What the Irish pubs are doing

Beckett's Irish Bar and Restaurant, a beacon for Irish abroad since first opening its doors in 1994, is now six years in its new home on Liszt Ferenc tér 11. Its namesake, Samuel Beckett, is probably best known for his contribution to the Theatre of the Absurd, "Waiting for Godot". And I'm sure many have had Godot-like moments in this establishment. With a nod from the playwright himself who advised the world to "Dance first. Think later. It's the natural order", Beckett's has quite the line-up, with U2 tribute band INKA-H at 8pm on Friday the 13th; a Six Nations rugby feast on the 14th (coronavirus permitting) and then Sunday, they're offering a Hangover Sunday Bloody Mary Breakfast Special with live music that night by John Murphy. On Tuesday, the day itself, there'll be an all-day party.

Davy Byrne's Irish Pub is having its first St Patrick's Day in Budapest. Those with a literary bent might remember James Joyce mentioning the Dublin Davy Byrne's in both "The Dubliners" and "Ulysses". For many years, the Duke Street pub attracted some of the greats of Irish writing – Brendan Behan, Patrick Cavanagh, Myles na gCopaleen. It was known to serve Michael Collins and host meetings of the outlawed Irish government back in the day. The Budapest Davy Byrne's (Jókai utca 4) is on track to making its own history. It has live music Saturday night after the rugby and on Sunday, 15th March, there's a comedy night headlined by Irish comedian Brian Gallagher supported by Joe Dowlin and James Rankin. Start time 7.15pm. On the day itself, there's live music from 7pm. On the 18th, a St Patrick's Day-themed quiz night will challenge those with a still-functioning brain. Paddy McMullen will be back with more music on the 22nd after the parade.

Jack Doyle's Irish Pub and Restaurant recently celebrated 10 years in the city where it has carved a niche for itself on the tourist trail with many tourists and pub alumni coming back year on year. The original Jack Doyle had quite the resumé. The Corkman was a boxer, a singer, an actor, a lover and a drinker. He was a name amongst names. He came to blows with Clark Gable over actress Carole Lombard, and his ex-wife Movita Castaneda would go on to marry Marlon Brando. Noted for saying "A generous man never went to hell", Doyle would have found no shortage of people to listen to his stories in Jack Doyle's Budapest. JD's has a full calendar with live music from 22:30 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and from 20:00 on Tuesday, the 17th. It, too, will be showing the Six Nations matches on the 14th, if they're played. Located on the pedestrian street Pilvax köz 1-3, it's best to use the street address of Varoshaz utca 10 if you're in a taxi.


More to the day than drinking

If, over the week, you find yourself craving a full Irish breakfast but can't face the thought of going anywhere near a pint, check out ÍRish Budapest on Kiss János altábornagy 54. This family-run café/restaurant caters for vegan, coeliac and all other tastes. With Irish soda bread a firm fixture on the menu, this new venture has quickly gained a reputation for serving up the ould rashers and sausages with a side of Irish banter.

If you're planning on making your own breakfast and but don't want the hassle of baking yourself, get your Irish soda bread and scones from Áran Bakery on Wesselényi utca 23. They taste as if they've come from an Irish mammy's kitchen. Tesco stocks Kerrygold butter and Lidl does an Irish country butter that passes muster, so you'll be set.


The glam side of the festivities

With the day itself done and dusted, celebrations will continue on Saturday, 21st March, with the St Patrick's Day Gala Dinner at the Marriott Hotel hosted by the Irish Hungarian Business Circle and sponsored by Pannonia Bio. This annual black-tie event is a fixture on the Budapest social calendar and a great excuse to get dolled up. An evening filled with fine food, live traditional music, entertainment and dancing, this year it features the Tóth-Mayo Duo, Kearney's Dogs and DJ Woods. In aid of the Irish-Hungarian Business Circle Charitable Foundation, proceeds will support local communities in Budapest and all over Hungary. To reserve a ticket, email events@ihbc.hu


And the festival begins

Sunday, March 22, is the day many people are waiting for: the 10th annual St Patrick's Day Parade. This year the call to gather is for 13:00 at Erzsébet tér. The parade will depart at 15:00 headed by a band of pipers. With thousands expected to join the festivities, it'll take about an hour to wend its way through the streets of Budapest. This is a free event for the whole family.

The Festival After-Party will take place at Akvárium Klub from 16:00 with all the ceol, damhsa, bia, deoch, agus craic you can manage. Yes, music, dancing, food, drink and fun are the order of the day. Tickets are available now from the venue. HUF 1800 in advance or HUF 2500 on the day. The first 500 tickets get a free Guinness hat or T-shirt.

When the Normans invaded Ireland in 1066, they settled so well that they were described as Níos Gaelaí ná na Gaeil féin (more Irish than the Irish themselves). Over the last ten years, more and more Hungarians and people from all over the world have been joining the annual celebrations in Budapest. This year is set to see a record turnout, so get your green on and be Irish for the day... or the week.

Lá ‘le Pádraig sona daoibh. Happy St Patrick's Day.


Mary Murphy is a freelance writer and public speaker who likes her bread well buttered. Read more at www.unpackingmybottomdrawer.com | www.anyexcusetotravel.com | www.dyingtogetin.com


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