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History of St. Patricks Day in Savannah

St. Patricks Day is one special time in Savannah and on Tybee Island! The parade, which graces the streets in modern-day Savannah is very different from the ones of yesteryear! It’s now a 3-hour procession, which is organized by a committee of over 700 Irish-American members. The parade includes many organizations, marching bands, and an incredible float that amble through the streets of Savannah on Marth 17th. There are waves of green as far as the eye can see, rain or shine! 2022 marked the return of the St. Patty’s parade after a nearly 2-year hiatus. If you’re visiting during this special time of year, remember that Savannahians celebrate St. Patrick’s Day over 5 days of fun festivities! So, there’s guaranteed to be something to do.

What’s the Big Deal with the Savannah St. Patty’s Day?

In the beginning, thirteen members of the local Hibernian Society, the country’s oldest Irish society, raised funds and invited local Irishmen to parade through the streets. This first public procession took place in 1824. Yet it was not until 1870 that the first true and recognizable St. Patrick’s Day parade in Savannah was created and it had bands and even a “Grand Marshal.” 

Forsyth Fountain with green water at the greening of the fountain in preparation for St. Patricks Day.
The Greening of the Fountain

Fun Savannah St. Patrick’s Day facts: 

  • Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is one the largest parades in the US, right next to New York City, Chicago, and Boston.
  • Three Presidents have visited Savannah during the celebration over the years including William Howard Taft, Harry Truman, and Jimmy Carter, as well as Vice President Mike Pence in 2018. 
  • In 1903, twenty-five cadets from Benedictine Military School joined the parade, starting a tradition that continues today.
  • Ironically, St.Patrick’s Day is in close association with the Catholics, the first parade in Savannah was organized by Irish Protestants.
  • In the 1600’s the first Irish decedents stepped foot in Georgia. They traveled down from South Carolina and were mostly traders, trappers, and soldiers. The first real wave of Irish immigrants came to Savannah in 1830’s to assist in building the Georgia Railways.
The parade on St. Patricks Day is packed with people wearing green and getting down with the festivities.
Get Down on St. Patty’s!

Getting to the Festivities on St. Patricks Day

Enjoy the best of both worlds when you stay on Tybee Island for St. Patrick’s Day! Tybee Island has accommodations to suit every group’s needs. Come for the weekend, enjoy the beautiful weather, watch the Parade in Savannah, then return to Tybee for some well deserved Tybee Time! Have a great time, and let someone else do the driving!  

Horses pull a carriage in the St. Patricks Day parade.

Stay up to date with St. Patrick’s Day events through the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee.

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