Boston Irish Tourism Association (BITA) today released its 2012 schedule of St. Patrick's Day activities - including six Irish parades and dozens of cultural events - taking place this March in cities and towns across Massachusetts.
With nearly 24% of residents claiming Irish ancestry, Massachusetts is the nation's most Irish-American state, according to the US Census. The nation's first St. Patrick's Day celebration took place in Boston on March 17, 1737.
Among the renowned musicians performing in the coming weeks are Irish traditional music bands Altan and Dervish; Celtic Woman and Riverdance of PBS fame; Irish tenors Ronan Tynan and Anthony Kearns; fiddle champion Seamus Connolly and Celtic Sojourn, hosted by WGBH's Brian O'Donovan; and Irish rockers the Saw Doctors and Boston's own Dropkick Murphys.
BITA is giving away free concert tickets to many of the concerts. Go to the Contest Page for more details.
In addition, there are dozens of other Irish cultural activities taking place throughout March, which are available at IrishMassachusetts.com.
Local tourism officials are encouraging tourists to visit Massachusetts in March to enjoy the parades and cultural festivities while taking advantage of great hotel and restaurant rates this time of year.
Patrick B. Moscaritolo, President of Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, says, "Boston's Irish community offers a wonderful way to explore the city's illustrious history through the Irish Heritage Trail. Once you visit Boston you'll see why it is called the Capital of Irish America."
The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism promotes Irish festivities on its web site, MassVacation.com, as part of it's year round celebration of the state's many ethnic communities.
"Visitors and residents alike have a great time celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Massachusetts," says Colette Quinlin of Boston Irish Tourism Association. "There is a wide variety of contemporary culture direct from Ireland as well as rich strains of Irish-American culture and history."
BITA's March 2012 issue of Travel & Culture Guide, a free magazine that focuses on Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts and the New England states, as well as travel to Canada and Ireland, is available at local visitor centers in early March.