Nestled in Dubois County just west of Jasper is Ireland, Indiana, a pint-sized town that’s big on character. From a weeks long St. Patrick’s Day celebration to unique historical sites, this hidden gem makes for a perfect day trip to Southern Indiana.


1. St. Patrick’s Day Done Right

It should come as no surprise that Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration tops our list of Ireland must-dos. The two week celebration kicks off on March 1st with a ceremony to introduce the honorary mayors who will preside over the year’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities, including flipping the switch on the town’s green lights. This year the honor goes to Mike and Carol Schmitt, who have called Ireland home for the last 60 years. Family-friendly celebrations continue over the next two weeks leading up to St. Patrick’s Day weekend. March 16th sees events like the Irish Trot 5K run/walk, Luck of the Irish craft and vendor fair, Pot O’Gold trivia bash and more. As for the big day itself, March 17th is the town’s renowned St. Patrick’s Day parade complete with floats.


2. Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day

With a name like Ireland, it’s no wonder they double down on St. Patrick’s Day. September 14th is the annual Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day celebration, complete with Irish road bowling. What’s Irish road bowling? Think bowling meets golf: you roll the ball underhanded down the road and the team with the lowest number of rolls to the end of the course wins. Any necessary tiebreakers are decided by a heated round of Sham-rock Paper Scissors. Irish road bowling is such a popular event there’s a waitlist every year.


3. Step Back in Time

The town of Ireland was founded in 1816, making it as old as the state of Indiana itself. To unpack all that history, a visit to the Ireland Historical Society is in order. Located in what was built in 1878 as the Ireland Methodist Church, the Ireland Historical Society is home to the “Walls of History”, a collection of over 1000 pictures and the written history that goes with them. It’s also where you’ll find a meticulously crafted replica of Ireland circa 1914 that was created by Ireland resident Mike Schmitt.


4. Historic Churches

The former Ireland Methodist Church is not only home to the Ireland Historical Society, but to the Ireland Historical Chapel as well. Built in 1878, it’s since been refurbished, but the structure itself remains the oldest building in Ireland. The historic Shiloh Meeting House, known as one of the finest pioneer churches in Southern Indiana, was built in 1849. Featuring its original pews and floors, it’s on the National Register of Historic Places. Lemmons Church is also on the National Register of Historic Places. The Greek revival structure was built in 1860 and still retains its original pews and 14 foot ceilings. All three churches are available as wedding venues.


5. More Than Corned Beef and Cabbage

Ireland is home to two popular restaurants that have stood the test of time. The Rock Bar & Grill first opened its doors as The Shamrock Grill in 1940, making it the town's first tavern. Today it serves home cooked breakfasts, lunches and dinners. The Chicken Place opened its doors in 1948 and has been revered for its made-to-order fried chicken ever since. Both restaurants feature a full bar and have rave reviews from both locals and tourists.