As we celebrate the holidays here at Kildare’s in West Chester, we look to Irish tradition for inspiration. Most Irish customs surrounding Christmas have been adopted here in America, but there are some unique acts that are observed in Ireland to this day. Read on to see how American and Irish Christmas traditions align and deviate.


Christmas in Ireland includes gifts and Christmas trees, but it truly focuses on family and togetherness. While many customs are similar, others take root in Irish history. For example, holly–a very abundant crop–became popular as the rich and poor could decorate in similar fashion during times when many were in poverty.


Mass is traditionally attended on Christmas Eve in Ireland, leaving Christmas Day to spend with family and friends. As is tradition in America, Mass is full of beautiful choir songs and often a quaint nativity scene.


Following Christmas Eve Mass, many churchgoers begin holiday celebrations early by heading to the bars or clubs. It is very similar to the night before Thanksgiving here in the States – with old friends and family coming home, and heading out to drink into the early hours of the morning.

Spend Time with Family

Sons and daughters are expected to return home to their families for the holiday to enjoy a large meal–similar to the delicious home-cooked meals we enjoy in the States – but many choose roast or boiled beef, rather than turkey.

Observe St. Stephen’s Day

Our owner, Dane Gray, explains, “In Ireland, it’s called St. Stephen’s Day, and in England and Australia it’s called Boxing Day. It’s kind of a tradition we’ve carried over. On December 26th, we’ll have a big group of people coming in to watch every soccer match from the Premier League starting at 7 in the morning.” Our pure love for soccer carries on this holiday tradition, and is a fun way to spend the dreary morning after Christmas. Especially with our unique Irish Coffee in hand, your morning will be off to a great start.

As always, enjoy your holiday safely and responsibly with family and friends. Being in West Chester affords us the amazing opportunity to walk down the street to our favorite watering hole, and we encourage that type of behavior.

Our holiday hours will be as follows:

Christmas Eve: 11 a.m.–7 p.m.

Christmas: Closed

St. Stephen’s Day: 7 a.m.–2 a.m.

Kildare’s in West Chester is a destination: an authentic Irish pub that has something for everyone. We’re a place to bring the family for weekend brunch; cheer your favorite soccer (or American football) team; enjoy next-level fare at a business lunch, dinner with friends or special event; spend happy hour (questionable dance moves and all); and, of course, imbibe great beer, whiskey and other adult libations. Join us and find out why we’re not your average Irish pub.

Jay Breslin