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Newton celebrates another St. Patrick’s Day changed by the pandemic

Dunn-Gaherin’s Food and Spirits celebrated St. Patrick’s Day differently this year.
Dunn-Gaherin’s Food and Spirits celebrated St. Patrick’s Day differently this year.SUZANNE CROW

For a second time during the pandemic, Newton’s residents celebrated St. Patrick’s Day without the annual political breakfast roast, live music, Irish dancers, or bagpipers.

Seana Gaherin, co-owner of Dunn-Gaherin’s Food and Spirits, which usually hosts the annual political breakfast roast, said this year, they had 50 percent fewer customers in-house but almost made up for it in takeout. Instead of having live entertainment, she said they played internet music.

Gaherin said that during the shutdowns in 2020 when they could only do takeout, she didn’t think the pandemic would still be going on a year later.

“It’s a really sad day in some ways because when you think about it for Dunn-Gaherin’s, if it hadn’t been for St. Patrick’s Day and that we had prepared, you know, 400 pounds of corn beef, we probably wouldn’t have had the courage to stay open for just takeout for the initial impact of the pandemic,” she said.

Patrick O’Hara, one of the owners of O’Hara’s Food and Spirits, said this year they had far fewer people dine in and much more takeout than usual. However, he said, it was nice to be able to serve their traditional Irish fare.

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“This year, we at least kinda get to jump back into what we know and what we’re good at, and that’s serving people,” O’Hara said.

O’Hara recalled last year how they already had purchased all of their Guinness and corned beef before the shutdowns.

“We weren’t even able to go through half of what we actually ordered in,” he said.

Greg Reibman, president of the Newton Needham Regional Chamber, said he’s optimistic heading into the spring.

“This may be the last holiday that we’re spending all isolated,” he said.

This year was Dunn-Gaherin’s 30th St. Patrick’s Day — the biggest day of the year for the pub.

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“It’s always a really big deal,” she said. “It sort of launches spring, but it also has such significance because pubs play such a huge part of, you know, the community culture and the fiber of it.”

Gaherin said she looks forward to the return of the annual political breakfast roast.

“It’s just a great time where people could actually use humor and wit to maybe address some issues that they wouldn’t necessarily take on on a normal day,” she said. “We’re gonna do it next year; it’s gonna be great. We’ll have to make it bigger and better to make up for the loss that we’ve had.”

Suzanne Crow can be reached at newtonreport@globe.com.