On March 17, we are all Irish. From the fountains to the street, on St. Patrick’s Day, everything in Savannah turns green. But where did it all begin? Let’s take a trip and learn the History of St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah.
James Oglethorpe set up the first permanent settlement in 1733. Of the colonist who settled and were granted land at least nine were Irish. These Irishmen were part of the many who left Ireland because of the potato famine. The 1845 blight took one-third of Ireland’s potato crop. Thousands starved to death and thousands more left Ireland to avoid starvation.
The St. Patrick’s Day parade was created as a way for Irish Americans to show their Irish pride. In 1812, forty-four prominent Savannah gentlemen formed the Hibernians Society of Savannah to help needy Irish immigrants in the area. Then in 1813 members of the Hibernians Society marched privately to the Independent Presbyterian Church for the first St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
Not until 1824 would the first public procession be held. The local Hibernian Society president invited all local Irishmen to meet for mass and public parade through the streets of Savannah. In 1870, the first grand marshal was elected, and bands joined the procession for the first time, creating a model for our modern-day parade.
Each year, St. Patrick’s Day becomes a more secular event honoring and celebrating Irish heritage and culture. These days Savannah has become known for its celebration. From live music, dancing, drinks, and more, downtown is bustling with tourists and locals alike.
Book your hotel stay for our St Patrick’s Day celebration here.