St. Patrick’s Day in Peoria is no ordinary holiday. Around the city eager Irishmen will rise early on Saturday and Sunday to start the festivities at Kelleher’s, Kenny’s Westside Pub, Ulrich’s, and Donnelly’s. Pat Sullivan, owner of Kelleher’s, says they’ll start bright an early with the Blarney Blitz at 8 am Saturday along with breakfast and then over a ton of corned beef and cabbage.
On Sunday, the 39th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade starts at 2 in the afternoon after a special 10:30 St. Paddy’s Day Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Mary. Sean Kenny of Kenny’s Westside Pub said it will be busy. “It’s gonna be crazy on St. Patrick’s Day. We’ll pretty much be busy all day until we close,” he said.
Water Street will be blocked off all weekend as well as Madison, Monroe, and Main Streets during the parade. Sullivan says there will be “between 15 and 17 thousand people” over the weekend celebrating St. Patrick downtown. Kelleher’s, 8 Bit Arcade Bar, and Bearded Owl Brewery all use the holiday as an opportunity to raise money for the Boys & Girls Club of Peoria. They sell raffle tickets for trips to Ireland. Sullivan said, “Peoria has a good Irish history, but I think everybody turns Irish on that day.”
Donnelly’s Irish Pub owner Ryan Donnelly said they are the oldest Irish Pub in the area. Serving corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s day since 1970, Donnelly said they will have a line out to the street nearly an hour before they open. “We’ve done this, well I’m 47 and I can remember working helping my parents back when I was 8, 9, or 10,” said Donnelly.
At Ulrich’s Rebellion Room, they kick things off early on Main Street before the Parade. Jennifer Ulrich said, “With IHSA being here and also St. Paddy’s Day we’re going to have a good turnout. We do have corned beef and cabbage, Reuben sandwiches, and we have bagpipers come through.”