brand of Irish whiskey to go along with culinary classics such as Irish beef stew and fish ‘n’ chips.


Tour Embassy Row with DC by Foot, including the Embassy of Ireland

Embassy of Ireland

Originally known as Millionaires Row for the wealthy families that inhabited 60-room homes on this special stretch of Massachusetts Avenue NW, Embassy Row makes for an awe-inspiring walking tour, which can be booked through DC by Foot. One of the foreign countries that eventually moved onto the Row was Ireland, whose embassy is part of the tour. Along the way, you can hear fascinating stories of scandal, political intrigue and assassination plots.


Pay tribute at the Robert Emmet Memorial

Embassy Row is also home to another piece of Irish history. The Robert Emmet Memorial was originally presented, in the presence of President Woodrow Wilson, to the Smithsonian Institution as a gift to the American people in 1917 in celebration of Irish independence. Emmet is one of the most important Irish patriots, a leader in the country’s fight for freedom from British rule. The memorial to Emmet was moved to its current site at 1700 24th Street NW on April 22, 1966, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of independence.


Have a pint at Kelly’s Irish Times

When a bar proclaims, “Give Me Your Thirsty, Your Famished, Your Befuddled Masses,” you can immediately tell it means business. With more than 40 years in the books, Kelly’s Irish Times has certainly had plenty of time to build a reputation in the nation’s capital. Expect perfect cold pints, a great cast of characters behind the bar, a bounty of DC sports memorabilia and a jukebox packed with classic hits.


Make Kirwan’s on The Wharf your Irish home away from home

Yep, DC has an authentic Irish bar right on the water. A newer entry to the city’s pub roster, Kirwan’s on The Wharf pays tribute to Ireland in every way possible. Eight Irish carpenters were contracted to handle all the bar’s interior furnishings and materials; everything you see, down to chairs, tables, photographs and panels, was imported from the homeland. The menu at Kirwan’s is packed with Irish specialties and enough whiskey and beer options to fill out any St. Patrick’s Day revelry.


Go to Ireland at The Wharf on March 16

On the day before St. Patrick’s Day, all of The Wharf transforms into an Irish wonderland. Kirwan’s is of course involved in the festivities, which are free to attend. The waterfront will come to life with an Irish festival featuring plenty of Guinness and Jameson as well as live bands, live Irish dancing and even live rugby on The Wharf’s big screen.


Attend VA Irish Fest

An annual tradition in the DMV, ShamrockFest is an all-out St. Patrick’s Day party that typically features loads of live music, lots of on-site vendors and partiers galore. Now re-named VA Irish Fest, the 2024 celebration will take place on March 16 at One Loudoun.

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