Normally this time of year is when the bars of the West End begin decorating their venues with Irish Flags and Shamrocks for their St Patrick’s Day parties, but this year the bars will be closed as we stay at home to stop the spread of Coronavirus.
One party that will be particularly missed this year will be Jinty McGuinty’s Irish Bar’s annual celebration on Ashton Lane.
Jinty McGuinty’s have been celebrating Irish culture for nearly 30 years since they opened their traditional pub on Ashton Lane in July 1991.
They first celebrated St Patrick’s day in 1992, which means that this year would have been their 30th year celebrating the event. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions on hospitality venues, they will not be able to welcome patrons to the pub to celebrate this year but they will be holding a virtual event.
The event will kick off on the 17th of March at 6pm from their Facebook page with live performances with performances from regular Jinty McGuinty’s musicians such as Declan Hegarty, Eddie Sheehan, Alex Wayt and more!
We spoke to bar manager Caroline Wright who took us on a trip down memory lane and told us about some of her favourite things about working at the West End’s biggest St. Paddy’s Day party.
Caroline told us that St Patrick’s Day is a ‘monumental day for them in the calendar. She said: ”People from all over join in our celebrations including students studying in Glasgow from all around the world. Quite a few of our patrons organise a day’s holiday leave or even two to join in the fun.”
As always at Jinty McGuinty’s, fantastic live music is a big part of the day. Caroline said: “Every year we play live music from midday until the bar closes. These musicians play all year round in house and on this day are slotted in hourly sessions.”
They also give away freebies to get people into the party spirit. Caroline explained “Mid-afternoon we serve free oysters and throughout the 12-hour period we give away branded t-shirts, hats, pens and items other saved over the year. The Guinness hats always a winner thanks to Diageo who give us a good supply.”
The fun doesn’t stop there, Caroline continued “A photo booth is hired and situated in the beer garden which has all the props for people to wear. The customers just love to get in on the action, getting their pictures taken. We have face painters too, which there are always queues for and some patrons have their own unique ideas of what they would like to have painted. Our Irish dancers perform in Lane, which is always a great hit, especially with people visiting from afar.”
St Patrick’s Day is a special day to Caroline and the team at Jinty McGuinty’s. She explained “The atmosphere of St Patrick’s Day has always been special to me. The people truly make it for this event. It’s a day full of joy, happiness, laughter and fun. The staff work very hard – they know what to expect and never fail us. In all of these years, I have never been disappointed with what is a truly feel-good day.”
In absence of their usual St Paddy’s day party in the pub, Caroline is looking forward to joining the live stream. She said “Please come and join in, dress up and sing along. I will be at the ready with few glasses of vino, nibbles and probably a microwave dinner. Hopefully, by August or September, we will be able to re-open and look forward to returning to some normality. As we say – ‘Céad míle fáilte, Go dti sin.’”