26 Jan 2023
Savannah offers one of the best St. Patrick’s Day celebrations this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Tens of thousands of visitors activities that paint the town green throughout the month. It’s the country’s second-largest St. Paddy’s celebration, and the largest in the South.
Events start early with the March of Dimes Shamrock Run on March 3, an annual St. Patrick’s themed race in downtown Savannah.
The Greening of the Fountain in Forsyth Park takes place at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 10, and the water flows green throughout the celebration. The fountain is one of the most iconic landmarks in Savannah.
On the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day, March 12, the Celtic Cross Mass and Procession take place at Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, honoring the Irish immigrants who settled in Savannah. The procession takes place through the Old Fort area of the city ending at Emmett Park for a ceremony and laying of the wreath at a monument that honors those Irish immigrants.
The Sgt. William Jasper Green Parade takes place the day before St. Patrick’s Day at Madison Square to honor military. The parade begins at 4 p.m. at Johnson Square followed by a ceremony at Madison Square, where a monument honors Jasper and the men in the Irish Jasper Greens, a Savannah military unit named in his honor in 1842.
The Big Day, Friday, March 17, starts with the Feast Day Mass of St. Patrick, also at Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist. Then, residents and visitors crowd the streets, dressed in their finest green for the main event as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade winds through downtown squares. The parade starts at 10:15 a.m. at the intersection of Abercorn and Gwinnett and ends at Bull and Liberty.
And how did Savannah come to have such a large Irish celebration? Irish began arriving in Savannah in 1734, and at least nine of the first Georgia colonists granted land were Irish. But the real rush began in the 1830s and 40s, when Georgia’s growth brought a large influx of Irishmen to build canals and railroads. When the potato famine began in 1845, more Irish workers came. They settled in neighborhoods like Frogtown, Yamacraw and Old Fort.
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