How to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day on Oahu

Aerial of Tropical rainforest, Hawaii
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You'd think that one of the last places that you'd find a big St. Patrick's Day celebration would be in Hawaii, but that's simply not the case.

The islands of Hawaii have a long history of prominent citizens of Irish birth or Irish descent. Many of the first arrived on the numerous British sailing ships which arrived in the islands in the years following the first arrival by Captain James Cook in 1778.

One of the most prominent was James Campbell who was born in Londonderry and who, following his arrival in Hawaii in 1849, married a Maui chiefess and who became of the largest landowners in the islands. Today, the James Campbell Company which succeeded the 107-year old estate of James Campbell in 2007, remains one of the largest real estate investment management and property development companies in Hawaii.

On the island of Oahu there are some great ways to celebrate the Irish traditions of Hawaii as both a resident and a visitor.

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Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade

The 51st Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, sponsored by the Friends of St. Patrick, Hawaii will take place on St. Patrick's Day from noon to approximately 1:30 p.m. The parade takes place on Kalakaua Avenue, the main street through Waikiki. The parade will proceed from Fort DeRussy to Kapiolani Park. Every year is different, but the parade typically has about 800 marchers, 50 vehicles, 2 floats, and 5 bands.

Following the parade, the traditional post-parade party is typically held from 1:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Kelly O'Neils at 311 Lewers Street in Waikiki. In addition to the food, drink, and Irish music, there is a sale of St. Patrick's Day memorabilia to help raise funds for the Friends of St. Patrick, which awards more than $12,000 in annual scholarships.

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Murphy's Bar and Grill

Located at 2 Merchant Street in Honolulu, Murphy's Bar and Grill has historically played host to the island's largest St. Patrick's Day celebration. In fact, it has gotten so large over the years that it has become a full-blown block party which the brewers of Guinness have called "the single biggest St. Patrick's Day party any one bar throws in the United States."

The annual St. Patrick's Day celebration starts at 11:00 a.m. on March 17 with great Irish fare, drinks, and a "keiki fair" with face painting, balloons, crafts, and story telling. As has become their tradition, for every pound of corned beef sold, $2.00 is donated to the Hawaii Children's Cancer Foundation. Don't miss out on the dessert booth, featuring delicious homemade treats such as Irish whiskey cake, Bailey's cheesecake, and key lime pie.

The big part of the day begins at 4:00 p.m. when Murphy's closes down Merchant Street from Nu'uanu Avenue to Bethel Street; Nu'uanu Avenue from King Street to the Nimitz Highway; and Marin Lane from Smith Street to Nu'uanu Avenue. Live performers hit up the street stage, and Murphy's brings out even more kegs of beer, spirits, and traditional Irish food.

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Annual St. Patrick's Day 5K Run at Ford Island

The annual 5K is usually held on the Friday before St. Patrick's Day.

The event starts across from the Navy Lodge in Ford Island. The run begins promptly at 7:00 a.m. Arrive early to get your packet. Parking attendants will be on site to help you. 

Come ready to run but don't forget that you can make the run more interesting by wearing costumes or St. Patrick's Day colors. Awards are presented for top finishers.

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