Getting smashed, inebriated, plastered, or ossified (as we Irish sometimes say) does tend to go hand-in-hand with how St. Patrick's Day is celebrated, but there are plenty of other ways to mark the one day of the year when everything and everyone goes green.
1. Take a selfie in front of landmark that's turned green.
Major landmarks around the world such as the London Eye, the Sacré-Cœur, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Christ the Redeemer statue have been going green since the campaign started seven years ago. This year a bunch of new ones are joining, including 7 World Trade Center at Ground Zero in New York, Fenway Park in Boston, the Big Wheel in Tuileries Gardens in Paris, City Hall in Tel Aviv, Israel, and the light rail system in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The full global "greening" list can be found here.
2. Discover some new Irish music.
Irish music is much more than U2 and Enya. Last year we devoted an entire list to just this topic. Breakout acts to watch in 2016 include the haunting Saint Sister, the raucous Bitch Falcon, the synth-laden Le Galaxie, the energetic Pleasure Beach and the versatile Hare Squead. For further listening, fall down the musical rabbit hole that is Breakingtunes.ie — a platform that promotes new Irish music — or turn to the people who know the space best like Nialler9, On The Record and Across the Line.
3. Put Irish butter into your morning coffee.
OK, so not every cow eats grass under the ruins of a castle, but because of the rainy climate, cows in Ireland are mostly grass fed... meaning you end up with the most delicious butter. Kerrygold is the gold standard and it's now available all over the world. Put it in your morning coffee to make it bulletproof.
4. Learn to drink tea like an Irish person.
Pick a side in the debate that divides the nation. Two brands of tea rule Ireland: Barry's and Lyons and everyone has a preference. Try them both and pick a side. And don't forget, the milk always goes in after the tea. If you manage that, move on to crisps — they're an equally contentious topic.
5. Read new Irish voices.
Irish writing has experienced a renewed burst of interest in recent years. Louise O’Neill’s powerful Asking For It should be on your list, while Sara Baume’s engaging (and Costa First Novel Award shortlisted) debut Spill Simmer Falter Wither is another worth adding. There are a bunch of classics too of course, Joyce, Beckett and Swift, but perhaps the recent movie success of Room might persuade you to read Irish-Born author Emma Donoghue’s much-claimed novel.