Casting an Irish eye on Chicago

Today’s column from The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Ill.) and The Times (Ottawa, Ill.)

Casting an Irish eye on Chicago


March 12, 2011

Come this spring, Mayor Richard M. Daley will step down after 21 years of running the city of Chicago.

And come this afternoon, he’ll step down after 21 years of serving as honorary chairman for Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

I wonder which gig he’ll miss more.

At noon today, the 56th annual parade kicks off in Grant Park at Balbo Drive and Columbus Avenue noon and follows its route north up Columbus to Monroe. Now, if you’re reading this column in the newspaper, it’s probably too late for you to make it downtown in time to catch the parade. But that hardly means you have to miss out on all the St. Patrick’s Day fun going on in the city.

There’s plenty more happening through March 17.

You’re lucky.

St. Patrick’s Day Post-Parade Party

So, you might not be able to make it to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, but if you hustle you can probably arrive in time to enjoy the Post-Parade Party at the Hard Rock Café (63 W. Ontario St.).

From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, the River North hotspot is holding its third annual post-parade bash which will feature live music, Irish dancers, bagpipers and even a Lucky Charms eating contest.

Now, that’s different.

There’s no cover charge, but any donations at the door will benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to help the fight against childhood cancer.

Northwest Side Irish Parade

If you didn’t visit the city today, but are still itching to see some shamrock floats, the luck of the Irish is with you.

At noon on Sunday, the ninth annual Northwest Side Irish Parade will kick off at Onahan Elementary School (6634 W. Raven St.) in Norwood Park. The free event feature bagpipe and drumming troupe, the Emerald Society, as well as the Mullane Irish Dancers, Jesse White Tumblers and plenty more.

An after-party at Immaculate Conception Parish (6211 W. Talcott Ave.) from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. will also feature a corned beef and cabbage dinner, drinks, live music and kids’ activities ($10 admission fee, or $5 for kids under age 10). For more information, visit

World Kitchen: Cooking of the Green

On St. Patrick’s Day, anything green goes. And in Chicago’s Loop at the Gallery 37 Center for Arts (66 E. Randolph St.) that goes for the kitchen, too.

From 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. as part of its “World Kitchen” series, Gallery 37 is holding a “Cooking of the Green” culinary class during which attendees will learn how to cook up healthy dishes with green ingredients (think lots of veggies), as well as a few dishes with a decidedly Irish flavor.

The class costs $30 and requires pre-registration, which can be done by phone (312-742-TIXS) or you can visit for more information.

D4 Irish Pub & Cafe

It’s safe to say that every Irish pub in the city – and the state, for that matter – will be doing its fair share of celebrating this week. But you’ll be hard-pressed to find one doing as much as D4 Irish Pub & Cafe (345 E. Ohio St.) in Chicago’s Gold Coast.

D4 bill itself as “Chicago’s Premier Irish Address,” and it just might be considering all the events it has planned this week.
On Sunday, the bar will serve an Irish brunch featuring Irish pudding, rashers and sausages and corned beef hash. On Tuesday night, traditional Irish music and dance troupe Chicago Reel will perform. And on Wednesday evening, the 10-time World Champion Trinity Irish Dancers will dance a jig – or 10.

For more information, visit

And have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.