st. patrick's day parade

The Celtic Pride of St. Augustine

While mostly known for its Spanish heritage, St. Augustine also celebrates its Celtic connection.

Celtic History in St. Augustine

As you walk around the Ancient City, you’ll see many Spanish names on street signs and businesses, and monuments that still bear their Spanish titles. But look a little deeper, and you’ll discover there’s more to the nation’s oldest city than meets the eye. In fact, Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, who founded the city in 1565, was a Spanish Celt. The 800 colonists and soldiers who accompanied him were also from the northern Celtic region of Spain. And many of the earliest Colonial Governors and vicars who served in St. Augustine were of Celtic descent.

It’s no wonder so many locals claim Irish, Scottish and Celtic ancestry and, today, thousands of visitors come to St. Augustine to celebrate their Celtic heritage. Did you know the original first recorded St. Patrick Parade was held in St. Augustine in 1601? It was the first in the world, and some would argue, still the best, especially when celebrated with the St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival. The festival has traditionally included Highland games, internationally-acclaimed Celtic musicians, Celtic authors, whiskey tastings, and, of course, bagpipes.

St. Patrick's Day Events 2021

While the festival has been canceled in 2021, plans are underway to continue this popular tradition next year. And you can still show your clan pride and celebrate the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Celtic Heritage throughout the year. Pay a visit to the statue of Don Pedro Menendez in front of City Hall, formerly the Hotel Alcazar located on King Street. Across the street, you’ll find The Governor’s House Cultural Center & Museum, home to the earliest governor offices. The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine is just a few steps away, where early Irish priests oversaw the construction of this magnificent cathedral. Then, make your way to the site of Menendez’s first landing and the first parish Mass at Mission Nombre de Dios, where one of the first parish priests in America was of Irish descent. Finally, stop in for a cold brew and some fish & chips at Meehan’s Irish Pub & Seafood House on Avenida Menendez. You might even hear some live music of the Celtic kind. So, even if you’re not Celtic, you can celebrate like you are.