Believe it or not, there was a time when St Patrick’s Day wasn’t celebrated by downing pints of black beer and wearing ridiculous polyester hats, but rather with dance, drink (wherever it was available) and the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.

March 17 has been a party day for the Irish for the last 1,000 years and, contrary to popular belief, Ireland’s best known festival actually commemorates the chap who introduced Christianity to Ireland and not the famous Dubliner brewery.

Apart from their fatherland, Irish folk celebrate March 17 en masse in Gaelic hot spots such as England, Canada, the States, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

However, there are other places also worth visiting for an exotic party. So, once you have checked out a whole list of cheap Caribbean holidays 2012 and picked up a destination, see if you end up in one of these unlikely places for celebrating Paddy’s Day.

Café O’Reilly in Havana, Cuba

If you get tired of drinking mojitos, dancing salsa and seeing live performances of legendary “soneros” you can always head down to the centre of Habana Vieja and find a “good old-fashioned spit and sawdust cafe,” as Lonely Travel describes it.

You might not be too sure about the “spit and sawdust” thing, so forget about the famous guide and listen to us. Café O’Reilly is a two-floor bar with excellent atmosphere that opens till 3am. For a tranquil alternative, visit it during the day and have your Irish coffee (what else?) whilst doing some people-watching peering at the street below.

Irish Rover Pub in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica

Lets use another stereotype. You have had enough of reggae, dub and rum and you fancy going to a typical pub. Well, that’s when the Irish Rover comes along. It would be absurd to totally ignore your paradise destination and pretend you are in Shannon, but the key thing here is that you can have your Sunday roast and Jamaican food.

On Friday nights there is even a jamming session with local musicians. Add an extra green stripe to your Rastafarian flag and celebrate Paddy’s Day whilst on holiday in the Caribbean.

Jose O’Shay’s in Playa Cabarete, Dominican Republic

On the menu: shepherd’s pie, corn beef & cabbage, Irish Stew, and banger and mash. In front of you, the turquoise waters of the Caribbean.

The Jose O’Shay’s Irish pub makes expatriates feel like at home, but then again, the funny thing here is the contrast, like having a pint of Guinness served on a coconut shell.

They promise to host the best St. Patrick’s Day party around, complete with a parade on the beach.

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