Recent St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at Surrey’s Dublin Crossing bar, in a photo posted to (Chaelee Mae Photography)

Recent St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at Surrey’s Dublin Crossing bar, in a photo posted to (Chaelee Mae Photography)

Surrey bars, musicians adapt to a second St. Patrick’s Day party stifled by pandemic

No big gatherings on March 17 again this year

For a second straight year, St. Patrick’s Day won’t offer the traditional level of fun and excitement at Surrey-area bars and other gathering spots.

In 2020, the annual Irish celebration was first among events killed/cancelled during the very early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, it’s Round Two of reduced fun on March 17.

That Wednesday, Irish-themed bars in Surrey will be relatively busy with patrons, even with B.C.’s crowd-limiting protocols in place.

“Although we won’t be hosting our St. Patrick’s Day event this year, we will still be open for business as usual,” says a Facebook post by Clayton’s Dublin Crossing pub. “We will still be pouring Guinness and will still have delicious Irish Fare from our regular menu.

“For now, we will live vicariously through photos of our last St. Patrick’s Day party from 2019.”

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Elsewhere in Surrey, Donegal’s Rock and Irish House in the Cedar Hills area is pitching a “St Paddy’s Day Party (for 2) in a Box,” for people to celebrate the day at home with a significant other.

“There will be no grand parties this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get all the same goodies you would have if your come and partied with us,” says a promo post on

The $105 “full package” offers limited-edition shot glasses, a bottle of Jameson Irish whiskey, a couple of beer glasses, green food colouring, dinner for two (options include Guinness BBQ Burger, Drunken Irish Chicken and more), shared dessert and “Paddies Day Swag.” There’s also a $65 “No Dinner” package available for pre-order on the website.

Donegal’s, located on 96th Avenue just east of Scott Road, will be open on March 17 as well.

“Missing the live music things but business has been good,” bar owner Daniel Cook reported.

• RELATED STORY, from March 2020: New song but no gigs on St. Patrick’s Day for Surrey’s Pat Chessell.

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St. Patrick’s Day is always a busy gig day for Pat Chessell, but this March 17 will again be much quieter for him. The Surrey-based musician will be featured during a Celticfest Vancouver 2021 online concert on March 20, in a show dubbed “Craic Agus Ceol.” He also has CD copies to sell of his latest album, The Road Not Taken, following last year’s recording sessions at The Warehouse Studio in Gastown.

“Not much going on this year,” Chessell lamented. “Doing a Facebook Live the Saturday before (March 13) and a virtual gig for Celtic Fest Vancouver the Saturday after, but that’s about it.”

Celticfest Vancouver 2021 will offer virtual events from March 11 to 20, including “a range of entertaining and educational events, classes, and concerts for all ages.”

All the details are posted to

“We’re excited to bring the CelticFest back for another year,” said Harry Cussen, chair of the festival board. “Last year was disappointing for everyone when we were cancelled days before due to COVID-19, but we’ve dusted ourselves off and will bring the festival back to our audience despite the ongoing pandemic.

“It looks a bit different this year, but the virtual festival has a great lineup of local Celtic talent including, storytellers, bakers and musicians,” Cussen continued. “The additional benefit of going virtual is that it allows us to reach a much wider audience across British Columbia and beyond, and we’re thrilled that this year’s festival will be inclusive of so many more people.”

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