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 Tuesday this year. It is a feast day celebrating St. Patrickpatron 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?

Our other great national drink Tea…!

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 Friday 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.

Live Music from The Blarney Girls begins at noon on Saturday on the Ole Smoky Stage along with Traditional Irish Step Dancers.

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.

If you wear green, you’ll receive 20% off play cards at Arcade City.

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.

The Island Fountain

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. Miss Lucky Liberty is a St. Patrick’s Day pageant benefiting U.S. veterans.

Contestants will compete in formal gown and St. Patty’s day themed Lucky Looks. 13 crowns will be awarded. There’s a $45 entry fee. The pageant will take place March 14 at noon at Creative Theatre, 125 Music Mountain Drive, Pigeon Forge, (865) 888-6311.

For more information, email seymourlibertyfest@gmail.com, or call (865) 824-7920.

4. St. Patrick’s Day Cookie Decorating Experience

The Wildflour Bakehouse in Sevierville will be decorating St. Patty’s Day themed cookies on Saturday, March 14 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Join in the fun for $20 per seat.  All supplies are included; you just need to bring your creativity. Space is limited so reserve your seat!

Owner Stephany Houston is a retired 911 operator (29 years!) She always loved baking and sharing my skills with others. “My Mother, Sandy and my identical twin sister Tiffany Eigenmann can be seen in the bakery almost daily as well as my husband John, nephews Spencer, Ben or RC and my son Gabriel and his sweet fiancée Gabby,” Stephany says on her Website.

The Wildflour Bakehouse is located at 240 Forks of the River Pkwy, Sevierville, (865) 365-1295.

5. JellyStone Park in Pigeon Forge is celebrating St. Patrick’s Week at Yogi Bear’s Camp Resort.

Starting Friday, March 13, there are events planned every day – from fishing with Yogi himself to family movies and late movies, Shamrock cornhole, ceramics and more.

JellyStone Park lets you bring your RV, rent an RV or tent camp. The park is located at 3404 Whaley Dr., Pigeon Forge, (865) 280 1851.

6. St. Patrick’s Day at Junction 35 Spirits

With $5 Green Cocktails, Corned Beef & Cabbage and live music starting at 6 p.m.

7. Barley’s St. Patrick’s Day 5K &1.7K

Put on your green, your shamrocks and silliest St. Patrick’s representation and run Barley’s St Patrick’s Day 5k and 1.7K in Knoxville. The 8th running of this race will be Sunday, March 15.

Proceeds go toward fighting neuroblastoma – a rare form of childhood cancer that is often found in the adrenal glands.

Kids, pets and spirit costumes are welcome – there’s even a prize for the best spirit costume. The race starts at 200 E. Jackson Ave, Knoxville – about 27 mile from Pigeon Forge. Get more details and sign up here.

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

INGREDIENTS

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
DIRECTIONS:
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

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

Instructions Checklist

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?

Lake Life - a rental cabin on Douglas Lake

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.

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