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A Few Things About St Patrick’s Day

Now that you are hopefully recovered from your St. Paddy’s day celebrations, here are a few things you might not know about St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick in the Nuremberg Chronicle
St. Patrick wasn’t an Irishman. Most historians think he was a Roman citizen of Briton. He was captured by Irish raiders and was a slave shepherd in Ireland for six years. He escaped slavery, and then returned to Ireland to convert Ireland to Christianity. He had a steadfast purpose even though the Pagan citizens weren’t always happy to be converted. He is now the patron saint of predominantly Christian Ireland.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin

In Ireland St. Patrick’s Day is a holy day of obligation, so people will be in church. As for the wearing of the green, well shamrocks will do, nobody needs green clothing.

Of course it is much different here in the US. St.Paddy’s Day is a day to celebrate Irish heritage. At first it was a way to take pride in a heritage that was not always a point of pride. The Irish were not welcome immigrants during the 1800s and early 1900s. They were poor, uneducated and Catholic. Celebrating St. Patrick’s day was a way to make being Irish something to be proud of rather than something to be ashamed of.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade, DC
Now everyone wants to get in on being Irish, so there are St. Paddy’s day parades and drinking green beer, really a big party.

Me with corned beef and cabbage

I made corned beef and cabbage, I cooked it in Guinness, so it was terrific. I know that corned beef and cabbage aren’t really Irish food. It is Irish American food. When the Irish came to America they couldn’t afford their usual bacon or lamb, so they ate corned (preserved) beef. I like corned beef, but I’m Irish American, not just Irish, so I had no problem eating it. I put mustard on it too. Delicious. I did make traditional Irish soda bread.

As far as green beer – no way. Why would I put green dye in perfectly good beef? My friends and I drank boilermakers: Guinness with a shot of Jameson dropped into it. The Jameson and the Guinness perfectly complemented each other.

Margaret Corbett and Joseph Koetting on their wedding day

The best part of St. Paddy’s was a chance to get together with friends and toast our Irish ancestors. I remember mine for their courage to come to America in hopes of starting a good life. I definitely have benefited from their struggles.


Published inGeneralIrish traditions

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