How The Irish Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

For those who received the 40 Dublin Reports during our four years living in Dublin, much of this post is from my wife Jules’s 11th report.

“Everyone seems to want to know “How do the Irish celebrate St. Pat’s?” We didn’t really know because last March 17 we were in Prague. St. Pat’s is a very inexpensive time to leave Ireland, what with all the empty planes flying out after dropping off half of Europe in Dublin. This year we stayed and we are glad we did. The mood was great, largely due to a history-making string of gorgeous weather. It’s been sunny and warm for weeks on end.

“In Dublin there is a pretty big parade (not quite like an American one, but creative and fun nonetheless), accompanied by a four day festival (carnival rides, music, drama). The Irish are a bit amazed and slightly worried……that they are becoming too American in their celebration. Until recently all the decorations, the wearing of the green and silly hats, and flag waving were largely an American and Irish expat phenomenon. The Irish actually ask, when they see this stuff coming here, “Are we losing our Irishness?” However, I sense that the collective wringing of hands is slowly being steamrolled over by the compelling appeal of all the “imported” fun.

“But that crazy “American” stuff is still employed only in the public domain, not at home.

“My American friend Anne emailed a request for insider tips on how to host a St. Patrick’s celebration. She was having a brunch and wanted to amuse her guests with authentic Irish foods, games, or traditions.

“Below is what my Irish friends advised, (after they stopped laughing and saying things like “It’s only you Americans who have green milkshakes and rivers. Games? We don’t have any St. Pat’s games.”)

“1. Get up late because you have the day off.
2. Go to Mass.
3. If you are really ambitious fry up some rashers and sausages.
4. Go outside and see what is open (little) and maybe go to the parade if forced.
5. If it is raining, go to a pub.
6. If it is not raining, go to the pub just a little later.
7. Go home and read the paper.”

Today, one thing the Irish would not think of doing is going on-line to design their own postage stamp for the day. Stateside, we can do that at Zazzle.com or we can steal the design of AnnaArt from Queensland. (Why is an Australian designing American postage stamps?)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day / La Fheile Padraigh!

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