St .Patrick’s day is known all over the world and celebrated on March 17th in observance of the death of St. Patrick who brought Christianity to Ireland and died in the Fifth Century.   What began as a religious feast day in the 17th century has evolved into a variety of festivals across the globe celebrating Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, and a whole lot of green.

Traditionally in Ireland, we would go to Catholic Mass in the morning, and then there would be a parade in the city center. It was in later years that the celebration grew and became a great fun day.

One tradition in Ireland called “drowning the shamrock” involves putting a shamrock at the bottom of a cup and filling it up with whiskey or beer before it’s drank.  The wet shamrock is then either drunk or tossed over the shoulder for good luck.  There is also more of an effort made to use the Irish language during the week of St Patrick’s Day.  With that being said, below are a few Irish phrases you might hear on the 17th in Ireland:


St. Patrick’s Day:  La Fheile Padraig / law ae-leh paw-rig

Pint of Guinness, please: Pointa Guinness, le do thoil / pyunta Guinness leh duh hull

Kiss me, I’m Irish: Tobhair pog dom, taim Eireannach / TOO-irr pogue dum, toyme AY-ron-ock

St. Patrick’s Day blessing upon you: Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh! / ban-ock-tee na fay-lah paw-rig ur-iv

Here are some popular facts associated with St. Patrick’s day:

The Shamrock is a young sprig of clover, used as a symbol of Ireland.  Shamrocks have been symbolic of many things over the years. According to legend, the shamrock was a sacred plant to the Druids of Ireland because its leaves formed a triad, and three was a mystical number in the Celtic religion.  St. Patrick used the shamrock in the 5th century to illustrate the Holy Trinity as he introduced Christianity to Ireland.

Four Leaf Clover: is a rare variation of the common three-leaf clover. According to tradition, such clovers bring good luck: In addition, each leaf is believed to represents something: the first is for faith, the second is for hope, the third is for love, and the fourth is for luck.

Leprechauns: A Leprechaun is a type of fairy in Irish folklore. They are usually depicted as little bearded men, wearing a coat and hat, who partake in mischief. They spend their time making and mending shoes and have a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  If captured by a human, they often grant three wishes in exchange for their freedom.


Corned beef and cabbage: Corned beef was used as a substitute for bacon by Irish-American immigrants in the late 19th century. Corned beef and cabbage is the Irish-American variant of the Irish dish of bacon and cabbage.

Here are some Fun Facts you might not know about St. Patricks Day and Ireland.(Catholic Online)

  • St. Patrick wasn’t originally Irish.  He was born in England.  St. Patrick was a slave.
  • St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland !!  Actually, there is no evidence that snakes ever existed in Ireland.  The term “snakes” may be figurative and refer to pagan religious beliefs and practices rather than reptiles or amphibians.
  • The original color associated with St. Patrick is blue.  Green was associated with the country later, presumably because of the greenness of the countryside, which is so because Ireland receives plentiful rainfall. Today, the country is also referred to as the “Emerald Isle.”
  • The shamrock is not the official symbol of Ireland – The Harp is.
  • There are more Irish in the USA than there are in Ireland !!!  An estimated 34 million Americans have Irish ancestry.  The population in Ireland is only about 5 million.

As Irish immigrants spread out over the United States, many cities developed their own traditions.


Boston, comes out ahead for historic significance alone.  Its South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade is the world’s first recorded parade for the holiday, first hosted in 1737 (actually beating Dublin Ireland by almost two centuries). As you’d imagine, the parade is quite the spectacle, with floats, bagpipers, marching bands and more than 850,000 attendees.

New York City has the largest parade on record, drawing over 2 million attendees every year, it also boasts the longest continuously running parade, which begins at 44th Street and proceeds up Fifth Avenue, past the beautiful St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 50th Street. The parade finishes roughly five to six hours later on 86th Street.

In Chicago, they dye the river Green every St. Patrick’s day.

Savannah is home to one of the oldest official US St. Patrick’s day parades, dating back to 1813.

In Kansas City, a Gaelic Mass starts the day before a huge St. Patrick ’s Day parade.

Scranton PA, also start the day with a traditional mass at St .Peter’s Cathedral followed by their huge parade which draws over 150,000 attendees.

The Philadelphia parade is also one of the longest running parades, dating back to 1771 and draws upwards of 500,000 people every year.

That’s just to name a few of the Parades and celebrations in the US.

So there you have it – wherever you celebrate this year – enjoy the “Craic” . 

Slainte !! (Cheers to your good health)

All the best

Dervila & Emer


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