Celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day sober may seem impossible. After all, the holiday is mostly associated with green beer, Guinness, whisky, and public intoxication. But these more debaucherous activities are less Irish and more Irish-American.
That’s because Ireland is a strongly Catholic country. As such, Saint Patrick’s Day is technically a religious holiday. In fact, pubs in Ireland were required to close on Saint Patrick’s Day until 1961. For years, the holiday was about feasting, listening to music, and honoring the patron saint of Ireland, not chugging beers.
If that’s not enough to convince you, check out these 12 sober activities you can do this Saint Patrick’s Day.
1. Cook An Irish-Themed Meal
What better day to enjoy Irish fare than St. Patrick’s Day? Irish food is hearty, heavy, and comforting—basically the best kind of food for chilly mid-March days.Think classic stew, potatoes, corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, and Irish soda bread. For some cooking inspiration, check out these 40 recipes.
Replace green beer with non-alcoholic alternatives like lime sherbet punch, a homemade shamrock shake, or a Saint Patrick-tini. Click here to see these and other non-alcoholic green drinks sure to get you in the Saint Paddy’s Day spirit.
2. Play St. Patrick’s Day Games
If you’re spending Saint Patrick’s Day with kids (or just kids at heart), set up some festive games. Some popular games include Hot Potato, Potato Hunt (hide small potatoes instead of Easter eggs), and Gold Coin Toss. For even more ideas, check out this list.
3. Attend A (Virtual) Parade
Every year hundreds of cities and towns across the United States celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with parades. While some attract drunk revelers, many are family-friendly and alcohol-free. Expect traditional costumes, floats, and bagpipers playing classic Irish tunes.
Parades will look different this year with the COVID-19 pandemic still in full force. Indeed, cities like Dublin, New Orleans, and Chicago have canceled in-person events for the second year in a row. However, unlike last year, there are plenty of virtual substitutes to keep you occupied.
For example, the city of Dublin is hosting a week-long event from March 12-17 complete with dancing, music, and storytelling. You can find more information here.
4. Discover Irish Music
If you’ve never listened to Irish music, you’re missing out. Of course there are the classic foot-stomping, hand-clapping reels (referred to as traditional or “trad” music), but that’s not all. Popular artists like U2, Snow Patrol, and Two Door Cinema Club all call the Emerald Isle home.
Not sure where to start? Head to Spotify or Youtube and search for “Irish music.” You’ll be sure to find a song you love in no time.
5. Learn Some New Dance Moves (Or Just Watch From The Sidelines)
Traditional step dancing is perhaps one of the most famous Irish exports and it’s easy to see why. From the ornate costumes, to the catchy melodies, and finishing with the synchronized moves, step dancing is truly mesmerizing to watch.
This year, watch a Riverdance performance on Youtube, check out step dancers on Tik-Tok, or take an online dance class if you’re feeling brave.
6. Attend A (Virtual) Sober Saint Patrick’s Day Event
Sober Saint Patrick’s Day is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Irish history and heritage. According to their website, their goal is to create “a healthy and safe experience for family, friends, people in recovery and others.”
Under normal circumstances, the New-York-based organization hosts events in Philadelphia and Richmond, Virginia. There are also events in Belfast and Dublin, Ireland. These events are packed with pipe bands, step dancers, guest speakers, and alcohol-free beverages.
This year’s celebration will be virtual, but no less fun. To find out more information and to register for the free virtual party, click here.
7. Do A Restaurant Or Cafe Crawl
While lots of people associate Saint Patrick’s Day with pub crawls, you can still enjoy this activity sans alcohol. Instead of hitting up bars and pubs, why not get a group of friends together for a restaurant or cafe crawl? Have appetizers and mocktails at one location, dinner at another, and finish with something sweet from your favorite bakery.
Not only will you get to catch up with friends, try new foods, and explore different neighborhoods, but you’ll also keep the great memories because you’ll be sober.
8. Run A (Virtual) 5K, Half-Marathon, or Marathon
Running events have always been a great alcohol-free way to enjoy Saint Patrick’s Day. And while most events are cancelled in 2021, several organizations have set up virtual runs to keep you motivated.
Simply register, wait for your race gear to be delivered to your house, complete the distance with family or friends, and submit your results. It may not be as fun as a traditional race, but exercising and working towards a goal are both excellent ways to avoid a relapse.
9. Have An Irish Movie Marathon
Let’s be honest—you’re probably going to watch Netflix anyway. So why not slip in a few Irish-themed movies?
Along the way, you’ll learn about Irish history, see beautiful landscapes, and maybe even develop a love for the Emerald Isle. There are lots of movies to choose from, but here’s a list of some of the most Irish films.
- In the Name of the Father
- The Quiet Man
- The Wind That Shakes The Barley
10. Read A Book By An Irish Author
Just like Irish music and movies, Irish literature doesn’t get half the attention it deserves. Change that by picking up a book written by an Irish author. Here are some recommendations:
- The Dubliners – James Joyce
- Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
- Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
- Conversations With Friends – Sally Rooney
- Country Girls – Edna O’Brien
11. Head To A Parking Lot Show
Although most 2021 St. Paddy’s Day celebrations are virtual, some towns and cities are hosting socially-distanced in-person events. While some are playing Irish movies drive-in style, others are using lots to host comedy events. For a list of local in-person events near you, check out Eventbrite.
12. Practice Self-Care
Even if you’re 100% committed to staying sober this Saint Patrick’s Day, you may still feel tempted to reach for a drink. If you’re having a tough time, be sure to take time out to practice self-care. Take a bath, call a loved one, or check in with your sponsor. Setting aside time for relaxation is an excellent way to evaluate how you’re feeling and to get re-energized for any challenges you may come across.
Happy Sober Saint Patrick’s Day From La Fuente!
We love celebrating holidays at La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center (check out our Instagram page to see our best shots). Saint Patrick’s Day is no different. In fact, it’s one of our favorite holidays to celebrate because it challenges us to turn an alcohol-heavy holiday into a fun, sober event for our clients.
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction this Saint Patrick’s Day, please fill out the form below. A staff member from our Los Angeles drug treatment center will contact you within 24 hours.