Starting in the 1720s, Irish settlers joined the influx of Germans and Quakers who moved south from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland to make homes in western Loudoun. It’s not clear whether they brought kegs of green beer along with them, but we’re confident that many of Sunday’s revelers will claim at least a distance kinship to those pioneers.

St. Patrick’s Day brings a bevy of special activities throughout Loudoun to celebrate Irish and Irish-American culture, with festivities anchored by three establishments that tout Irish food and drink all year ‘round.

Spanky’s Pub in Leesburg is the granddaddy, marking its 35thyear of “shamrockin’.” They open at 9 a.m. and have a full day of food specials and live music planned. On stage during the day will be Yoko Says No, Something’s Brewing, the Bryan Fox Duo, the Mike Richards Duo and Oren Polak.

Bagpiper U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Adam Tianello (U.S. Army photo by Rachel Larue/released)

In CountrySide, O’Faolain’s plans a five-day bash featuring its Wednesday pub quiz night, a whiskey dinner on Thursday, performances by Mostly Irish and Dad Guys on Friday, and viewing of the Guinness Six Nation final day rugby games and some more Mostly Irish on Saturday. On Sunday, the party moves out to the Guinness tent on the patio for a long day and night of celebration.

In Ashburn, Finnegan’s Grill plans to get the day off to a special start with a 9 a.m. performance by Adam Tianello, a bagpiper who performs with the U.S. Air Force Band’s Ceremonial Brass. He’s also scheduled to perform at 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Members of the Southern Academy of Irish Dance perform Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Live music is planned all day Sunday with two sets each by Joe Bernui, David Thong and Britton James.

Before there was a Spanky’s Pub, O’Faolain’s or Finnegan’s, the region’s St. Patrick’s Day thirst was quenched by The Old Brogue in Great Falls. Those who venture to that traditional haunt will find a familiar face on stage. Loudoun’s Ted Garber has been playing marathon shows there on the Irish holiday for the past 17 years. He adds that up to more than 200 hours of stage time. Garber will be back on the stage starting at 1 p.m. and keep the crowd singing along until last call.

While those venues boast Irish roots, scores of other area bars, wineries and breweries have special programs on tap for the popular holiday. For a full listing of those options, go to

Ted Garber on stage during his annual marathon set at The Old Brogue.
[Raleigh Warner]