St. Paddy’s Day South Side of Chicago Style

March is such a fun month for me. It’s my anniversary, my birthday, and parade day. When you live on the south side of Chicago, parade day ranks right up there with Christmas. Whether you are an adult or a child. Whether you’re on or off the wagon. Whether you’re 100% Irish or Irish for the day.

We’re the Windy City Irish-where the craic is always best
Where every day is Paddy’s Day and everyone’s a guest
If you’re Irish on the North Side or Irish on the West
Welcome to the South Side come join our Irish Fest!

When we were kids, my uncle owned car dealerships and would have a big float in the parade for all of us to ride on. It was really cool. We all felt so famous being in the parade. Afterwards, he always had a huge party back at one of the dealerships and we always had White Castles. We got to run wild with our cousins. It was always such an awesome day. Because we were Irish.

When we got a little older we learned the true meaning of being Irish on the South Side. We partied like crazy. It was literally the most fun we would have all year. Especially if the weather cooperated. One time I was inside of a port-a-potty that was tipped over. But I was so drunk that it was funny. The biggest problem on parade day is where you’re going to pee. Especially if you’re a girl. So I was really lucky to have just relieved myself before it was tipped. It’s the Irish way.

We’re the South Side Irish as our fathers were before
We come from the Windy City and we’re Irish to the core
From Bridgeport to Beverly from Midway to South Shore
We’re the South Side Irish-Let’s sing it out once more!

B. K. Before Kids

B. K. Before Kids

My brother Dat and Lil’ Fanny shared an apartment together and had a big party one year. I remember some girl grabbed a package of hot dog buns off the table and just walked off with them. She opened them and just started eating them. No one knew who she was. But no one cared because it was parade day. And we’re Irish.

Another time my bestie Dolleen and I were at a party. We didn’t know too many people there. But that’s how it is on parade day. You just party wherever you end up. So we had been drinking for quite some time and Dolleen lost her footing and landed right on the lap of a blind woman. Obviously the blind woman could not see who was on her lap and Dolleen was so drunk and laughing so hard that she couldn’t get off the poor woman. The woman just sat there flailing her arms up and down yelling get off me! I. Was. Dying. Because I’m Irish.

Our parents came from Mayo, from Cork and Donegal.
We come from Sabina, St. Kilian’s and St. Gall
St. Leo, Visitation, Little Flower and the
The South Side parishes are mighty-they’re the best!

If these sorts of things happened any other day of the year, it wouldn’t fly. But anything goes on parade day. I’m sure I’d have even better stories, if I could only remember them. But I blacked out a lot because I’m Irish.

A few years ago, things started to get really out of control and it was decided the parade would be canceled. This just so happened to coincide with me being pregnant and not able to party anyway. So it didn’t bother me that much. Until I thought about my kids not having the parade. Because they’re Irish.

We live on the South Side-Mayor Daley lived here too
The Greatest Irish Leader that Chicago ever knew
he was always proud of his South Side Irish roots!
So here’s to his honor to his memory we’ll be true.

Luckily for them, the parade is back. With an emphasis on families. And I couldn’t be happier. I love seeing my kids look so forward to it the way we did. I love seeing them get all dressed up in their Irish gear. Complete with tattoos and green hair. Now that’s Irish.

And nothing says family time like watching your parents get drunk. I love drinking and driving the stroller around town with all the littles piled inside. Party hopping. Showing them how it’s done. It’s not easy being an Irish parent. But I feel very strongly about giving them the same wonderful Irish childhood that my parents gave me.



My only dilemma right now is what I will drink. Wine juice boxes are obvi the easiest when traveling on foot. But something about parade day makes me want to drink beer. Out of a green solo cup. Because there is a zero tolerance policy for people drinking along the parade route and nothing conceals alcohol like a solo cup. There’s nothing more Irish than the color green.

We sing the songs our fathers sang when they were growing up
Rebel songs of Erin’s Isle in South Side Irish Pubs
and when it comes to baseball-we have two favorite clubs
The Go-Go White Sox… and whoever plays the Cubs!

I will also have to get my nails done. Probably some shade of green. After all, there are forty to choose from. Perhaps all green with my ring finger orange. Or I just may go all out and get a pot of gold or some shamrock design designs. The Irish options are endless.

I will also get all dolled up in my Irish Sweater. I will put on my finest Claddagh jewelry. Perhaps I’ll even don a shillelagh, which will come in handy if I start to lose my balance. I’m hoping the weather is nice enough so I don’t have to put on a big coat and wrap myself in a giant green/white/orange scarf. Only leaving enough room for sipping my beer from my green solo cup. Shamrock drinking gloves are also a must. Especially if you’re going to be so bold as to drink beer right out of an ice cold can. Like the classy Irish lass that I am.

This year the forecast is looking good. I’m very excited to have an awesome day with my Irish family and friends. All of whom, just so happen to live along the parade route as well. We’ll have our corned beef and cabbage. We’ll drink our Guinness. We’ll tell stories of St. Paddy’s day past. But most of all we’ll laugh. Because we’re Irish.

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