Being Irish in New York on St Patrick's Day is really a special time

“There are two types of Americans on St Patrick’s Day: those who are Irish and those who lack ambition.” So goes the old joke which captures the love for Ireland across America, a continent with 40 million people of Irish descent.

Read More: Hundreds of global landmarks will light up green this St. Patrick’s Day

There are wonderful parades and dances and festivals to celebrate the Irish national day all over New York and all over the country, which is also a harbinger of spring.

As somewhat reformed veterans of March 17 excesses ourselves, we thought we'd suggest a few diversions to those seeking craic agus ceol (good times and music) in New York on the big day.

Read More: Best places in the world to celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Here are some suggestions for how to spend St. Patrick's Day in New York City:

1. Sober St. Patrick's Day

Join the "Sober St. Patrick's Day" hooley. Billed as the ultimate family-friendly party, the event features trad music, dancing, actors and storytellers. There are now five Sober St. Patrick's Day events around the United States, as well as in Dublin and Belfast.

We hope that the 135 Collegiate Recovery communities will also develop some special campus activities for St Patrick's Day, extending their range of events like sober tailgates and dance parties to include Irish music and drama.

(Sober St. Patrick's Day, Facebook)

(Sober St. Patrick's Day, Facebook)

Read More: Dublin’s first permanent non-alcoholic bar opens next month

2. The New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade

Celebrate an inclusive Irish identity by marching in the NYC parade. What could be better than marching up Fifth Avenue in the all-inclusive Irish celebration?  Note! The New York City St. Patrick's Day is on March 16th this year, which leaves even more time to enjoy March 17th!

The NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade (Getty)

The NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade (Getty)

Read More: Why New York St. Patrick’s Parade should be on a Saturday every year

3. Get involved

Search online for news about other Irish activities and news on IrishCentral or Irish America magazine. The Irish Arts Center has many fun activities, including handing out books by Irish authors on March 17.

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Read More: How Rockville Centre St. Patrick's Parade raised over one million dollars for charity

4. Play the part

Get in touch with your Irish roots by taking lessons in the uilleann pipes (there are now thousands of pipers worldwide up from fewer than a hundred 20 years ago), or if that's too complex, try the bodhran drum or the tin whistle.

Buy anything Irish: tweeds, Aran sweater, jewelry, crystal, Irish cheeses, anything except those t-shirts which say we Irish are drunken bums (another British conspiracy?).

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Read More: Aran sweaters, Claddagh rings, tin whistles: the story behind Ireland’s beloved artifacts

5. Learn "cúpla focal"

Speaking of the “old enemy,” learn to curse and woo in Irish (as Gaelige) at Glucksman Ireland House at New York University. And check out their website for a list of lively events and lectures.

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Read More: Best ways to learn the Irish language

6. Indulge in the Irish arts

Read a book of Irish poetry with your family and friends (the Penguin collection features three Nobel Laureates: Seamus Heaney, Samuel Beckett, and W.B. Yeats) or read "How the Irish Saved Civilization" by Thomas Cahill.

Or watch some great Irish movies recommended on IrishCentral such as "Once," "The Crying Game," "The Snapper," and "My Left Foot."

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Read More: 20 classic Irish books to read in 2019

7. Give back

The first observance of St Patrick’s Day was in 1737 by the Charitable Irish Society of Boston when they coordinated charitable works for the Irish community. Why not volunteer with City Harvest during the day to honor this truly authentic way of celebrating the day?

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Read More: Donegal man cycles the entire Wild Atlantic Way for children’s charity

8. Get moving

Encourage the New York Road Runners to link up with the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) to organize a Six Mile Central Park Run on St Patrick's Day to sweat out the mischief. They can call it "On the Run for Ireland.”

And if you don’t run, take a walking tour of Irish sites such as the Irish Hunger (Famine) Memorial in Battery Park, or the Shrine of St Elizabeth Seton at the Holy Rosary mission in State Street.

The Irish Famine Memorial in NYC (Getty Images)

The Irish Famine Memorial in NYC (Getty Images)

Read More: Irish hurling hero commutes 6,000 miles weekly from New York to play with Galway

9. Take in a play

Go and see some Irish arts in action, see a play at the Irish Repertory Theatre.

(Irish Repertory Theatre, Facebook)

(Irish Repertory Theatre, Facebook)

Read More: Today marks the anniversary of riots over Synge's Playboy of the Western World

10. Get planning

Invite friends and family over for smoked salmon and Barry's tea to plan a trip to Ireland next year, exploring your Irish roots

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Read More: WATCH: Irish experts reveal the top experiences in Ireland’s Ancient East

Lá Fhéile Phádraig sona daoibh!

How do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day in New York City? Share in the comments, or drop us a line!

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How to spend St. Patrick's Day in New York CityGetty Images