2017 St. Patrick’s Day Festivities in Taipei: The Guinness was flowing like a river

All peoples and nationalities were brought under one common theme, to enjoy a good pint and be Irish for a day

(Photo from James Joyce Irish Bar Facebook page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- St. Patrick's Day, or as it is known in Irish "Lá Fhéile Pádraig," was celebrated this year in Taipei across the many Irish bars dotted around the city. A variety of nationalities gathered in bars such as Carnegie's, The Speakeasy Bar, Brass Monkey, James Joyce Irish Bar and many others, to celebrate Ireland's patron saint and Irish culture.

Celebrations had begun early in Carnegie's. The bar was nicely fitted with decorations and Guinness was on special for the evening. The staff were kept busy for the night and among them was one of Ireland’s own, Aaron from Count Tyrone pictured below with other bartenders.

The bar was playing many Irish classics from bands such as The Pogues, The Dubliners, U2, Thin Lizzy and many more. There were people of all nationalities present in the bar, as well as many Taiwanese taking part in the celebrations. Thankfully the Guinness had traveled well and it was poured with the same precision as one would expect in Ireland.


Carnegie's (Photo by Tomás Francis Swinburne)


Carnegie's (Photo by Tomás Francis Swinburne)


Pint of Guinness beer (Photo by Tomás Francis Swinburne)

The Speakeasy Bar was also lively for the evening. The Guinness was being ordered so fast that the bartenders spent more of their time pouring pints of the black stuff than doing anything else. The Guinness was flowing to the point that some had questioned whether the Guinness would last the night. Thankfully it did.


The Speakeasy Bar (Photo by Tomás Francis Swinburne)

Just like in Ireland, the bar began to fill up with patrons very quickly. The Speakeasy Bar was overflowing with people, Guinness and most of all, the most important part of any good time in an Ireland, craic. Craic is Irish, and it means "fun."

In the context of a night out the craic means every aspect of what makes a good time possible. In the Speakeasy Bar, those elements were all there. Good people from all over the world, with good beer and of course, good music.

Many of the Irish greats were played with many different renditions of the song “The Rocky Road to Dublin” being played. It did not take long for the atmosphere to pick up and for the bar to become alive with chatter, singing and new friendships.


The Speakeasy Bar (Photo by Tomás Francis Swinburne)

Gifts were handed out to the crowd which included free Guinness hats, ties and flashlights. Free shots of Jameson were given to anyone brave enough to allow the bartender to pour it into their mouths. Although happy hour normally runs from 7-9 pm, in this case it was extended indefinitely for the evening and night.


The Speakeasy Bar (Photo by Tomás Francis Swinburne)

Most of the Taiwanese present in the bar had been to Ireland before and were celebrating with both locals and foreigners alike. Many of the Taiwanese patrons joined in with singing and Irish dancing, although, the alcohol may have loosened them up to do so. Rugby balls were thrown around the bar in anticipation of the Ireland vs England rugby game. Ireland won the match 13-9 against England.

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The Speakeasy Bar (Photo by Tomás Francis Swinburne)

Overall, the evening was celebrated with a fervor and charm that would be on par with that of celebrations in any Irish city, town or village. What made Taipei’s St. Patrick’s Day special, was that crowds of many nationalities, with many different world views came together to celebrate.

Inside these bars, although the celebrations were specific to the Irish culture, it still brought people from around the world together as one community, or as it is said in Mandarin 天下爲公 (tien hsia wei kung).