CHICAGO — The Chicago area celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at several pubs and restaurants on Friday.

As hundreds celebrated Irish culture with good food, drinks, bagpipes and dancing, the holiday was meaningful for Tara Walsh, who moved from Ireland to Chicago nine years ago. She said St. Patrick’s Day festivities at the Irish American Heritage Center made her feel at home. 

“This is my first time here and I didn’t realize it was going to be so full of Irish culture,” Walsh told WGN News. “We even have soda bread right over there.”

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The wall-to-wall crowd was decked in green as they enjoyed other Irish favorites like the talented Shannon Rovers Pipe Band and the world-famous Trinity Irish Dancers. 

“I love dancing so much. I feel so good when I dance. It makes me happy,” said Trinity Irish Dancer Kaitlin Schimmel.

But the St. Paddy’s Day fun wasn’t exclusive to the Irish American Heritage Center.

Chief O’Neill’s Pub and Restaurant on the corner of Elston Avenue and Albany Avenue drew huge crowds. Among the patrons was John Gibbons, who was celebrating the holiday.

“I’m going to have a few more Guinness and then on top of that, I’m going to have a few more Guinness,” Gibbons joked.

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The drinks flowed alongside traditional Irish meals. 

Siobhan McKinney, the owner of Chief O’Neill’s pub and restaurant, listed off some of the traditional Irish meals patrons like to enjoy.

“The Shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage, of course, the Reubens that everybody loves as well, so all the Irish favorites,” McKinney said. “Lots of corned beef today.”