As seen in Currents, February 2022

Can’t make it to Dublin, Ireland, for St. Patrick’s Day? Consider Dublin, Ohio. This city of 49,000 just north of Columbus embraces its name during the holiday and year ‘round. You’ll find a grand St. Patrick’s Day Celebration in March, a three-day Irish Festival in August, a Celtic Cocktail Trail with its own digital app, and an Irish Fairy Door Trail throughout the historic business district. Dublin, Ohio, even has green fire hydrants and shamrocks on manhole covers. 

Dublin’s Celtic Cocktail Trail presents craft cocktails with an Irish twist at 12 dining and drinking establishments. Fado Kitchen + Pub serves this Irish Sunset.

The area was christened “Dublin” in the early 1800s when surveyor John Shields, nostalgic for his Irish birthplace, was reminded of home. In 1881 Dublin was incorporated as a village and became a city in 1987. The city’s historic district has charming ambiance with original 19th-century architecture, limestone fences and brick sidewalks.

Chasing Irish spirit is a good reason to visit the city for the 2022 St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, the 35th annual Dublin Irish Festival or any time in between.

The St. Patrick’s Day celebration is held the Saturday before the holiday — March 12, 2022.  A parade kicks off through historic Dublin at 11 a.m. Featuring 100 groups – floats, bagpipers, bands, inflatables, Leprechauns and more – it lasts about 90 minutes. Fado, the local Irish pub, creates a tented celebration and other local businesses add their own touches.

The 35th annual Dublin Irish Festival is the first weekend in August — August 5 to 7 – at Coffman Park, about one mile from downtown Dublin. Visitors enjoy 35 musical acts on seven stages. In the past these have included Celtic Rock bands like Gaelic Storm and The Red-Hot Chili Pipers. The festival includes Irish dance, Irish fake wakes, sheepherding, genealogy and more.

One of 18 vendors in the North Market, Dublin, Ohio.

Start planning your visit and find lodging nearby. We checked out the scene in Fall 2021 and slept in comfort at the recently renovated Marriott Columbus Northwest.

Our two-day visit started with lunch at North Market, an indoor dining hall with 18 vendors including restaurants, culinary shops and a store that sells environmentally responsible household goods. After lunch, we headed to Historic Dublin on the other side of the Scioto River.

To get there we crossed the longest single tower “S” shaped suspension bridge in the world. For those with a technical interest, there are 43 Italian-made cables including one tie-down cable, two main suspension cables, two restrainer cables and 38 hanger cables. An engineering marvel, it’s just plain pretty to look at. And we noticed that small children get a simple thrill running back and forth on it.

The Fairy Door Trail is a year-round experience with fairies and doors “hidden” at 12 small retailers. Those who find every door and fill the Dublin passport with fairy names can redeem it for a free t-shirt at the Dublin Visitor & Information Center (9 S. High St.). The trails and t-shirts change every St. Patrick’s Day. Its best to seek fairies during the business hours of 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday.

The Fairy Door Trail encourages visitors to seek 12 fairies and fairy doors inside small retailers in Dublin’s historical business district.

One of the more enticing stops on the Fairy Trail is Winan’s Fine Chocolates + Coffees, which has been in the candy business since 1961.  Chocolates are available by weight or pre-boxed. 

Perhaps my favorite store was Coast Wine House, a homelike wine bar and small bottle shop that has a strong list of American west coast wines, but also carries smaller producers from around the world. The staff knows wine, which is challenging as inventory changes regularly.

We ate dinner at Fado Kitchen + Pub, just across from the North Market. There we met with operator Ian Montgomery. He grew up in Dublin, Ireland, and became a policeman. In 2003, he met his wife Michelle from Upper Arlington, Ohio. They married and lived in Ireland for two years. In 2006, they moved from Dublin, Ireland to Dublin, Ohio. Now he operates Fado and, with his wife, raises 4 children.”

The pub is a food-forward dining establishment with a modern European flair. As one might suspect, both American and Irish whiskeys are available. You can order an Irish-inspired roasted half chicken with colcannon, maple glazed parsnips, Brussels sprouts, and a whiskey mushroom sauce but you will also find appetizers like beer-battered goat cheese with jalapeno-infused honey and fresh thyme.

We wrapped up the next day with a drive-by of Dublin’s public art, explained via cellphone tour. The Field of Corn just calls for running around in the meadow. You must see it to understand.

High Bank Distillery in Columbus has wone a number of awards for best-blended whiskey.

Then, because we were so close, we ventured a little further to High Bank Distillery in Columbus. The distillers received the designation “best-blended whiskey in America” for 2021 in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. After touring the facility and tasting Statehouse Gin, which was light on juniper in the best of ways, we enjoyed lunch in the distillery pub.

The trip was a great getaway for two days without worrying about a passport, flight delays and COVID-based travel complications.

Learn more about Dublin and plan your trip by visiting