Savannah, GA, which plays host to the second largest St Patrick’s Day celebration in the United States, knows how to put on a show that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the globe year after year as ladies shake their shamrocks and gentlemen drink green beer. Tourists have often been heard saying “Savannah, during St Patrick’s Day, is a once in a life time experience” while the local Savannahians nonchalantly say “St Patrick’s is just a 190 year tradition”. Even respected movie producer and actor, Armando Gutierrez, took a day off from filming his latest movie, A Little Mermaid, to enjoy the festivities in Savannah and, of course, at Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub.
Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub, which is nestled along Savannah’s historic waterfront, was no different than its counterparts from around the world getting ready for the celebration as extra staff were brought in, Irish fare was prepared, and the “bar ranneth over” with enough Irish beer and Irish whiskey to sustain members from the Irish Defense forces and Irish Prison Services for at least a week. Public Relations manager, Tara Reese, did several interviews with local television, radio, and printed publications discussing preparations as well as what makes Savannah’s St Patrick’s Day a top destination for all who are (or claim to be) Irish. Tara also represented Kevin Barry’s on CMT’s Southbound with Allison DeMarcus which will air in May 2016.
While the staff at the pub enjoy the fast pace of the holiday, as well as seeing the same faces that make the yearly homage to partake in the festivities, St Patrick’s Day was not what made March 2016 special. St Patrick’s Day was merely just a small part within a calendar month packed full of special events honoring the Irish tradition.
On Thursday, March 3rd 2016, the pub was honored to have Tim Herlihy, the US Brand Ambassador for Tullamore Dew, stop in on his “50 Great Irish Pubs in 30 Days Tour”. Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub was the only Irish Pub in the state of Georgia to officially host this amazing event. Before arriving Tim had been quoted saying “(he) was on a mission to find out why Savannah, compared to New York, Boston, and Chicago, hosted one of the biggest St Patrick’s celebrations in the United States”. After speaking to Tara, it’s safe to say, Mr. Herlihy was blown away by the Irish history and impact the Irish had in building the beautiful city of Savannah. It also became clear why St Patrick’s Day put Savannah on the map.
What do you get when you take a pinch of celebrity chef, Paula Deen; a dash of Irish folk singer, Harry O’Donoghue; and a splash of Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub owner, Vic Power? You get a delicious recipe for shenanigans! Best known for her cooking show on the Food Network and her performance on Dancing with the Stars, Savannah’s own Paula Deen, invited Harry and Vic over for a chat to discuss the celebrations surrounding St Patrick’s Day. The craic was mighty on March 5, 2016 and March 12, 2016, as viewers from around the world watched the banter between Paula and Harry, and Paula and Vic.
As St Patrick’s Day came and went, Kevin Barry’s prepared for Easter Monday and the centennial anniversary of the Easter Rising. Harry O’Donoghue from Drogheda; Brendan Nolan from Dublin; Fran Doyle also from Dublin, Carroll Brown from Charleston, JJ Smith from Aberdeen, and the Savannah Ceili band shared the stage with two special guests… Irish singing legend Danny Doyle who hails originally from Dublin and held the #1 spot on the Irish Charts for 10 weeks in 1968 with his cover of the Glyn Hughs song “Whiskey on a Sunday” as well as Cahir O’Doherty from Dublin who has shared the stage with names such as The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, and Van Morrison. Patrons filled the invitation only event as these world renowned troubadours performed a 2 1⁄2 hour long show entitled, Songs of the Risen People. Troubadours gave the history of Ireland to customers who have celebrated the Irish tradition at Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub for more than 35 years. At the conclusion of the evening, musicians and guests alike, burst with Irish pride, and more than a few tears fell, as Danny Dolye led the room singing A Nation Once Again.