St. Patrick’s Day: More Than Shamrocks and Leprechauns
March 13, 2013

Though St. Patrick’s Day offers plenty of fun family activities from wearing green to parades, it is also a great time to look at more realistic images of Ireland and the Irish people.

The Boston Irish Heritage Trail, which features twenty sites around downtown and Back Bay, is an easy way to introduce children to Irish history and get some outdoor exercise. Along the 3.5-mile route, you’ll see how much of a mark the Irish have made on the city over the past three centuries.

Pick up a map of the sites at the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau visitors centers on Boston Common or at the Prudential Center. You can also book a private guided tour with the Boston Irish Tourism Association. The association has two special public tours on March 16 (at 2 p.m.) and March 17 (at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.).

Once you hit this urban trail, offer your kids fascinating facts along the way, including:

  • One of the Boston Massacre victims was Irish and is buried in the Old Granary Burying Ground.
  • Fenway Park was built by an Irishman.
  • The first Red Sox game held in the stadium was won thanks to an Irishman.
  • The Col. Robert Shaw Memorial—which is one of Boston’s most famous memorials and honors African-American Civil War soldiers—was carved by an Irishman, as are the giant marble lions at the Boston Public Library.

If you want to venture farther out of the city, the trail organization can provide details on an additional twenty-five significant Irish sites in the Greater Boston area, and it has plans to add more elsewhere in Massachusetts.

A couple of other events offer the chance to combine the outdoors and the Irish.

In Medway, the 2nd Annual Shamrock Shuffle 5K, sponsored by the Medway Elementary Parent/Teacher Organization, will be held on March 16 at 9 a.m. All ages are welcome for the family fun run.

The Irish Cultural Centre in Canton, is holding its first-ever St. Patrick’s Day 5K on March 17 at 10 a.m. Runners, walkers, strollers, and wheelchairs are all welcome. Additional festivities include music, dancing, food, games, storytelling, and more. You can register the day of the event or online.


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