The next big celebration holiday is St. Patrick’s Day – are you ready? Do you like wearin’ o’ the green? Drinkin’ o’ the beer? The Great Smoky Mountains is a wonderful place to celebrate – whether in a beautiful cabin with an Irish celebration of your own making and traditions or out and about in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge or Sevierville.
St. Patrick’s Day – always March 17 – falls on Wednesday this year. It is a feast day celebrating St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, according to Britannica.com. St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century. He was kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave. He escaped but returned to convert the Irish to Christianity. By the time of his death on March 17, 461, he had established monasteries, churches, and schools. For many around the globe, it’s just a way to show they are a wee bit Irish.
There are so many myths, legends and customs surrounding St. Patrick’s Day:
St Patrick the legend who drove the snakes out of Ireland…
Hill of Tara ancient seat of the High Kings of Ireland….
Fairies & Leprechauns the truth at last….
Holy Wells pagan origins, Christian cures…..
Shamrock or is it clover? how to tell the real thing….
Irish Parades their history & the story of Macnas….
Irish Dancing and the legend of Riverdance….
Traditional Irish Music and where to hear it for free….
Gaelic Sports football, hurling & camogie….
National Anthems pride of our nation….
Irish stew soda bread etc….
Guinness how to tell a good pint?
Irish Coffee what makes a real one?
Now that you are fully educated about the day, let’s talk about events in the Smokies to celebrate St. Patrick – Irish style and “the rest of the world’ style.
1. The Island
The fun begins Saturday March 13 at The Island in Pigeon Forge where for two days, traditional Irish music will abound and the fountains and wheel will be green.
Enjoy live entertainment throughout the day from The BorderCollies, The Crossjacks and The Tennessee Irish Dancers. Plus, don’t miss our special Fountain Show, featuring “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys!
Visitors may buy green beer and drinks at Timberwood Grill, Mellow Mushroom, and Yee-Haw Brewery. Timberwood also will be serving up a traditional Irish meal.
For the second year in a row, The Island has been ranked as the 6th Best Amusement Park in the U.S. and the 9th Best Amusement Park in the World according to TripAdvisor. Check out our blog post about The Island and then check out The Island! 131 The Island Dr, Pigeon Forge.
2. The Fox & Parrot
Pay a visit to the Smokies only true British pub. While you won’t find any St. Patty’s Decorations or green beer here, what you will find is a total of 31 beers on draught stored in a cold facility on their lower floor to keep them at the perfect temperature.
Keep the St. Patrick’s Day feel by ordering the Bubble & Squeak – their version is corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and onions. Wash it down with an Irish stout or cider and you’ll really be in the spirit.
An added bonus? Fox & Parrot Tavern is non-smoking & family oriented.
Find The Fox & Parrot Tavern in the Glades Arts & Crafts Community at 1065 Glades Road, Gatlinburg. 865-436-0677
3. St. Patrick’s Day at Ober Gatlinburg
Corned beef & cabbage, green beer, and Irish music all feature at Ober Gatlinburg’s St. Patrick’s Day event for 2021. Traditional Irish sounds from The Crossjacks fill the air.
Outdoor shows are from 1p-2p and 2:30-3:30p. Dinner show takes place from 5-6:30 at Seasons of Ober Restaurant. Ober Gatlinburg also toasts the end of their ski season on St. Patrick’s Day.
There is no charge to attend the events once you’re at Ober Gatlinburg. Take the famous aerial tramway or drive up – the choice is yours!
1339 Ski Mountain Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
4. Anakeesta’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
Anakeesta encourages everyone to find their Inner Irish in 2021 by celebrating with them. Big Bear Village features bagpiper Kelly Shipe – a champion bagpiper who has been studying music since the age of 5.
Find special St. Patrick’s Themed cocktails and, of course, green beer, at Cliff Top, Tap House, and Bar at the Top of the World. If beverages aren’t your thing, tasty St. Patrick’s treats are offered at Pearl’s Pie in the Sky and Kephart’s, too!
Cliff Top’s offers a special St. Patty’s menu on the 17th featuring Guinness beef pie, fennel sausages, corned beef & cabbage, and so much more more. You can check out their regular menu here.
Anakeesta’s St. Patrick’s Day hours are 9a-8p; 576 Parkway, Gatlinburg; 865-325-2400
5. Skylift Park
Gatlinburg’s famous Sky Bridge does it again going over the top for a themed holiday celebration! This year, SkyBridge lights up green every night during the month of March. More than 18,000 shimmering lights cover a 300 foot tunnel of green for 2021. There are even shamrocks hanging down below.
For 2021, St. Patrick’s Day’s real showstopper event takes place on Friday, March 19. The City of Gatlinburg offers a fireworks show at 10 p.m. Watch the fireworks from ABOVE when you book a ticket to Skylift Park. Tickets are limited, so snatch yours up by visiting their website.
Can’t make it to the event this year? No problem! Skylift Park always has a live feed on YouTube. Feel like you’re part of the celebration:
6. Shamrock’s Pub
Shamrock’s Pub in downtown Gatlinburg is the PLACE to be for St. Patrick’s Day. Shamrock’s is the only bar in Gatlinburg with live music and karaoke every night of the week as well.
St. Patrick’s Day is no exception to the music and karaoke and they’ll have live music all day long. Food and drink specials for St. Patrick’s Day are offered. Of course, don’t forget to wear your green! 💚🍀
Shamrock’s Pub hours: 11a-1a; 105 Reagan Drive, Gatlinburg; 865-412-1297
7. All of Downtown Gatlinburg!
For the first time, the City of Gatlinburg offers a family-friendly, fun-filled celebration for St. Patrick’s Day. Starting in 2021, downtown transforms with traditional music and green lights.
Smoky Mountains Tunes and Tales are back. They’re performing traditional Irish songs nightly from 5p-9p. Scottish bagpipe performer Kelly Shipe also performs nightly downtown.
Downtown businesses and restaurants are getting in on the fun as well. While some are only participating Wednesday for the holiday, many are participating all weekend. Find out more information from the City of Gatlinburg’s website.
Topping off the celebration – the fireworks show. Friday night at 10 p.m. the Gatlinburg Space Needle is the place to catch the show. Get there early!
Or do it all yourself – in your Irish traditions – in your American Patriot Getaways cabin.
Here are a few of my favorite Irish recipes to get you thinking:
Irish Whiskey Cake
I first had this cake when my friend Brendan asked me to make it one St. Patrick’s Day. His family is very Irish – on all sides – and his grandmother used to make this cake. I’m not sharing the Daly family recipe but something similar from The Washington Post, based on a recipe from Downey’s restaurant in Philadelphia. Give it a try! A Bundt pan is good for this cake The cake and the icing dripping down are a beauty to behold – and eat!
SERVINGS: 16 – 20
FOR THE CAKE
- One 18.5-ounce package yellow cake mix
- 8 ounces vanilla pudding mix
- 1/2 cup whole or low-fat milk
- 1/2 cup corn oil
- 1 cup Irish whiskey
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup (4 ounces) coarsely chopped black walnutFOR THE GLAZE
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup Irish whiskey
- 1 tablespoon water
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 10-inch tube pan, preferably nonstick, or bundt pan with nonstick cooking oil spray.
Combine the cake and pudding mixes in a small bowl.
Combine the milk, oil and whiskey in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on low speed until mixed well. Add the dry ingredients and beat until smooth, then add the beaten eggs in several additions until well combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes until slightly thickend. Turn off the motor and add the walnuts, stirring by hand. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 75 to 90 minutes, being careful not to let it get too brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool in the pan.
For the glaze: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar, whiskey and water, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Pour one-third of the glaze over the hot cake in the pan. Let cool on the wire rack for 1 hour, then remove from the pan and invert so the cake is upside down on a plate; pour one-third of the glaze over the cooled cake, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 days. On the fourth day, unwrap the cake, invert onto a second plate and pour half of the remaining glaze over the cake; recover tightly with plastic wrap; this process allows the glaze to flavor the cake evenly. On the next day, repeat the process, using the remaining glaze.
Corned Beef and Cabbage
I also made this one St. Patrick’s Day. Try Martha Stewart’s slow cooker version.
Prep:15 mins Total: 5 hrs 15 mins
- 2 celery stalks, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 3 carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 1 small yellow onion, cut into 1-inch wedges (root end left intact)
- 1/2 pound small potatoes, halved if large
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 1 corned beef brisket (about 3 pounds), plus pickling spice packet or 1 tablespoon pickling spice
- 1/2 head Savoy cabbage, cut into 1 1/2-inch wedges
- Grainy mustard, for serving
In a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker, place celery, carrots, onion, potatoes, and thyme. Place corned beef, fat side up, on top of vegetables and sprinkle with pickling spice; add enough water to almost cover meat (4 to 6 cups). Cover and cook on high until corned beef is tender, 4 1/4 hours (or 8 1/2 hours on low).
Arrange cabbage over corned beef, cover, and continue cooking until cabbage is tender, 45 minutes (or 1 1/2 hours on low). Thinly slice corned beef against the grain and serve with vegetables, cooking liquid, and grainy mustard.
Are you ready to plan your St. Patrick’s Day stay in the Great Smoky Mountains?
Let American Patriot Getaways help you plan the perfect getaway, close to all the green and gold action or secluded with your own traditions to enjoy.
Give American Patriot Getaways a call at 800-204-5169. Let our experts help you find the right cabin and all the right fun, food and entertainment for an adult or family vacation that will have you wanting to come back again and again.