Celebrating Irish in Savannah, Georgia

When you think of St. Patrick’s Day parades, the U.S. cities of Boston, Chicago and New York probably come to mind.

Did you think Savannah, Georgia?

Savannah, Georgia has the fourth largest attendance in the USA for its annual St. Patrick’s Day. And with a city population about 150,000, Savannah hosts the largest parade by attendance by far in the USA relative to city size with about 750,000 parade participants and spectators.

Boston has the oldest St. Patrick’s Day in the USA with a city parade first held in 1737, and Boston’s festivities attract only a slightly larger crowd than Savannah. Chicago’s parade, first held in 1843, brings out about one million partiers and New York, which started celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in 1762, sees around two million partiers. Savannah, Georgia’s first St. Patrick’s Day Parade dates to 1824.

Savannah’s trump card for St. Patrick’s Day partiers over Boston, Chicago and New York is its city laws allowing public drinking of alcohol. You can drink all the Guinness you desire from a plastic cup while walking around the streets.

Bay Street and River Street are the riverfront downtown Savannah places for lively bars and entertainment and the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Savannah River Street

View of Savannah’s River Street seen from patio bar of Hyatt Regency Riverfront Savannah. (Westin Savannah is across the river).


River Street, Savannah is lined with bars and restaurants. Many of the downtown hotels are located along River Street and parallel River Street.

Savannah HIX on Bay Street

Bay Street, Savannah is where many brand hotels, barsand restaurants are located.


Holiday Inn Express Savannah Historic District (35,000 points reward night) and Hampton Inn Savannah Historic District (30,000 points reward night) on Bay Street, Savannah.

Across the street from these Savannah hotels is a beautiful green space named Emmet Park, filled with old oak trees draped in Spanish moss.

Emmet Park

Emmet Park is named for Irish patriot Robert Emmet, executed for treason by British in 1803.


This area of Savannah was once known as ‘Irish Green’. The nickname originated from the proximity of the park space to Irish residents of Savannah’s Old Fort neighborhood. The park was renamed in 1902 to commemorate the centennial of the execution for treason in 1803 of Irish patriot Robert Emmet.

Savannah celtic cross

Celtic cross in Emmet Park, Savannah.


The inscription on this Celtic cross in Emmet Park, Savannah reads:

“To Americans of Irish Descent

Past – Present – Future

Erin Go Bragh”

Ireland Forever.

Savannah is a city I enjoyed greatly during my stay May 2014. I was there on Cinco de Mayo and there was not much partying around the city for that holiday.

Loyalty Traveler Savannah articles from May 2014:

  1. Hotel Review: Savannah Andaz Suite (May 11)
  2. Hotel Review: Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront, Marriott Autograph Collection (May 14)
  3. Southern City in Green: Savannah’s 22 Squares (May 17)
  4. Savannah’s ’Crown Jewels’ Monument Squares (May 18)
  5. Mansion on Forsyth Park, Savannah, Marriott Autograph Collection (May 31)
  6. Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Savannah (June 7)

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined in 2008.

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