California Travel Tips

Erin Go Bragh – Surviving St. Patrick’s Day

Published on: March 17, 2012

The Irish term, Erin Go Bragh, has come to mean more than patriotism, especially on St. Patrick’s Day in California. We’re proud of our California roots and have many things to show off–we’re the place where Silicon Valley was founded, and we have more silicon breast implants and plastic surgeries performed than anywhere in the world.

It is no surprise that St. Patrick’s Day in California has become a celebration not unlike Halloween. Party City and other holiday costumers sell St. Patrick’s Day costumes, hats and funky accessories, especially touting the flirty, Irish girl attire that resembles a German dirndl with a short skirt. For retailers it provides an opportunity to sell the  overstock of Sexy Santa outfits.

There are dozens of festivals and St. Patrick’s Day Parades in California, with the biggest celebrations taking place in San Francisco, San Diego, Hermosa Beach, Dublin, Sacramento and the Irish town of Murphys. San Francisco’s Irish Festival is Free while San Diego hosts two St. Patrick’s Day Festivals, charging admission fee for the popular shamROCK in Gaslamp Quarter but offering free admission to the festival in Balboa Park following the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

For restaurants and pubs, St. Patrick’s Day is one of their best attended days and top days for selling liquor, especially beer & Irish whiskey.  California pubs and restaurants with Irish names put out large tents next to their buildings to host the overflow crowds for this special holiday.

Drinking tip: For every alcoholic drink consumed, balance it out with a glass of water to keep your body hydrated. You may make more trips to the bathroom, but you’ll feel better in the long run.


  • St. Patrick’s Day began as a religious day honoring Saint Patrick who lived between 387 and 461 AD.
  • It originally was a day in which Catholics attend church and lift Lenten restrictions on eating, and drinking alcohol.
  • Catholics first wore the color blue to honor this saint and celebrate the special day.
  • Green was adopted as the new color–possibly during the 17th century.
  • Shamrocks or 3 leaf clovers were used to represent the Catholic trinity – Father, Son & Holy Ghost.
  • St. Patrick’s Day has been an official holiday in Ireland since 1903.


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