St. Patrick’s Day in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge: 8 Things To Do

A green fountain at the Island in Pigeon Forge

Even the fountain at The Island in Pigeon Forge knows how put on a festive show for St. Patty's Day in the Smokies (photo by Bill Burris/

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When people think of St. Patrick’s Day, they often think of New York or Boston, big East Coast metropolises settled by scores of Irish who came across the ocean and brought their Irish culture to neighborhoods in America’s grandest cities.

But city folk are not the only ones who carry on the Irish legacy. The Western Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee became home to tens of thousands of Irish, particularly the Ulster-Scots, also known as the Scots Irish.

Much of Appalachian mountain culture celebrated today, like clogging, traces its roots to Irish ancestors.

In fact, bluegrass, the music of the mountains, carries very similar instrumentation to traditional Celtic music. The high reedy Bluegrass singing style comes straight from Ireland.

So while they may be having St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in New York, Boston and Chicago, if you want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day another way, come to the mountains.

Below are the best ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, with a variety of fun activities, in the Smoky Mountains.

8. Titanic Museum Irish Month Celebration

All month long, everyone’s favorite ill-fated Parkway steamship will be celebrating the 187 Irish passengers and crew of the Titanic through Irish folklore and a Fairy Cottages display.

This celebration is included with general admission. Skip the line, reserve your spot and save a couple of bucks by purchasing your tickets online via Tripster.

7. Shopping at Celtic Heritage

Confession time: I have never been much in touch with my Irish heritage, having only recently discovered the Ring of Gullion in the County Armagh.

But even before I knew just how much Irish blood runs through me, I thought Celtic Heritage, which specializes in items that are hard to find on this side of the pond, was cool.

They offer jewelry, clothing, food, music, clan heraldry and various other collectibles in-store and, even if you’re not very Irish, spending some time in this store gives the right flavor to put you in a St. Patrick’s mood.

The SkyBridge at SkyLift Park during a St Patrick's Day celebration in Gatlinburg
The SkyBridge will be decked out in green lights for the entire month of March (media photo courtesy of Gatlinburg SkyLift Park)

6. St. Patty’s Green Lights at Gatlinburg SkyLift Park

SkyLift Park is known for its impressive light displays. And there is perhaps no display on St. Patrick’s Day quite as impressive as the green tunnel at the SkyBridge.

Plus, nothin’ pairs better with green beer than being 150 feet above the ground.

Of course, we only jest about the pairing, we encourage everyone to drink and tackle incredible heights responsibly.

This year’s festivities include shimmering green lights on the bridge throughout the entire month of March.

5. Drinking at Shamrock’s

Look, I didn’t want to fall into stereotypes here, but I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t give you a couple of options to get your drink on.

Shamrock’s isn’t the most authentic pub in Sevier County but I will not send you to a pub that bills itself as “British” for St. Patrick’s Day. I may not be very Irish, but by God there are some lines I won’t cross.

Shamrock’s has live music and, sometimes karaoke, but I won’t hold that against them here. Located just off the strip, it’s usually a high-energy place to have fun.

Read Also: What are the best bars in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge? Our top 7, ranked

4. Everyone is Irish at Anakeesta

Anakeesta knows how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the right way.

On March 17, Anakeesta’s celebration will feature traditional Irish music from 12-3:30 pm (with bagpiper Kelly Shipe) and food and drink specials all day long (think green beer and Irish-themed cocktails).

This event is included with general admission. Skip the line and buy your tickets online with Tripster.

A green fountain at The Island in Pigeon Forge in March
The fountain will go green for St. Patrick’s Day this year at The Island (photo by Bill Burris/

3. St. Paddy’s Day at The Island

This year, the whole island will go green to celebrate the holiday on March 17.

Green beer will be on tap at Yee-Haw Brewing. Live entertainment will be on-site including The Blarney Girls, The Crossjacks, The Tennessee Irish Dancers and the Dropkick Murphys.

To top off the evening, The Timberwood Grill and Mellow Mushroom will be featuring Irish-themed food.

As always, there is no admission charge at The Island in Pigeon Forge.

Read Also: The Island in Pigeon Forge restaurants: Best places to eat, ranked

2. Gatlinburg’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

And now for the main event – the 4-day St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the city of Gatlinburg, TN.

Downtown Gatlinburg will transform into “little Ireland” with music, food, fireworks and more.

There is no better way and no better place for the whole family to celebrate the holiday.

And this year, the city has a variety of St. Patrick’s Day festivities in store.

Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales will be performing nightly from 5-9 pm. Scottish bagpiper Kelly Shipe (yes, the same one who will also be performing at Anakeesta – Kelly is a hot commodity around Gatlinburg this time of year) will also perform each night.

Fireworks begin at 10 pm Friday night.

Don’t forget to dress up for the occasion if you plan on visiting downtown Gatlinburg on St. Patrick’s Day (photo by Bill Burris/

1. Pub crawl, Gatlinburg style

Cap the night off with some ‘shine.

Just be safe. Don’t be stupid. Get passes to ride the trolley and park your car for the night.

But, if you want to have a proper drinking celebration in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, hit the moonshine distilleries.

If you find one where the spirits are flowing and they’re singing the old Irish songs, stay and have fun. Otherwise, get a drink or two and move on to the next one.

Provided you can walk, I’d start at the top of the strip and Gatlinburg and work my way down.

Remember to watch traffic. You’re going to have to make your way through crosswalks without being belligerent. It’s still a family town, after all.

All in all, Gatlinburg on St. Patrick’s Day can be a pretty great place for a pub crawl. Just watch out for the English.

Our favorite sipping locations in Gatlinburg include Ole Smoky and Sugarlands.

Are you looking for a fun way to celebrate the holiday? What are your St. Patrick’s Day plans this year in the Smokies? Let us know in the comments.

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John Gullion

John Gullion, Managing Editor at the Citizen Tribune, is a freelance contributor for LLC – the parent company of and

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