Fun at the Ottawa Irish Festival

Are you Irish right to your very roots or Irish in your heart? No matter. It’s St. Patrick’s Month in Ottawa and a fine time, indeed, to celebrate and to introduce your family to Irish culture and traditions. (While green milkshakes and green beer are optional, a sense of humour certainly comes in handy.)

Here’s a look at what’s happening for the 2013 Ottawa Irish Festival, courtesy of the Irish Society of the National Capital Region. The lineup for March 7 to 17 includes everything from a parade to a mock Irish wake.

Thursday, March 7: The official proclamation of Ottawa Festival Days is slated for 10 a.m. at Ottawa Police Service headquarters, 474 Elgin Street at Catherine Street. All are welcome.

Friday, March 8: The Erin Luncheon and Auction runs from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Home, 2865 Riverside Drive. There’s a free shuttle bus service between the parking lot (across the street in the Terry Fox facility) and St. Patrick’s. Tickets, $45, are available from reception at St. Patrick’s or by calling 613 260-2738.

Saturday March 9: Enjoy a fun day of learning the Irish language at Blessed Sacrament Church Hall, 194 Fourth Avenue. Slated for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the day is organized by the Ottawa Irish Language Group, Caint is Comhrá. No experience is necessary and cost is $25, including lunch and snacks. For details, contact
Saturday, March 9: Cosy Homesteads: The Life and Lore of Traditional Irish Dwellings is presented by Dr Rhona Richman Kenneally, editor of the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies. The free lecture takes place in the main floor auditorium at Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Saturday, March 9: The seventh annual St. Patrick Celebration starts at 6 p.m. at Our Lady of Fatima parish hall, 153 Woodroffe Avenue. There’s live Irish entertainment and tickets, $15, include Irish stew, soda bread, buns, tea, coffee and dessert. Call 613 726-7583 for details.
Sunday, March 10: There’s a pancake breakfast from 10 a.m. to noon at St. Brigid’s Centre (Kildare Room), 310 St. Patrick Street at Cumberland Street. Besides the food, there’ll be live entertainment. Cost is $5 for adults and $3 for kids. For details, contact Ann at 613 225-1830 or email

Wednesday, March 13: There’s a Irish Wake to honour the “passing” of 2012 Honourary St. Patrick’s Parade Marshall Bill Brown. It starts at the Heart and Crown Snug Pub, 67 Clarence Street, in the Byward Market at 5 p.m. and continues with a procession of mourners, led by a horse-drawn hearse, around Market Square, returning to the Heart and Crown Mother McGintey’s. The procession is followed by everything from the reading of the will to dancing on the coffin. Tickets, $35, are available at the Heart and Crown or by calling 613 237-0665.

Saturday March 16: The Ottawa St. Patrick’s Day Run starts from Immaculata High School, at 140 Main Street. The 10K starts at 9 a.m., the 5K starts at 9:15 and the 1K family fun run starts at 9:30 a.m. The event is sponsored by Ottawa Irish Rugby Club and Running Room. Check for details.

Saturday March 16: The 31st St. Patrick’s Parade and Grand Irish Party starts at 11 a.m. from the intersection of Laurier Avenue West and Elgin Street. The parade will proceed on Laurier Avenue West, turn right on Bank Street, then left on Wellington Street and continue west on Wellington to an area near the Library and Archives Canada building, arriving there at about noon. Ottawa Food Bank volunteers will be collecting non-perishable food items and cash along the parade route. The 2013 Irish Society Parade Grand Marshall is Seán Murray. Following the parade, the Grand Irish Party will take place at St. Brigid’s Centre (at the intersection of Cumberland and St. Patrick’s Streets), home of the National Irish Canadian Cultural Centre. The party will run from noon to 4 p.m. with food and beverage service provided by St. Brigid’s.

Saturday March 16: The St. Patrick’s Day Dinner and Ceílí start at 6 p.m. at Blessed Sacrament Parish Hall, 194 Fourth Avenue in the Glebe. Sponsored by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the event features a three-course dinner followed by live entertainment and a dance. Tickets are $38.08. For details, call Chris at 613 722-3620 or check

Sunday March 17: Enjoy live entertainment, song and dance at the St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon. It’s taking place from noon to 3 p.m. at St. Brigid’s Centre. Master of Ceremonies is Kurt Stoodley. Since there’s limited seating, tickets, $35, will be sold in advance. Call 613 224-7373 or 613 222-0710 for tickets.


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