St Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival by the Singapore River

St Patrick’s day has evolved from a religious holiday to what it is today. Join in on the fun at Boat Quay and help the Irish celebrate with dance, drink, and food!

St Patricks day festival (from PR) Singapore 3

It’s odd how St Patrick’s Day, a holiday which strongly symbolises the Irish and their culture, honours a man who isn’t Irish at all! St Patrick was from Roman Britain, the areas of Britain ruled by the Roman Empire.

Through a series of life changing events, Patrick’s grand destiny was to convert pagan Celts to Catholicism during the 5th century. For his effort in banishing paganism from Ireland, Patrick was granted Sainthood, and every March 17th honours his deeds.


Where Did the Snakes Go?

Although St Patrick was attributed with casting snakes from Ireland, the reality is Ireland never had snakes. The verdant isolated island, called Ireland, was surrounded by waters either too frigid or too far for any slithering types to traverse. The myth is symbolic for banishing paganism from Ireland.

Clovers Aren’t Just for Decorations

The iconic green three-leaf clover motif commonly used as decorations was also used by St Patrick back in the day. Although the meaning may be lost to most people today, St Patrick used the three leaves of the clover to represent their Holy Trinity – God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

Not So Lucky Leprechauns

Leprechauns, for some reason, also appear frequently during St Patrick’s Day. These green little folklore fairies have nothing to do with the Saint, though they remain symbolic of Ireland’s mythological (read pagan) past. Weren’t they supposed to be banished?


Join the Parade

Traditionally, St Patrick’s Day was a minor religious (read sober) day ending with a big meal. With a bit of American influence, the holiday was supersized. Today, it has become a festival for celebrating Irish dance, music, beer drinking, and wearing gaudy green clothes by many around the world. And Singapore is no exception.

For a decade, Boat Quay has been the venue for Singapore’s St Patrick’s Day Street Festival honouring the patron Saint of Ireland! This year, the parade will begin in front of The Arts House and end at the UOB Plaza on Sunday 15th March.

This year, the parade will begin in front of The Arts House and end at the UOB Plaza on Sunday 15th March.

Participants will include the Singapore Pipe Band Association, The Irish Chamber of Commerce, Down Syndrome Association, St. Patrick’s Society, The Irish Graduates Association, Gaelic Dragons Dragon Boat Team, USA Girl Scouts Overseas (Singapore) and the SJI International School & Samba Band.

St Patrick’s Day Festivities

Join the festivities along Boat Quay on 13 -15 March and enjoy Irish music, cultural performances, Irish food and various fringe activities for the whole family. And don’t miss the numerous pubs and restaurants participating with promotions on Irish themed food and drink along the Boat Quay area. Here are some highlights.

Irish Flavours during the Festivities

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Even the French bistro, O Comptoir, on the corner of Circular Road, will join in on the fun with their stylish crepe emblazoned with a green sugar coated three clover called the St Patrick Crepe for $6. (79 Circular Road, Tel: 6534 7645)


St Patricks day festival food Singapore 5St Patricks day festival food Singapore 2

Down the Road, at Hero’s Bar, indulge yourself and friends at one of their tables which comes with two fully functional draft beer taps! But book early to get on these rare tables. They will also be serving The Paddy’s, a sandwich made from thinly-sliced corned beef with Irish Cheddar with a side of fries for $12. Who knew that brined and boiled beef briskets, aka “corned beef”, was an Irish dish. (69 Circular Road, Tel: 6438 6058)


St Patricks day festival food Singapore 1

Molly Malone’s will be serving their famed Guinness battered Fish and Chips for $10, and add a glass of Guinness for $7 more. Or go for their Mussel Fritters served with lime mayo paired with Jameson’s Irish Whisky for $17. (56 Circular Road, Tel: 6536 2029)

St Patricks day festival food Singapore 4

Facing the river on Boat Quay, have a pint of Red Dot Brewhouse’s signature Monster Green Lager. It’s a strangely beautiful looking beer brewed naturally from green spirulina to give it the iridescent green colour. A pint plus the Spring Irish Lamb Stew is $38++. (33/34 Boat Quay, Tel: 6535 4500)

The street will be filled with music, girls will be jigging, and beers will be flowing. So go dressed in green, and be Irish for a day! Cheers.


By Frank Young

St Patrick’s Day Street Festival 2015, 13-15 March, Circular Road and Boat Quay area

St Patrick’s Day Parade 2015, 15th March, 3:30pm, Raffles Landing Site




Comments (14)

  1. It is not a three leaf CLOVER it is called SHAMROCK which is smaller than CLOVER and does not grow anywhere else but Ireland.
    I have brought the seeds back from Ireland to Singapore and have been unsuccessful growing this.
    I am a keen gardener and took very good care of the seeds in a pot but had no joy.
    The fact that there where no snakes in Ireland is true but the snakes are referred to the Devil worship and paganism as the Devil is always symbolized as a Serpent.

    1. Thanks for the input. According to some sources, the definition varies.
      “The shamrock refers to the young sprigs of clover or trefoil. It is known as a symbol of Ireland, with St. Patrick having used it as a metaphor for the Christian Trinity, according to legend. The name shamrock is derived from Irish seamróg, which is the diminutive version of the Irish word for clover (seamair) meaning simply “little clover” or “young clover””

    2. Interesting. We used to have flower beds full of them at St Patrick’s School along East Coast Road.

      I’m not sure if they still there, though.

  2. Though this festival is recently brought in my country, it’s not a part of our history nor culture to celebrate this festival.

    1. Good one, Kannan. Makes you wonder if *OUR* very own cultures are even **celebrated** in a big way by the Irish in Ireland itself. Never mind elsewhere in the *superior* West.

      1. Well, Chinese culture lives in many Chinatowns around the world. And CNY is often celebrated in those cities.
        Singapore is still a young culture. And small one as well.
        But we have started “Singapore Day” in other cities. It’s still early days and it will take some time to become as big as the others.
        We’ve got patience.

  3. Hi there,

    You mentioned Irish Dancing would be part of the Parade and celebrations but there’s no mention of the name of the group that will be performing. The group is called The Irish Inspirational Dancers and there will be close to 100 dancers performing on both Saturday and Sunday.

    Many thanks

  4. Hi, I’m not sure what the good folk of Brittany will think on reading that their region was part of Britain. Brittany was part of what the Romans called Amorica in northern France(Gaul). Most historians think that St Patrick was from Cumbria in Northern England, captured by pirates aged 16 and taken as a slave to Ireland.

  5. I’ve just moved to Singapore and I didn’t quite realise the resentment towards people from Western cultures which are apparent in a few of the comments here.

    I’m from Australia – Chinese new year celebrations occur in every city in Australia and I would say in many cities across the US, England, Scotland and Ireland where there are Chinese populations. Halloween is not Australian, English, Scottish or Irish but is also celebrated by some even though it has no historical relevance to those countries.

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