Home Victoria Festivals and Events Calendar St. Patrick’s Day Activities in Victoria Victoria’s St. Patrick’s-Themed Irish Whiskey Hooley

Victoria’s St. Patrick’s-Themed Irish Whiskey Hooley

Victoria's Irish Whiskey Hooley

Hosted by the Greater Victoria Festival Society, Irish Whiskey Hooley is a St. Patrick’s-themed whiskey-tasting event at the Irish Times Pub in March.

In 2024 the 6th edition of the event took place on Sunday, March 10th.

If you’re a whiskey fan, then this is an annual event that you don’t want to miss! At it you can sample over a dozen different drinks with snacks, costumes and music on hand.


St. Patrick's Day Partiers


Irish Whiskey Hooley Whiskey-Tasting Party in Victoria

The Irish Whiskey Hooley event is a St. Patrick’s Day celebration that combines whiskey tasting with a fun atmosphere and entertainment. It’s an ages 19+ event and there are a limited number of tickets sold.

Irish Whiskey Hooley began in 2018. The 2021 event was cancelled due to the pandemic, but it returned on March 13th in 2022 and then again on March 19th in 2023. In 2024 it happens on Sunday, March 10th.

In addition to being a lot of fun, the party serves as a fundraiser for the Greater Victoria Festival Society’s St. Patrick’s Family Festival which is free and takes place on the same day.

The term “hooley” means an Irish party and one that normally includes music. Victoria’s Irish Whiskey Hooley isn’t a suit and tie formal whiskey tasting event. Rather, it’s meant to be a more casual and fun time! It’s a party! Attendees are encouraged to wear costumes, and there are prizes awarded to the best-dressed.


St. Patrick's Day Festival


Location and Admission

Irish Whiskey Hooley takes place at the Irish Times Pub located at 1200 Government Street in Victoria. Named the best Irish Pub in North America by the Irish Pubs Global Awards in 2017, Irish Times is a fairly big place with two levels. It’s also home to plenty of live performances throughout the year.

The whiskey-tasting event took place on March 10th in 2023, so on the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day. The same as the previous couple of years, the event ran from noon until 3:00 pm. In a typical year there are only 150 or so tickets available.

Tickets cost $75 in 2023 (which was the same as the year before). They have to be purchased in advance online. Prices each year are the same for everyone, and, as already mentioned, it’s a 19+ event, so no minors are allowed in!

The St. Patrick’s Day Festival happens on the same day some years (as was the case in 2023). In 2024, however, the festival happens on March 17th, so exactly one week later. The family-friendly festival t takes place on Government Street between Yates Street and Fort Street (so pretty much right outside the Irish Times Pub). Everyone can attend the outdoor event, including children of all ages.

You have to pay to attend the adults-only Irish Whiskey Hooley event. The family-friendly activities that take place outside on Government Street, however, are free.


Jameson Whiskey Sample Hosts
Irish Hooley Whiskey Sampling Station


What to Expect at the Irish Whiskey Hooley

The centerpiece of the Irish Whiskey Hooley event is the whiskey tasting. Each person has the chance to sample a variety of different whiskeys and there are experts on hand to give information about them. There are also usually samples of gin. To complement the drinks there are light snacks served throughout the event as well.

Attendees receive  16 or so tokens which they can redeem for sample glasses of whiskey. Each sample is a quarter of an ounce, so in total people get 4 ounces. Additional tokens are also available for purchase. In 2022 you could try a selection of 8 different Jameson brand whiskeys. 2024 will likely be similar.

Each attendee also receives a special souvenir tasting glass that they can keep, as well as a small notebook to take notes on the different samples. There is live music and other entertainment, and people are encouraged to get up and enjoy themselves over the course of the party.

Costumes are not required, but there are prizes for the best ones. Whether you want to dress up in green or something else to show your spirit, it’s highly encouraged!


Black Angus at Irish Times Pub
Black Angus at the Irish Times Pub


St. Patrick’s Day Festival

As mentioned above, on top of being a fun event in its own right, the Whiskey Hooley serves as a fundraiser for the Greater Victoria Festival Society‘s other St. Patrick’s Day celebration which happens outside at around the same time on the street.

The St. Patrick’s Family Festival usually takes place either the day of or just before St. Patrick’s Day. The family-friendly event includes music, dance performances, food, vendor stalls, arts and crafts activities, and more. It’s free to attend as well.

The festival takes place on Sunday, March 17th, in 2024. It runs from around 11:00 am until 3:00 pm.


St. Patrick’s Day Festival Video

To give you an idea of what the St. Patrick’s Day Festival looks like outside on Government Street, check out the following video. The music you’ll hear in the video is by the BC Fiddle Orchestra with Daniel Lapp and the dancers you’ll see are from the O’Brien School of Irish Dance.



Other Information

For more information about Irish Whiskey Hooley, visit the Greater Victoria Festival Society website.

To learn more about the pub, see our article about the Irish Times.

Some of the many other events hosted by the same organization include the following:

Other articles that might be of interest include the following: