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Destinations and Celebrations: A Bit of Ireland in the South

Thanks in part to the Irish immigrants who helped build the region (and the country), the South has strong ties to Ireland. And the South accentuates this relationship through cultural centers, festivals and more, including, of course, St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

Irish Heritage ... Kansas City, Missouri, hosts one of the largest Irish festivals in the nation, the annual Kansas City Irish Fest and Browne’s Irish Marketplace, the oldest Irish-owned business in the country. New Orleans has the Irish Channel neighborhood and the Irish Cultural Museum. In Erin, Tennessee, there's the Celtic Quilt Trail and the city's home to one of the top ten Irish celebrations in the U.S.

And don't forget about San Antonio, Savannah, Georgia, Charleston, South Carolina, Georgetown, Kentucky, Richmond, Virginia, and Ireland, West Virginia ~ other Southern destinations with solid Irish roots.

Craic (pronounced "krak"; meaning fun and entertainment) ... Hot Springs, Arkansas, is known for hosting "The World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade." It's confirmed annually with an official measuring of the parade route.

The annual St. Patrick's Day Celebration in Shamrock, Texas, was designated by the State Legislature as the official St. Patrick's Day celebration for the State of Texas in 2013.

It's not only beads that may fly during St. Patrick's Day Parades in Houma, Louisiana, and New Orleans; there might be cabbages, other vegetables and fruits in the mix as well.

Enterprise, Alabama, celebrates "The World's Smallest St. Patrick's Day Parade." The parade features one person - the grand marshall - who residents vote in. The event has been going strong since 1993.

While the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Savannah, Georgia, may be one of the largest in the country, Atlanta's St. Patrick's Day Parade, which began in 1858, is one of the country's oldest parades and the city's longest-running events. It is also said to include the world's largest walking Irish flag.

St. Augustine, Florida, is home to the first-recorded St. Patrick's Day parade in 1601.

Greenin' of the Waters ... The green coloring flows in both the River Walk in San Antonio and the fountain in Savannah's Forsyth Park.

Other destinations joining in include Charlotte at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, where the resident leprechaun turns the river green, and Hillsborough River in Tampa goes "kelly green" for the city's celebration.

photo credit: inside the Irish Cultural Museum, New Orleans; personal collection


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