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Wander Minnesota: A Touch Of The Irish

Much is made of Minnesota's Scandinavian heritage, but there's plenty of Irish spirit (real or borrowed) this time of year. Yup, it's time for St. Patrick's Day. If you're in a parade kind of mood, you're really in luck. St. Paul has its annual parade at noon on St. Patrick's Day, and Minneapolis will its own show of Irish pride at 6:30 p.m. the same day. By the way, if you really feel you need a Scandinavian fix this time of year, head north to Finland (that's Finland, MN, not the country) for the March 16-18 celebration of St. Urho's Day.

Whether or not you like a parade, how can you resist an Irish pub? Fortunately, there are several to choose from across the Twin Cities, and many have special events planned for March 17. Pick one, enjoy some Irish pub food, and prepare to hoist a pint.

Minneapolis has several options. The Local gained notoriety for outshining its Irish counterparts in selling Jameson's Irish Whiskey, having sold the most Jameson's than any other bar in the world for the fourth year in a row. No doubt they've fully stocked for St. Patty's.

Even if they don't sell the most Jameson's, Kieran's has plenty of holiday spirit. In fact, they're having a "St. Practice" day this coming Saturday for those of you who need some St. Patrick's Day training. The pub kicks off its St. Patrick's celebrations on the 16th, which is Kieran's 18th anniversary, with live music inside and out (in a heated tent).

Keegan's likes St. Patrick's Day so much they celebrate its "half day" on Sept. 17. Expect nonstop live Irish music Fri.-Sat., including the Minnesota Police Pipe Band and lively local Irish group Erin Rogue. Sunday you can recover while attending a "learn by ear" Irish music workshop.

O'Donovan's has an enormous tent party planned, complete with an Irish pipe band, and you can also take in the Ireland vs. England rugby game at 11 a.m.

Of course, St. Paul has a bit of the Irish too. The Liffey, across the street from the Xcel Center, doesn't have special events planned—perhaps because every day is St. Patrick's Day at The Liffey.

O'Gara's opens at 8 a.m. on the 17th for a full day of revelry. Live music kicks off in the afternoon, as well as O'Gara's own version of a St. Patrick's Day parade.

Out in the 'burbs, St. Louis Park's Kip's will kick off the weekend on Friday, including celebrating the arrival of St. Patrick's Day in Ireland at 6 p.m., and will feature live music, Irish dancers, and the ubiquitous green beer.

Up in Maple Grove, Claddagh has a full schedule starting at 8 a.m. with Kegs and Eggs, the broadcast of 6 rugby matches, Irish dancers, and a U2 tribute band.

Jake O'Connor's in Excelsior will have live music, including bagpipes, and a traditional Irish breakfast.

Woodbury's O'Malley's is celebrating all next week with various promotions; Friday night is the big kick-off with a fish fry, while Saturday involves live music and a tent party. Sunday is a kiddie St. Patrick's Day, with face painting and family friendly activities.

And while toasting the blessed Saint is a fun way to celebrate, be sure to keep someone in your party as a designated driver—or take advantage of the free fares on St. Patrick's Day from
Metro Transit, along with partner Minnesota Valley Transit Authority. Free rides start at 6 p.m.

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.

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