The Irish community will be welcoming the rest of Leeds tomorrow as it celebrates St Patrick’s Day.
From parades to pints of Guinness, the city goes green to celebrate the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), who was the foremost patron saint of Ireland.
St Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church.
In both the Republic and Northern Ireland, St Patrick’s Day is a public holiday with celebrations of the Irish culture with drinks, music and dancing and in Leeds it is no exception.
Historically, the city has had a very strong Irish community after an influx of migration in the search for employment from around 1820.
However, despite those job trends changing over the years, there is still a thriving community as native Irishmen and following generations made their homes and families in Leeds.
At the last census count two years ago, there were 16,000 Irish people living in Leeds. Jack Dwyer (76), chairman of the St Patrick’s Day parade at the Leeds Irish centre moved to Leeds in the early 1960s from County Roscommon
He said: “When the recession hit the first thing young people did in Ireland was leave to go to Australia.
“From my own point of view, I left Ireland for various reasons. The employment was not there and I had a brother who was in Leeds. I thought I would go for a short while and see what it was like and I am still here 56 years later.”
Jack became a civil engineer, married a girl from Leeds and despite being a proud Irishman he says his home is Leeds.
“When I visit Ireland I always say I am going home but in reality home is in Leeds. I would find it very difficult to fit in back home.
“There is a very big strong Irish community here and they have blended in nicely, either married English people or whoever else.
“It is very surprising all the people I come across who are involved with the Irish community but are not Irish and love the culture.”
But it wouldn’t be a St Patrick’s Day celebration with out a Guinness and a shamrock so here are a few suggestions to embrace the party spirit.
Yates pubs at Woodhouse or Boar Lane are doing pints of the Guinness good stuff for just £1.99 today.
Leeds Beckett University students union is having an all day St Patrick’s Day festival with themed bands, acts, games, food and drinks.
At Brewdog on North Street, the craft beer bar will be having an Irish showcase featuring Yellow Belly, Boundary Brewing, Kinnegear, Whitehag and Wicklow Wolf.
Tiger Tiger’s ‘Luck Of The Irish package’ includes a bottle of spirit, mixers and six baby Guinness shots for £120
Leeds Irish group The Tradition will be, as the name suggests, bringing theirraggle taggle of Irish fare back to the Brudenell for the sixth year.
On the night expect music from the likes of The Pogues, U2, The Waterboys, Van Morrison, The Dubliners, The Cranberries, The Saw Doctors, Planxty, Thin Lizzy, Undertones, Christy Moore, The Divine Comedy and The Clancy Brothers .