Going Green in Valley Forge: St. Patrick's Day 2010
Bagpipers, dancers, and leprechauns celebrate the
Patron Saint of Ireland at area pubs

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. Regardless of their true heritage, it seems nearly everyone claims to be Irish on St. Patrick's Day. And, as the luck o' the Irish would have it, Valley Forge and Montgomery County offer numerous opportunities for celebrating Ireland's rich heritage and its best-known immigrant, Patrick. So grab your green hat and shillelagh, get your Irish on and make a wee journey to these happening pubs in the Valley Forge area on March 17. And remember that, oddly enough, you'll be celebrating "himself's" death, not birth.

If you're looking to start the celebration early, Molly's Maguire's, in Phoenixville, opens at 8 a.m. and offers a traditional Irish breakfast that includes eggs, rashers, sautéed mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, white pudding, baked beans, and toast. Other Irish fare such as Irish stew, braised corned beef and cabbage will be served up throughout the day. The band line-up includes The Brigade, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Celtic Spirit, from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Funzaluv, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Strolling bagpipers and traditional line dancers will perform throughout the day, along with Molly's own leprechaun.

The oldest pub in the Philly suburbs (ca. 1743), Brittingham's Irish Pub and Restaurant, in Lafayette Hill, knows how to get the party started. Arrive when it opens at 9 a.m. to enjoy free donuts, bagels and soft pretzels and listen to a unique blend of Irish music and fun by Oliver McElhone, of Bellagy, County Derry, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. He'll be followed by Jamison, a Philadelphia Irish band, at 2:30 p.m. and then by Paddy's Well quintet. In addition to Irish fare, fresh seafood and pasta specials will be offered.

The Shanachie Irish Pub and Restaurant will share Old World tales in song all day, starting at 9:30 a.m. Hailed as the area's best Irish Pub by myfoxphilly.com, this Ambler favorite was established by County Tyrone native Gerry Timlin, an international Irish and folk music award-winner. His Timlin and Kane band will play along with Owen McGirr and Bill Alberts, making for a highlight of any St. Patrick's Day pub crawl.

Bold partygoers can brave the mid-March elements on the patio of Kildare's Irish Pub, in King of Prussia, starting at 10 a.m. Colcannon soup, Guinness glazed wings and sautéed salmon with Jameson glaze are among the menu specials of the day. Musical specials include a David Dueng acoustic set, from noon to 6 p.m.; DJ Dan from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. and The Malarkey Brothers performing upstairs from 8 p.m. to midnight.

McCloskey's Tavern has been a Main Line favorite for 75 years known best for its exceptional Irish mushroom soup. The revelry starts at 11 a.m. in the Ardmore tavern and will feature Irish dancers from the equally famous McDade School of Dance, in Havertown, They'll perform in the early afternoon and again around happy hour, between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

The E BAR in the Embassy Suites Valley Forge, in Chesterbrook, will present live music and Irish food with a twist, from 5 p.m. on. There'll also be a pot o' gold into which partygoers can drop business cards to win overnight stays at the Embassy Suites, Avalon's Golden Inn and Philadelphia's Omni at Independence Park.

Please celebrate St. Patrick's Day responsibly and consider "taking the elevator home" that night at one of Montgomery County's more than 55 hotels. For more information about these and other events, affordable hotel packages, attractions, restaurants and shopping in the Valley Forge area, please log on to www.valleyforge.org.

The Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau, Ltd. is a nonprofit, membership-based sales and marketing organization that aggressively promotes the Valley Forge area and Montgomery County as a convention site and leisure visitor destination by encouraging patronage of its 500-plus member hotels, restaurants, attractions and services. The Bureau's Web site, at www.valleyforge.org, serves visitors, meeting planners, tour operators and residents.

# # #