Yesterday was St Patrick’s Day! I hope you remembered to wear something green, even if you didn’t leave your living room. Normally St Patrick’s Day is celebrated in Sweden, like many places around the world, with noisy, boozy parties. This year of course was different. Public gatherings in Sweden are limited to 8 people, which makes a somewhat subdued party, not up to the standards of a real St Patrick’s Day bash.
The relationship between Sweden and Ireland is a good one. According to Sweden’s Central Bureau of Statistics, there are 2892 Irish people living in Sweden. Ireland has an embassy on Blasieholmen in Stockholm. Sweden has a consulate in Dublin, and honorary consulates in Limerick and Galway. There is a Swedish-Irish society that was founded in 1949 by a group of Swedish friends interested in Ireland. According to their website, ‘the society has been building friendships between the two countries, promoting Irish culture in Sweden and has gradually also become a hub for Irish and Swedish-Irish in Sweden. We organise events throughout the year and membership is open to everyone who shares our interests!’
For the purposes of doing business, there is a Swedish-Irish Chamber of Commerce. This is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to building a professional community to promote and strengthen commercial collaboration, development and exchange between Swedish and Irish businesses.
Classic Irish pubs in Stockholm include The Liffey, The Auld Dub and O’Connells. In Gothenburg there’s the Dubliner and the Irish Embassy, and Malmö has Fagan’s and The Shamrock. Normally these places would be packed to bursting, and rocking to the sound of the fiddle on St Patrick’s Day. Hopefully next year will see a return to normal.