A Sober St. Patrick’s Day: Ways to Celebrate Without Alcohol

This is a guest post by Sarah of The Prevention Coalition. She has written a list of ways that you can celebrate a sober St. Patrick’s Day!  

If you love St. Patrick’s Day but don’t want to (or can’t) drink, take heart. You can still have a good time channeling your inner Irishman this March 17. In many ways, abstaining can help focus attention on the many positive cultural aspects of the Great Green Holiday. After all, St. Patrick’s Day was conceived as a religious observance in honor of Ireland’s patron saint. Even though it’s become a day to celebrate the Irish identity, it doesn’t mean you have to slam down green beers and Irish whiskey to get into the spirit.  There are many ways to have fun by using a little creativity.


If you decorate at Halloween and around the Christmas holiday season to get in the spirit, why not do the same as St. Patrick’s Day approaches? String together a green and white banner or door wreath touting the holiday. Also, you can create a genuinely Irish aura in your home with some green mason jar luminaries. Go on a shamrock-gathering hunt in the lawn or nearby park and create a truly Irish bouquet to display prominently in the center of your table. If you feel like “going native,” you can hang a green, white, and orange Irish flag outside or one bearing a sentiment like “Erin go bragh!” You can go whole-hog by donning a leprechaun costume (pot of gold and all!) for the day.

Irish Feast

Many of the tasty and wholesome dishes that are indigenous to the Emerald Isle aren’t well known in the U.S. Commemorate the day by putting together a St. Patrick’s Day menu. It can include shepherd’s pie, corned beef, and cabbage. Furthermore, it can have colcannon (a delicious side dish made of mashed potatoes and cabbage or kale in butter), salmon, or bangers and mash. Get the kids involved in whipping up some green and white iced sugar cookies.

Toe-tapping tunes

If you’ve never listened to Irish music, you’re in for a treat. Download a few beats featuring native Irish instruments playing jigs and reels that’ll have you up on your feet in no time. If you plan on attending a St. Patrick’s Day parade or festival in your area, check out the musical entertainment. If you’re not sure where to go (or if you’d instead dance in your own home), dial up a movie that features Irish music and dancing, such as “Riverdance.”


Celebrate the day with an Irish movie-thon, featuring films that celebrate Irish culture, history, and the Irish experience around the world. Some of the most popular include “The Quiet Man,” “Waking Ned Devine,” “My Left Foot,” “The Commitments,” and “Once.” Queue up “The Secret of the Kells” and “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” for the kids. Don’t forget the popcorn and add an Irish-themed non-alcoholic drink such as lemon mint infusion, featuring tonic water, lemon slices, mint leaves, and two tablespoons of sugar.

Learn a little Irish

Many people are unaware that Irish (actually Irish Gaelic) is one of the oldest languages still being spoken. It’s a pleasing, lilting tongue that’s graced songs, poetry, and literature for millennia. Why not punctuate your Irish experience on St. Patrick’s Day by trying out a few common phrases? A timely “Dia dhuit” (Hello), “Ta me go maith” (I am well), or “Slainte” will lend your celebration an air of authenticity.

A St. Patrick’s Day without alcohol may seem like Christmas without Santa Claus to some people. Focusing your creativity and energy on Irish activities and decorations this year can help you keep it Irish and make sure everyone has a good time. Not to mention—no hangovers!