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The Luxury of the Irish

Enjoy an Irish coffee done right. Kalendar adds whiskey, Irish mist and a dollop of whipped cream to your brew ($6.95) in a European café setting. Ranking among the city’s top cocktail bars in more ways than one—it’s on the 51st floor of the Manulife CentrePanorama serves Irish coffee ($9) like all its aperitifs: with a stunning cityscape view.

In the Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood, The Irish Shop elegantly outfits its clientele with contemporary Irish and Irish-influenced fashions and accessories, including hand-knit Aran sweaters, tweed vests, dramatic hats and Claddagh jewellery.

Among its acclaimed bistro menu mains, Crush Wine Bar serves organic salmon from Ireland’s Clare Island ($29) with sides like Manhattan chowder plus celery heart and horseradish salad.

Find some of Ireland’s most treasured imports, Waterford crystal giftware and goblets, at William Ashley and The Bay.

Irish whiskey is distilled three times and aged in wooden casks for at least three years. Tilt back two of the Emerald Isle’s best, Jameson or Bushmills whiskey, in an authentic Irish pub atmosphere at the Irish Embassy, P.J. O’Brien, Allen’s, Dora Keogh (141 Danforth Ave., 416-778-1804) or Fionn MacCool’s.

William Duncan, a prosperous merchant from Ireland, built a Gothic-style farmhouse for his son, David, in 1865 on land located at Don Mills and York Mills roads. A renovation in the late 1980s honoured the home’s original grandeur with crystal chandeliers and sconces. Today, the David Duncan House is a fine dining establishment that serves steak and seafood.

A boisterous bunch for more than 40 years, The Irish Rovers rollicks into Roy Thomson Hall with Celtic classics on March 7 at 8 p.m. For tickets ($29.50 to $59.50), call 416-872-4255.

Does emerald jewellery really help celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Does it really matter? It’s as good of a reason as any to splurge on some brilliant gemstones at Bloor Street jewelers like Royal de Versailles, Tiffany’s, Birks, Cartier and Mappins.

A favourite for more than 20 years, Scaramouche continues to please with its house-smoked Irish organic salmon appetizer ($19) with pickled red onions, arugula and cucumber tossed in a tarragon vinaigrette, plus quail egg, potato gaufrette and a horseradish smoked-salmon cream.

Like any parade, it’s a bit more kitschy than classy, but for the festive factor, it’s worth mentioning the Toronto St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It’s one of the largest in the world and this year is its 20th anniversary. On March 18 at noon, the one-and-a-half-hour procession heads east on Bloor Street from Devonshire Place (near old Varsity Stadium), south on Yonge Street and finishes on Queen Street at Nathan Philips Square.—Anne Gibson and Linda Luong

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