St. Patrick’s Day in Charlestown is a day where the best of the Town comes out and the large Irish American population celebrates to the fullest – and most of the time that means raising a pint of Guinness at the Warren Tavern, which hosts a large St. Pat’s Party every year.
Last year, however, rosy cheeks had turned to worried looks, and the doors of the Tavern on St. Patrick’s Day – like the rest of the city – were closed and the City was just delving into the first weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Those sad times one year ago will hopefully be replaced this year with a modified and moderate celebration at the Tavern where there can still be a toast to the old sod from the table – but not the usual singing, dancing and cavorting around the dining room.
“We are thrilled to have something, but we are working with the hand we’ve been dealt,” said Kim Mahony, of the Warren Tavern. “We’re going to have corned beef, Irish music playing and Guinness flowing and everyone being seated and following the mandates and protocols. I think we can accept that. I certainly know our patrons have been wonderful at following the rules…As long as everyone stays seated and follows the rules, we’re going to have a good time.”
Mahoney added that there will be a recorded broadcast of Irish step dancing from the Goulding School in Medford, and they will play that throughout the week. The kick off to St. Patrick’s Day will take place on Sunday, with the actual day on Wednesday, March 17.
It is in stark contrast to the cancellation altogether of St. Patrick’s Day last year. Mahoney said instead of joy and laughter, the Tavern was closed and people were worried.
“It was sad,” she said. “The last day we were open was the day that would have been the South Boston parade – the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a day I’ll never forget. It was eerie. The bars in South Boston were shut down. We as a staff started to think about how we would be safe and our customers too. Without having St. Patrick’s Day, it was a huge loss. It’s one of the biggest times for the Tavern. There was just nothing right about it. St. Patrick’s Day at the Warren Tavern is a day Charlestown shines.”
She said the annual mixture of long-time residents, and new residents learning of the deep Irish culture in the Town, have made it a special time of year. With all of that gone for a year, it was a huge void that they hope to fill with caution this year.
“We’re going to try to get some remnant of that back this year,” she said. “At least we can be together this year and celebrate the best we can.”