Celebrating St. Patrick's Day Without Alcohol - How to Have Fun While Staying Sober

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day Without Alcohol - How to Have Fun While Staying Sober

On March 17th each year, communities all over the world celebrate St Patrick’s Day. Starting as a religious day to honour the arrival of Christianity in Ireland in the 5th century, St Patrick’s Day has evolved into a festival renowned for its lively celebrations. Irish music, vibrant parades, lively dancing, feasting and drinking traditionally mark this global festival of Irish culture.

Here at Drydrinker, we know that a sober celebration can be just as full of cheer as one fuelled by alcohol, so join us as we share ways to celebrate a sober St Patrick’s Day and celebrate the richness of Irish culture, alcohol-free.

St Patricks Day Revellers

Why Do People Drink on St Patrick's Day?

It is estimated that 13 million pints of Guinness are served on St Patrick’s Day to revellers who want to celebrate Irish culture with a pint (or five) of the traditional Irish beverage. But why is St Patrick’s Day linked to alcohol and why has it become such a day of partying?

March 17th was originally marked as a day of celebration for Christians as this was the day when Saint Patrick reputedly died in 497. In the Christian religion, this holy anniversary falls in the middle of Lent (the time when Christians abstain from alcohol and other food/drink). Due to it being a religious feast day, Christians were permitted to break from their Lent fasting on the 17th March and so it became synonymous with being a day of excess and celebration.

Why Celebrate St Patrick's Day Sober?

Between 1903 and 1970 Irish law decreed that no alcohol should be consumed on St Patrick’s Day and it became a dry holiday. Since then, St Patrick’s Day has become inexorably linked with drinking and merriment and it is one of the most boozy holidays in the world, especially in America where 174% more beer is sold than usual. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that the population of Irish Americans is seven times that of Ireland!

More and more people are turning to sobriety these days, and big events like New Year’s Eve or Paddy’s Day can present temptation and unwanted peer pressure. Whether you’re T total because you enjoy the health benefits of remaining sober, or perhaps because of fertility or religious reasons, celebrating St Patrick’s Day sober is a way to still enjoy the craic, but wake up with a clear head the next morning.

8 Sober St Patrick's Celebration Ideas

If you’re looking for ways to celebrate this fun day of festivities and delve into the rich culture and heritage of Ireland without alcohol, then consider one of our ideas of how to enjoy St Patrick’s Day without a drop of booze.

1. Host a Green-Themed Party

Partygoers all over the world celebrate St Patrick’s Day by wearing the colour green. This is due to St Patrick’s link with the shamrock, and how he reportedly used this simple tri-leafed plant to illustrate the holy trinity to his devoted followers.

Whilst many revellers traditionally drink artificially-coloured ‘green beer’ on St Patrick’s Day, a green-themed party doesn’t have to revolve around alcohol. Why not host an emerald-themed dinner party and celebrate by asking your guests to wear dazzling jade?

Invite friends and family to bring a dish of their favourite green food to add to the buffet table - guacamole, courgette frittata, pesto pasta, a leafy salad and of course a dish made with Irish cabbage are all ideas of green party food which will get the taste buds tingling. Green smoothies, matcha mocktails or peppermint cordial will provide the perfect accompaniment to your green-themed party ideas.

2. Attend a Parade

Attending a St Patrick’s Day parade is a great way to soak up the atmosphere and join other Irish folk in celebrating the great nation of Ireland and the contribution its people have made to the world.

Many large cities in the UK host a St Patrick’s Day parade, with the largest being in London’s Trafalgar Square on March 17th each year. Showcasing Irish arts and culture, Irish food, traditional Irish music and more, this popular London event culminates in the spectacular annual parade which starts at Hyde Park Corner.

3. Take an Irish Dance Class

Traditional Irish dancing has been popular the world over for centuries and, whilst styles have evolved and absorbed other cultural influences over the years, the heart of Irish dance remains the same.

If you want to learn step dancing, the Irish jig, a traditional céilí (pronounced "kay-lee) or Irish tap dancing then an Irish dance class is the place to do it. There are many Irish dance classes dotted around the UK and finding one near you is a great way to start a new hobby and celebrate Irish culture on St Patrick’s Day without alcohol.

4. Cook Traditional Irish Food

The Irish are well known for their love of comforting home cooking. Recipes featuring potatoes are particularly popular due to how their introduction to Ireland in the late 16th century revolutionised the Irish diet. With bacon and cabbage, champ, barmbrack, Irish stew, boxty, colcannon and soda bread being just some of the popular traditional Irish recipes enjoyed the world over, you have a vast choice when it comes to what traditional Irish food to cook on St Patrick’s Day.

Irish stew

5. Listen to Irish Music

The indigenous music of Ireland is popular all over the UK and beyond thanks to its rousing rhythms, catchy choruses and haunting harmonies. Traditional Irish folk music is often characterised by its use of violins, flutes, whistles, fiddles and accordions but you might sometimes hear a harp or banjo too.

Many of us have heard more modern-day Irish musicians such as the Cranberries and the Dubliners use the traditional Irish style of music to delight listeners across the globe. The folky tradition of session music (where musicians gather in pubs or homes to share tunes and sing together) is a popular way of listening to Irish music too. Whether you choose radio or live events to get your fix of Irish music this March, it’s a great way to enjoy the delights of St Patrick’s Day without drinking alcohol.

Irish musicians

6. Take a Trip to Ireland

Whether you’ve been before or have always longed to visit, a trip to the Emerald Isle is a great way to celebrate St Patrick’s Day sober. Yes there will be lots of feasting and merriment in the streets on March 17th (especially in the major cities like Dublin), but if you choose to visit some of the lesser-known counties then you’ll be able to enjoy the breathtaking landscapes, hiking opportunities, ancient castles and delicious fresh seafood for which Ireland is famed.

Irish landscape

7. Try Some Non-Alcoholic Irish Drinks

From Champagne at weddings to Baileys at Christmas and Guinness on Paddy’s Day, big celebrations are often marked with a drink which becomes synonymous with that event. Dipping into Irish culture by raising a non-alcoholic Irish drink is a great way to celebrate St Patrick’s Day without the risk of a hangover.

If you’re celebrating St Patrick’s Day sober this year, you’ll perhaps be glad to hear that Guinness has made an alcohol-free version of its classic tipple which still retains the beautifully smooth, cool, and dark taste of the original just without the alcohol.

If you prefer a more classic Irish drink, you can find Irish breakfast tea, Irish apple juice, Club Orange or Líomanáid dearg (red lemonade) available all across the UK.

Alcohol free guiness

8. Explore Irish Literature and Poetry

Tapping into Irish culture by exploring the customs and traditions of Irish literature is an enriching way of celebrating St Patrick’s Day sober.

Ireland has a wealth of great writers and poets in its history. If you want to explore the rich world of Irish literature, then James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Alice Kinsella and Seamus Heaney are all great names that you’ll find on the bookshelves of your nearest library. Or if you’re feeling creative, why not try to write your own Irish Quatrain?


Spotlight on Non-Alcoholic Irish Drinks

There are so many non-alcoholic versions of classic Irish drinks you can make if you know where to look! Take a look at these simple ideas below:

  • Non-Alcoholic Black Velvet Recipe
    Traditionally made by combining Irish stout and Chapagne you can recreate the popular Irish cocktail Black Velvet using equal parts non-alcoholic stout and an alcohol-free prosecco alternative. Use champagne flutes to give that sophisticated party vibe and get the toasts underway!
  • Alcohol-Free Baby Guinness
    An Irish-themed drink commonly drunk on St Patrick’s Day is the Baby Guinness shot. Instead of the traditional alcoholic ingredients, choose a non-alcoholic coffee liqueur topped with alcohol-free cream caramel liqueur to create your very own sober St Patrick’s Day shooters.
  • Non-Alcoholic Green Beer
    Partygoers traditionally drink artificially coloured ‘green beer’ on March 17th - why not make your own with your choice of non-alcoholic lager infused with green vegetable dye?
  • Alcohol-Free Irish Coffee
    Make a sober version of Irish Coffee using double cream, freshly brewed black coffee and 50ml of non-alcoholic whiskey. Top with a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg for extra flavour.
  • Green Non-Alcoholic Punch
    Make a big refreshing jug of non-alcoholic green punch to share with family and friends this St Patrick’s Day. Use fresh lime, soda water, lime cordial, muddled mint leaves and lots of ice to make a delicious non-alcoholic alternative for celebrations.
Green beer

Embracing the Spirit of St. Patrick’s Day

However you choose to celebrate this year, there are so many ways to make the joyous occasion of St Patrick’s Day without alcohol. We hope that these sober celebration ideas have brought a new perspective and revealed exciting alternatives to the world of non-alcoholic drinks. In keeping with the spirit of a joyful, sober St Patrick’s Day, why not explore the exciting range of non-alcoholic drinks at Drydrinker?

If you want to speak to one of our friendly team they can help you choose the best non-alcoholic and low-alcohol drink ideas for your own St Patrick’s Day celebrations; simply jump on our live chat. Or if you just want to stay in the loop, simply follow us @drydrinker!

Back to blog