A Whale of a Time

You don’t have to travel far, less than an hour, for an authentic St. Patrick’s Day celebration. As luck would have it, I drove through Ireland, Ind., last weekend on my way to and from the Age Group Divisional Swim Meet at Jasper High School with my husband and saw the town of 600 decked out for it annual festival. With the opening of Interstate-69 two years ago in Southern Indiana, travel to Ireland and Jasper is much easier. Just hop on I-69 and exit onto Indiana 56 toward Jasper.

Ireland is an unincorporated town in Dubois County. It first was named American City, but changed to Ireland when its residents discovered there was already a town with that name. Its first residents in 1816 were mostly Irish. Just four miles from Jasper, you’ll know you’ve arrived at your destination when the painted green water tower is in sight.

Ireland’s first St. Patrick’s Day celebration was held in 1982; it was discontinued in 2002 and established again in 2009 with two full weekends of events. Residents participate in a home lighting contest, festival goers enjoy a barbecue contest, Toast to the O’Blarney Drop Mug Holding contest, an Irish Road Rally, Miss Shamrock competition (held last weekend so Miss Shamrock and her court can reign over the festival), the St. Paddy Whack (a rock/paper/scissors contest, held last weekend), an Irish dance, a parade, mass with Irish music, and of course Irish food. The town’s popular restaurants, the Shamrock Café (established in 1940) and The Chicken Place are the hub of the celebration. During the festival, the Shamrock offers corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, green bread, and green beer. The Chicken Place attracts “road food” seekers year-round, who return for, of course, their perfectly fried chicken.

Previous article
Next article

Related Articles

Latest Articles