stockholm: st.patrick’s day and other news

Posted on March 20, 2006


Celebrating St. Patrick's Day at O'Connell's in Gamla stan, the Old Town

by my life in stockholm

Last week’s Stockholm highlights included news that a restaurant worker was sentenced to probation and 100 hours community service for celebrating his last day at work by baking and serving a marijuana cheesecake to his colleagues. He will also pay a total of 45.000 Swedish crowns or about 4.750 Euros to the victims of his crime, who reported “unpleasant experiences” after the coffee break.

Drugs seem to be a growing problem with Sergelstorg, Gullmarsplan, and the suburbs of Rinkeby and Tensta Centrum to be the main Stockholm-area shopping centers for marijuana, cocaine, Ecstacy and uppers.

News media also presented some interesting facts about Swedes, including that over a quarter of a million Swedes travel outside the country each year to play golf, and that poker in Sweden is bigger than online porn with young Swedish poker players betting more than US $100,000 on one hand – Sweden is the only country in the world with a monopoly, called Svenska Spel, on online gaming

And while most of Sweden this past weekend watched Melodifestivalen and voted for a middle-aged, tattooed, divorced mother of three named Carola to represent them (for the third time) at this year’s coming Eurovision Song Contest in Athens, the rest celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day by bar hopping or hanging out with friends at the local watering holes.

As much as the Swedish tourist board would NOT want Stockholm to be described this way, Stockholm is a city of pubs, bars and restaurants that make lots of money from selling alcoholic beverages. A few of them are Irish pubs, and once a year on March 17 they become even more fun places to hang out. This Saint Patrick’s Day fell on a Friday, which made it more like Saint Patrick’s Day Weekend. Unfortunately, payday in Sweden is on the 25th of each month or the Irish pub owners would otherwise probably make enough to live on for the entire year.

Irish pubs such as the two Dubliner’s (one in Södermalm and one near Stureplan), O’Connell’s, The Loft, Galway’s and Salong Irish Pub were jammed Friday and Saturday with lots of real Irish people flying in for the weekend for the celebration to join the rest of us Irish-for-a-day folks. Stockholm even had an Irish parade that wound around the city, ending up at Kungsträdgården (literally, the king’s tree garden) in the center of town.