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St. Patrick's Day
March 17th

St. Patrick's Day is Ireland's greatest national holiday as well as a holy day. The date marks the anniversary of the death of the missionary who became the patron saint of Ireland. It is a happy holiday for the Irish wherever they may be - in Dublin, New York City, Boston, or San Francisco. The day celebrated with parades, speeches, festive dinners, and dances. Green is the color of the day, with thousands of little cloth shamrocks worn even by those whose forefathers never touched the shores of Ireland.

It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. At the age of sixteen, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family's estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian.

The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place not in Ireland, but in the United States. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City on March 17, 1762. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers to reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as fellow Irishmen serving in the English army. Suddenly, annual St. Patrick's Day parades became a show of strength for Irish Americans, as well as a must-attend event for a slew of political candidates. In 1948, President Truman attended New York City 's St. Patrick's Day parade, a proud moment for the many Irish whose ancestors had to fight stereotypes and racial prejudice to find acceptance in America.

Leprechauns

Leprechauns are little make-believe fairies from Ireland. They are the little old men who are shoemakers for the fairies. They usually stand about 2 feet tall. Treasure hunters can often track down a leprechaun by the sound of his shoemaker's hammer. The legend is that if you catch one you can force him to tell you where he hides his gold.

The Leprechaun
By Robert Dwyer Joyce (1830-83)

In a shady nook one moonlit night,
A leprahaun I spied
In scarlet coat and cap of green,
A cruiskeen by his side.
'Twas tick, tack, tick, his hammer went,
Upon a weeny shoe,
And I laughed to think of a purse of gold,
But the fairy was laughing too.

With tip-toe step and beating heart,
Quite softly I drew night.
There was mischief in his merry face,
A twinkle in his eye;
He hammered and sang with tiny voice,
And sipped the mountain dew;
Oh! I laughed to think he was caught at last,
But the fairy was laughing, too.

As quick as thought I grasped the elf,
"Your fairy purse," I cried,
"My purse?" said he, "'tis in her hand,
That lady by your side."
I turned to look, the elf was off,
And what was I to do?
Oh! I laughed to think what a fool I'd been,
And, the fairy was laughing too.

The Jig's Up

The leprechauns are laughing
For their day is finally here
The legends and the folklore
Seep through the atmosphere
The dancers are all ready
An Irish jig is in the air
The walls of the pubs are bursting
There is not an empty chair
As the night becomes the morning,
The barman leads the song
From Danny Boy to Irish Eyes
The serenade goes on.
Then a husky voice is heard to say
Make this your final stein
For St. Patrick's day is over
At it's time Gentlemen it's time.

The Luck Of The Irish

Finding a four-leaf clover
The wearing of the green
Kissing the blarney stone

Blarney Stone

Blarney stone The Blarney Stone is a stone set in the wall of the Blarney Castle tower in the Irish village of Blarney. Kissing the stone is supposed to bring the kisser the gift of persuasive eloquence. The legend says that an old woman cast a spell on the stone to reward a king who had saved her from drowning. Kissing the stone while under the spell gave the king the ability to speak sweetly and convincingly. It's difficult reach the stone. Kissers have to lie on their back and bend backward or downward, holding iron bars for support.

St. Patrick's Day Pinch

School children have started a little tradition of their own. They pinch classmates who don't wear green on this holiday. Wearing green is strictly a U.S. custom, as the color green is not popular in Ireland. Green is connected to the old green flag and a time when Ireland was not free. Green is also a color connected with hope and nature.

To Adopt a St. Patrick's Day Pinch, click on the image!

 

Irish Blessings

May Christ and His saints stand
between you and harm.
May and her Son
St. Patrick with his staff.
Martin with his mantle.
Bridget with her vail.
Michael with his shield.
And God over all with His strong right hand.


If a fairy, or a man, or a woman
Hath overlooked thee.
There are three greater in heaven
Who will cast all evil from thee
Into the great and terrible sea.
Pray to them, and to the seven angels of God,
And they will watch over thee.
Four corners to her bed
Four angels at her head
Mark, Matthew, Luke and John;
God bless the bed that she lies on.
New moom, new moom, God bless me
God bless this house and family.

Sayings

A man that can't laugh at himself should be given a mirror.

A man takes a drink; the drink takes a drink; the drink takes the man.

A narrow neck keeps the bottle from being emptied in one swig.

Morning is the time to pity the sober. The way they're feeling then is the best they're going to feel all day.

You can lead the horse to the well, but you can't make him drink.

Better the coldness of a friend than the sweetness of an enemy.

Be nice to them on the way up. You might meet them all on the way down.

If a man fools me once, shame on him. If he fools me twice, shame on me.

Let your anger set the sun and not rise again with it.

Irish Tradition

Many people will be eating Irish food such as Irish Stew and Corned Beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day. Corned Beef is not an Irish dish. It is what Americans think the Irish eat. A more traditional meal would be ham and cabbage or bacon and cabbage. Some say that in Ireland on St. Patrick's Day the traditional green beer is prominent. However, in Ireland, many years ago, St. Patrick's Day is considered a holy day and Pubs were not open for business. There were no parades, no drinking or wearing green. Green was considered an unlucky color.

Irish Coffee

1 shot Irish Whiskey
1 tbsp Sugar
6 oz. Coffee
Whipped Cream for garnish

 

Pre-warm a stemmed glass. Add the whiskey.
Add the sugar and stir in the coffee.
Float the whipped cream on top.
Drink the coffee through the cream.
Do not stir after adding the cream.

My Wild Irish Rose

My Wild Irish Rose,
The sweetest flower that grows.
You may search everywhere,
But none can compare with my wild Irish Rose.

My Wild Irish Rose,
The dearest flower that grows.
And someday for my sake,
She may let me take,
The bloom from my wild Irish Rose

 

Erin Go Bragh (Ireland Forever)

Adopted St. Patrick's Blinkies

Proper credit for the adopted St. Patricks's Day blinkies below can be viewed by clicking on the individual blinkie. Thank you to the artists.