Photograph: Courtesy of Tosser

The Irish people have created some of the world’s greatest music and literature (the food, not so much). This St. Patrick’s Day weekend, as usual, provides plenty of ways to appreciate some of the finest in Celtic culture. We recommend—indeed, implore—that you make this year’s holiday the occasion for something better than a drunken debacle. How, you ask? By checking out some of the following events:

Abbey Pub

The Northwest side Irish bar’s annual celebration features veteran local Irish music acts Red Rebel Country, Kevin Flynn and the Avondale Ramblers, the Great Whiskey Project, Fitz and the Celts, plus Irish dancers and bag pipers.

When: March 16 beginning at 1 p.m.

Where: 3420 W Grace

Tickets: Must be at least 21 to be admitted. $10


Over the course of a three-decade career, the catchy Northern Irish band has progressed from buzzing punk-pop to the anthemic, electro-pop flavored songs. The sound may have changed, but its sense of melody has remained constant.

When: March 17 at 8

Where: Lincoln Hall, 2424 N Lincoln.

Tickets: $20

Cherish the Ladies

Not all St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, or Irish music, have to be rowdy. This acclaimed all-women group, which is nearing its 40th anniversary, captures the reflective side of the Irish heart with their delicate, lovely chamber folk.

When: March 15 at 7

Where: SPACE, 1245 Chicago, Evanston.

Tickets: $28–$58

Sean Cleland and Friends

A longtime staple on the local Irish folk scene, fiddler Cleland will lead a dance party with his traditional tunes. Don’t worry if you don’t know the steps – the show will be preceded with a group lesson that’ll have you set dancing in no time.

When: March 15 at 8:30

Where: Old Town School of Folk Music, 4545 N Lincoln.

Tickets: $10.


Most of the time, the beloved Berwyn venue resembles a Texas roadhouse, but this weekend owner Bill FitzGerald and the rest of his clan return to their roots with this family-friendly festival. Continuous performances in the club and the heated outdoor tent include local step dancers, cover band Tributosaurus, the Dooley Brothers, Cannonball and the Shannon Food. There’ll also be Irish grub.

When: March 16 starting at 1:00

Where: 5544 W 55th.

Tickets: $12 adults, $5 children 12 and under

Irish American Heritage Center

The Northwest side bastion of all things Irish hosts an all-ages celebration that includes face painting for the kids, traditional dance, and music by Tim O’Shea and Phillip Crickland, Chicago Reel and the Chancey Brothers. There’s even a mass before the festivities at 11:30 a.m.

When: March 17 beginning at noon

Where: 4626 N Knox.

Tickets: $10, children under 12 free

The Tossers

Chicago’s answer to the Pogues (pictured above) are celebrating their 20th anniversary with a fine new record, “The Emerald City,” and their annual hometown St. Pat’s show, which will blend the sound of traditional Irish folk with aggressive tempos, poetic sentimentality with barroom raucousness.

When: March 16 at 9

Where: Metro, 3730 N Clark.

Tickets: Must be 18 or over to be admitted. $18 in advance, $20 day of show