Kilburn, along with the surrounding areas of Cricklewood and Willesden, has long since been home to the largest Irish community in London, if not the entire country. Our trustworthy friends at Wikipedia reckon that as many as 13% of Kilburn’s population was actually born in Ireland. The area’s demographics are changing, and the many traditional Irish pubs that lined the High Road are slowly being replaced by trendy bars and music venues; for not much longer will it deserve the nicknames ‘Little Éire’ and ‘County Kilburn’. As such, the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are not now what they once were. Having said that, you can still expect the pubs to be full of revellers: Guinness-a-flowing, whiskey-a-spilling, and novelty hats-a-wearing.
The annual St. Patrick’s Day parade is a family-friendly affair, getting under way at 4:30pm from Willesden Green underground station. Costumed-dancers and pipers will accompany the floats as they take the short trip down to Willesden Green Library. The Library Centre is also playing host to a number of other events, including story-telling and an Irish market (4 – 7:30pm), and various performances of traditional music and dancing, from the likes of the McCarthy School of Irish Dancing, Irish Mist, and a comedy set from Deirdre O’Kane. The full programme is available here.
Less traditionally Irish music can be heard at Power’s, which is putting on its fortnightly acoustic session – free of charge, as per usual – or for a mere £4 you can catch Fit and the Conniptions at the Good Ship, with Stop.Motion.Trio and Can’t Swim! Won’t Swim! providing the support. Alternatively, it’s pub quiz time at the Westbury: 8pm start, £2 entry.
For proceedings of an even less sober nature, just stumble down to any of the pubs and bars on Kilburn High Road. Brondes Age is a solid bet if you want to celebrate St. Paddy’s day with plenty of people and a decent atmosphere. For a pint of Guinness with the regulars, head to the Coopers Arms, the Kingdom or the Old Bell. For an off-High Road tipple, the Alliance on Mill Lane is always good value, or Father Ted’s on Willesden Lane.
Whatever you get up to, may your craic be mighty.