The perception that St. Patrick's Day is entirely about bar hopping and beer-induced revelry is not entirely true. While there are many celebrations that certainly are centered around indulging, there are plenty of other ways people -- young and old -- can enjoy St. Patrick's Day without a drink in hand.
The following are creative ways to celebrate not only St. Patrick's Day, but Irish history as well.
* Make a traditional Irish dish. Forget the corned beef and cabbage; ask a true Irishman or woman what they remember from their mother's or grandmother's cooking and then try that recipe.
It may include boiling potatoes, meats and other vegetables together, but at least you'll know your dinner will be different from the scores of people who are eating an overly processed slice of beef. Select among Irish stew or coddle, or try a traditional Irish breakfast instead of dinner or lunch.
* Take a trip to Ireland. Why not celebrate Irish culture right where it was created, on the Emerald Isle itself? Visit the museums, tour the countryside and spend quality time within the Dublin city limits. Find out if you can meet up with a local or a distant relative to get a more unique experience. You may want to postpone your trip to the summer when the weather will be more pleasant.
* Read Irish authors. There are many legendary writers of Irish ancestry. Whether you enjoy writers of the past, such as James Joyce or Bram Stoker, or want to delve into more contemporary pieces from Roddy Doyle or Paul Muldoon, there are many literary gems with Irish heritage at the ready.
* Play an Irish game. Kids and adults can line up to play "Plainy Clappy," a game that involves a ball and a wall. Each player takes a turn throwing a ball against a wall and catching it in the ways prescribed by the song they are chanting: "Plainy, clappy, rolley, to backey, hippy, tippy, a jelly bag and basket."
* Learn the Irish language. Did you know that though still an official language, the Irish language is only spoken by 3 percent of the population of Ireland, primarily in regions known as "Gaeltacht." To learn "Cupla Focail," or "a few words," there are many resources both in print and digital form, and some include phonetic spellings to help with pronunciation.
* Find an Irish rocker to enjoy. Irish music isn't entirely about the collective works of U2.
There are many other prolific bands and performers that hail from Ireland. For such a small country, Ireland has made a large impact on modern music. Rory Gallagher and Van Morrison are two Irish artists from the 1960s. The 70s saw hard rocking Thin Lizzy as well as the groups The Radiators and The Boomtown Rats. The Pogues, Sinead O'Connor, The Cranberries, The Frames, and Snow Patrol are some of the more modern-day musical artists from Ireland.
Whether you're Irish for the day or have Irish in your blood, there are several alcohol-free ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.