Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Sober St. Patrick's Day?

Spectators lining streets to view St. Patrick's day parade, Ireland, in 1905. Photo from National Library of Ireland.

Today is St. Patrick’s Day.  For some Americans, it is an excuse to get rip-roaring drunk.  Given that a high percentage of those vomiting in some toilet or alley way are in their early twenties (or younger), I think back to times in Ireland when St. Patrick’s Day was considered a Holy Day. 

The Catholic Church and the tourism officials have vacillated on this issue (“Yes: hoist the pint! or No: you can wait till after Lent.) The Irish-Americans held the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Manhattan in 1848, while the Irish celebrated with a parade in 1903.

It comes down to politics, really. Until the 70s, there was a ban on selling in pubs on March 17.  In 1995, the tourist industry saw new opportunities to throw open the pub doors for visitors and residents alike.

Many in Ireland observe March 17 as a Holy Day; it falls during Lent and should be give respect.


If I see one more shirt exalting the Irish and its drinking, I will also find a toilet or alley way.

Calls for an end to drinking culture on Paddy's Day. Photo by Photocall Ireland.
Get your Irish on

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I'm Irish and I love it!

Everyone is Irish!

22 comments:

  1. I grew up in NY and went to the parade most years because my dad always marched. He was the head of the Bronx AOH. We would take an hour long train ride downtown, find our spot along the route and scream out when Dad and his brigade went by. Sometimes, my brother would march with him. The day ended with us all eating in a Horn and Hardart Automat where, with a handful of nickels, a family could choose food that was behind a little window. They had the best Mac and Cheese.


    The AOH were drinkers though and their meetings were held in bars. This did not please my Mom.

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    1. Now THAT is the type of parade that thrills the Irish in me! Thanks for sharing the memories.

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  2. Funny that the Irish don't usually drink on that day.

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    1. That was in the past, altho it is still considered a Holy Day. Certain Holy Days are alcohol-free.

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  3. I did not know I was Irish until I was in college and someone explained my last name was Irish, as well as the last names of my dad's maternal relatives. O'Malley, come on. Hogue. I give you straight up Irish. My dad was ashamed; apparently my mother's grandmother (straight up German) referred to my dad as Shanty Irish. Actually the truth was worse; my dad never spoke of his childhood in the Children's Home, he and four siblings abandoned by parents and relatives alike. All of the above notwithstanding, Erin go Bragh.

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    1. Not all Irish are dedicated to the family. My gr-gr-grandfather and his brother were raised by a family after their father left.
      Erin go Bragh!

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  4. Everyone does say they've got Irish in them... or Indian. lol :)
    Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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    1. At one time, 3 out of 5 Americans were part Irish. Now, I don't know. In my own way back family (1600s) we had an Indian ancestor on my mom't side. Then in the 1850s on my dad's side, we also had an Indian ancestor. So maybe a drop of Native American blood?

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  5. Leave it to drunk nuts to go and screw everything up

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    1. No sense of history! Potato Famine? Prison ships? Oliver Cromwell?

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  6. If I see one more drunken fool I may have to throw up too

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    1. To celebrate St. Patrick, who brought Christianity to a land of pagans, by hoisting green beer is just plain stupid.

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  7. I never understood why people get drunk.
    I suppose human stupidity is boundless.
    Happy St Patrick's Day!

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    1. Drunkenness has a numbing effect or lets the drinker irresponsible for for their actions in their own minds. In infuriating irregardless.

      Backatch..

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  8. Alcohol abuse is part of my family history. I would rather poke my eyes out than go out with the set intention of getting as drunk as possible. And I can't think of many more disrespectful ways of 'celebrating' another culture. Climbing down from my soap box now.

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  9. In fact the Irish in Ireland don't do a lot of the celebratory things that take place in the rest of the world. Used to have an Irish friend who would get so mad at all the antics of St. Patrick's.

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    1. When we lived there, managing a hotel with a bar, St. Patrick's Day was empty, which didn't disturb us. And you are correct: it is a quiet day in the Irish community. Only the tourist hoisted green pints.

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  10. I do have some Irish in my background, but back far enough that I'm not sure where it is. But as I don't drink, I don't really notice all those that do. I guess I wear blinders, figuratively.

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    1. Blinders are good as far as they go. It is a bad reputation for Ireland if it is only known as leprechauns and beer--so much more to that precious country.

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  11. The Saturday before the holiday is the big day to celebrate here. Many from college age up, start as early as 8 am, stop off at the noon parade, and keep on going until they drop. I wish they'd come up with a better tradition.

    Julie

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!