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U-T San Diego has put together a list of St. Patrick’s Day events scheduled for this weekend, but if packing pubs in search of green beer and pickled foodstuffs isn’t your idea of St. Patrick’s Day fun, you might enjoy one of these offbeat observances that celebrate San Diego as well as Ireland:
1. Read Aloud at D.G. Wills
Wild for Wilde? Got a jones for Joyce? Yearning for Yeats? Independent bookseller D.G. Wills is hosting its annual St. Patrick’s Day Open Reading of Irish Poetry and Prose at 7 pm. on March 17.
Members of the public can share selections from their favorite works by Irish authors at this free event. The La Jolla landmark is filled to the ceiling with new and used books, and the well-loved spines imbue the proceedings with a sense of timelessness, though anyone wishing to read Molly Bloom’s 45-page soliloquy from “Ulysses” will probably be encouraged to do so outside.
2. Board the HMS Surprise at the San Diego Maritime Museum
The 21-gun frigate was the primary setting of Peter Wier’s 2003 historical drama, “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.”
Patrick O’Brian, an English writer of Irish descent, wrote the novels that the film is based on, which chronicle the adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, his Irish-Catalan ship’s surgeon. O’Brian’s sympathetic, complex portrayal of the Irish led many to assume that he was Irish himself, an assumption he never bothered correcting. In the first novel in the series, Stephen and the ship’s first lieutenant struggle to keep their Catholicism and past membership in the United Irishmen secret to avoid capture and imprisonment, even as their ship is ordered to hunt down fellow participants in the failed Irish Rebellion of 1798. Once you step below deck on the Surprise, one can easily imagine how difficult it would be to keep potentially deadly secrets in a place that affords so little privacy. So go to the forecastle and sing “Fiddler’s Green,” provided you keep an eye out for enemy sails.
3. Tell a Story at the Central Library, or watch stories here
The Irish have a rich storytelling history and a wealth of folklore and legend to draw from. While you might not ever hear a banshee in San Diego outside a storytelling festival, sharing your own personal history with the digital storytelling project California of the Past is a fitting way for both Irish-Americans and the Irish at Heart to help preserve stories for future generations.
4. Visit the Reptile House at the San Diego Zoo
St. Patrick might not have actually driven the snakes out of Ireland, but the herpetological splendor at the San Diego Zoo is well worth a visit, especially if you’re already in Balboa Park for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Irish Festival. The emerald tree boa is every bit as beautiful and green as the Emerald Isle itself, and if you look closely at the mottled green markings of the Mang mountain pit viper, you might even spot a four-leafed clover.
5. Enjoy Mariachi music, courtesy of the San Diego Opera
In addition to serenades and family events, Mariachi music is also used to celebrate saints days and other religious celebrations. Given that Irish music is performed year-round in a number of Irish pubs and those venues will be packed this weekend, treat yourself to another style of folk music at Mariachi Week, which culminates Saturday with two performances of José “Pepe” Martinez’s Mariachi opera, “Cruzar la cara de la luna” at San Diego Opera. San Patricio would approve.
Libby Weber is a contributor to Voice of San Diego. Follow her on Twitter @thelibbyweber or email email@example.com.