7 Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the Irish Capital of Nebraska

What better way is there to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than in O’Neill, the Irish Capital of Nebraska? O’Neill was founded by an Irish native and proclaimed the “Irish Capital of Nebraska” by the governor in 1969. Every year, the town hosts a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration that consists of fun events like a Mr. Irish Pageant, parade, Irish dancers, live music and more. The 2020 celebration takes place March 8-14, the week/weekend before St. Patrick’s Day.

Whether you’re participating in O’Neill’s Celebration or not, there’s plenty of activities to get you in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day. Here are seven ways to celebrate the holiday in the Irish Capital of Nebraska:

  1. O’Neill is home to the world’s largest shamrock. The giant painted shamrock located at the intersection of Highways 20 and 281 is a permanent staple of the community. Each year, the shamrock gets a fresh coat of paint at the painting of the Shamrock event during the St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
  2. Watch Irish Dancers as they dance in the middle of the world’s largest shamrock in downtown O’Neill and stay for the St. Patrick’s Day grand parade that follows.
  3. Snap a picture by the “O’Neill, Irish Capital of Nebraska” Historical Marker, located at the Holt County Courthouse. 
  4. Feel like you need a little more green? Attend the Greening of the Pond at the Gil Poese Recreation Area in Carney Park and the Painting of the Green Horse event north of O’Neill.
  5. Don’t go hungry – satisfy your hunger with foods relating to the holiday including Green Eggs and Ham at the Green Eggs and Ham Children's Literature Festival, a Reuben sandwich at the O'Neill Community Center or stew at the Mulligan Stew Feed. 
  6. In the evening, head to one of the pubs in downtown O’Neill like Chesterfield West for live music, dancing and green beer.
  7. Buy something green for St. Patrick’s Day at the Shamrock Nursey, a family-owned greenhouse in O’Neill.

World's Largest Shamrock
The World's Largest Shamrock, O'Neill