St. Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of St. Patrick, is a cultural and religious celebration held on March 17th. It’s most well-known today for its boisterous parades and festivals celebrated in a sea of green.
St. Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the 17th century to commemorate the life and death of St. Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. It falls in the middle of Lent, so fasting rules were always lifted to allow people to celebrate the feast properly. This is why St. Patrick’s Day is so associated with drinking – it was the one day in 40 that anyone was allowed to!
Celebrations today occur in Ireland itself, as well as the UK, the US, and Canada – pretty much anywhere with a high concentration of Irish diaspora. It’s the most widely celebrated national festival in the world! Most communities will host a public parade and celebrate with music, dancing and drinking with everyone bedecked in green and shamrocks.
London even has it’s first Irish Lord Mayor as of 2021 – Vincent Keaveney. The Lord Mayor is a different job to Sadiq Khan as the Mayor of London. Vinvent Keaveney works as an International Ambassador for the UK’s financial and professional services, and heads the City of London Corporation, the governing body of the Square Mile.
Political tension between Ireland and the UK meant that St. Patrick’s Day was not openly celebrated in the UK for several years, but today London and Liverpool both host St. Patrick’s Day parades. Manchester goes one further, with a two week festival surrounding the day itself celebrating Irish culture, and Birmingham hosts the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parade outside of New York and Dublin itself.
The Murphia List
The Murphia List is a who’s-who of all the Irish talent working in the food, drink and hospitality industry in London that’s updated just before St. Patrick’s Day. It’s sponsored by Bord Bia, an Irish state agency that promotes Irish food and horticulture at home and abroad, and hosted by the website Hot Dinners, proudly showcasing Irish culinary talent for the past 8 years.
The 2022 additions bring the number of London-Irish food and drink icons on the Murphia List to 55. Already included were names like restauranteur Richard Corrigan and TV presented Anna Haugh, but now they’re joined by up-and-comers like executive pastry chef Niamh Larkin, bakery owner Dee Retalli, and chef Max Rocha – son of designer John Rocha.
New entry James Hennebry (left) co-owns Rosslyn Coffee with business partner Mat Russell, which was the only UK entry on the FT list of best independent coffee shops in the world.