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03/17/2014 01:53 pm ET Updated May 17, 2014

Where Are Some Great Places to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day?

This question originally appeared on Quora.
2014-03-17-dohuigin.jpeg
Answer by Domhnall O'Huigin,

Well Dublin obviously - the "patient zero" of the whole phenomenon ... We always have a parade, which used to be for the kids, then was taken over by unsavory elements, but now is for the kids again.

O'Connell Street - our main thoroughfare - during the parade. Image: Irish Independent

It is a great day out, not least because so many people come here to celebrate the day and almost everyone* is in a good mood, so it's a great day for meeting people from other cultures or backgrounds and getting soused with them.

Next up I'd ordinarily say New York City, because my childhood memories of the parade there were awesome - it really is huge and gets a massive turnout. The 2013 parade featured "more than 150,000 participants marching in the parade and more than 2 million spectators lining the streets of 5th Avenue." [1], for example.

Image: New York City's Saint Patrick's Day Parade

There's also lots of associated fun and games, such as the Craic Festival that takes place around the same time.

Why I'm not telling you to book your travel right now is that they won't allow gay people to march. They can do this because, and I find this slightly ridiculous, the St.Patrick's Day parade, the one with the 150k participants and the 2 million spectators - that one - is a private event, controlled by a group called the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

I'll have to try to paraphrase what I remember of their position here since:

They've never heard of the controversy.

So as far as I remember: they, being a conservative Christian organisation, don't themselves recognize the human rights of LGBTQ people but they have no problem at all with people of the other orientations marching, provided they make no statements, carry no placards and the like.

Also the Constitution:

The complications are familiar to federal courts.

When police and firefighters march in uniform they march with the aura of power and authority the uniform confers.

First, consider the First Amendment rights of St. Patrick's Day parade organizers to exclude LGBTQ groups, or others with whom they don't wish to associate. In 1995, in Hurley v Irish American Gay Lesbian Bi-Sexual Group, a unanimous Supreme Court upheld the exclusion of a gay and lesbian group from the Boston parade, overturning a state court decision that ordered the group's inclusion, under a state anti-discrimination law. Justice Souter's opinion in Hurley confirmed what was constitutionally obvious--that a parade is "a form of expression," as the Court had previous recognized in cases involved protest marches.[2].

Anyway, NYC's mayor isn't going, because LGBTI people are excluded, but our Taoiseach is, because he's a fecking gobshite.

For me, personally, it isn't a complex or hard choice, but equally the United States Constitution isn't a document to disregard lightly and from a child's more innocent perspective all those years ago, the parade is a blast.

And then to my wildcard suggestion: Montserrat.

It's in the Caribbean, March 17th is an official, public holiday there (just like in Ireland), it's full of people of Irish descent [3] and it looks like serious fun:

Image: Montserrat celebrates St. Patrick's Day with a colourful parade and feast

And they - as might be expected - also have a festival, with a full roster of events for 2014: Montserrat Tourist Board. In addition to all the shamrockery, Montserrat has an active volcano (which erupted in 1995) and offers all the 'usual' Carribbean attractions, such as sparkling blue sea, wonderful weather, amazing ecosystems and the like. We in Ireland can promise you torrential rain and Arctic gales, but we are closer for half of the globe so you know, you pays your money and you takes your chances.

If I had the money, I'd personally be in Montserrat, if the Ancient Order of Hibernians weren't bigoted twits, I'd be in NYC, but since neither of those conditions apply, I'll be in Dublin myself for 2014.

Lá fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh!

(Happy St.Patrick's Day to [all of] you[pl.]!)

* hey, some people have to work, who do you think serves you your Guinness?

[1] New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade

[2] Should 'New York's Finest' March on Saint Patrick's Day, If Gays Can't?

[3] Montserrat History.

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