Erin Go Barf
March 13, 2012 7:20 AM   Subscribe

How NOT to celebrate St. Patrick's Day
posted by Renoroc (181 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Related: Paddy, Not Patty
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:22 AM on March 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


"We kicked down the back door, but then there was a metal door"
posted by thelonius at 7:24 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's a rough day to be of Scottish extraction let me tell you.
posted by The Whelk at 7:27 AM on March 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


You'll get your revenge at the Festival of Summerisle.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:29 AM on March 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


I've seen plenty of (most young) people in Ireland wearing a (Irish or county) flag as a cape.
posted by prolific at 7:30 AM on March 13, 2012


Full of win just for this one: Try To Use a Cupla Focail.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:32 AM on March 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Truth, from the article.
An amateur drunk is like an astronaut: boldly exploring an amazing new world of possibility, but you need a support crew of experienced and relatively sober people to make sure you get back home again.
St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo, New Years Eve. Amateur Nights, all of them.

Professional drunks stay home. It's just not safe out there.
posted by eriko at 7:33 AM on March 13, 2012 [37 favorites]


and applause for the post title
posted by eriko at 7:34 AM on March 13, 2012 [11 favorites]


Amen eriko. St. Patrick's Day is like if we had one day a year where anyone without a driver's license can just hop in a car and go nuts! It's fun!!
posted by theodolite at 7:36 AM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ugh I hate St. Patrick's Day as it is my birthday and is always overrun by stupid drunks... and some of them are my friends. Despite my (30th!) birthday actually falling on a Saturday this year I've ceded the day. Will be celebrating the night before and leaving the green beer and mickey punches (Is that a thing? Friends started doing it last year and it doesn't make sense to me) to those that crave them. Aside from stealing birthday thunder, I've never been a huge drinker and when society celebrates excessive drunkeness it tends to skeeve me out... sigh.
posted by yellowbinder at 7:42 AM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was the only kid in my (Catholic, why do you ask) gradeschool class that wasn't Irish, Italian, or German. So we celebrated St. Paddy's, Columbus Day, and...well Anheuser-Busch is in town, so the Germans didn't feel left out. Even the Poles do Kasimir Pulaski day...So this Czech/Croat/Spaniardgrew to despise these silly nationalistic fake-holidays. Bah.
posted by notsnot at 7:42 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Interestingly, this weekend my Irish was vetted by a new waitress at a local restaurant; a friend has drilled some Irish into me (like, maybe, seven expressions), and this weekend I got into a conversation with the people at the next table over when they were showing off to that waitress (one of the guys there was trying to remember the definition of "seannachi", she couldn't remember either, and I knew). I mentioned a couple of the other things I knew, and she confirmed that not only do I pronounce Irish correctly, I speak with an identifiable West Cork accent. But short of actually saying "go raith maibh agat" to that waitress if I see her this weekend (it means "thank you"), that's all the Irish I'll be using.

....I've also had to have a couple of uncomfortable conversations with my friend and her family, who've asked me some interesting questions over the years about "what the hell is up with the green beer" and such. I got set straight about the politics really early on; her uncle was in a special unit of the Irish police that kept an eye on IRA activity in the Republic, and she's heard a lot of horror stories and has always been very solidly anti-violence as a result when it comes to Northern Ireland. I'm pretty glad that she's never had to hear how many people have mouthed off about the situation over here; she'd probably go totally postal. I also keep thinking of Bono's rant in the middle of RATTLE AND HUM.

...At least there's better options for music. The very first time I visited my friend's family, her teenage brother and I were in some gift shop somewhere that had this god-awful chirpy muzak playing - choral arrangements of "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," crap like that -- and he saw me reacting to that and said, "I just want you to know - this is the sort of music that embarrasses us."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:50 AM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo, New Years Eve. Amateur Nights, all of them.

You forgot Mardi Gras.
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:50 AM on March 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Mardi Gras is more like the Olympics, full of professional amateurs who've been training all year for this.
posted by The Whelk at 7:52 AM on March 13, 2012 [11 favorites]


I'm a 4th/10th generation Canadian. My only nationalistic holiday is Civic Holiday.
posted by jb at 7:53 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was thinking that was maybe crankier than it needed to be, but then I got to this line, and all was forgiven:
We didn't so much fight them off as cease being worth the trouble. Our most famous battle was when a pack of gobshites, mounting a guerrilla campaign against the mightiest naval power in the world, decided to gather in the one government building within range of battleships on the river and declare "Here we are!"
And one more hear, hear to you, eriko. If you need the calendar's permission to get loaded, you're probably not much fun to drink with.
posted by gompa at 7:55 AM on March 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


that list was dumb. blah blah blah st. patrick's day.

what? it's not today, at 9:56 a.m.?
posted by IvoShandor at 7:56 AM on March 13, 2012


I don't doubt that I'll be drunk this Saturday, but then again I was drunk last night.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:57 AM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Last year, I lived above an Irish Bar.

My son was born on March 9th.

Yeah, I had a week old baby above an Irish Bar on St. Patrick's Day.

This year I'm celebrating not having to live through THAT again.
posted by sonika at 7:57 AM on March 13, 2012 [23 favorites]


My parish growing up was as Irish as it could get (Monsignor Feeney for crying out loud). There may have been 3 other Polish kids besides me. Needless to say we didn't celebrate Pulaski Day.

Oddly enough, I've been to Ireland and never met a single drunken Irishman despite spending significant time in pubs. Or maybe I just couldn't tell.
posted by tommasz at 7:58 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Welcome to Champaign/Urbana, Illinois. We are already waaaay ahead of you, having celebrated Unofficial St. Patrick's Day weeks ago. This venerable holiday was initiated to ensure that no education-seeking shirking student would miss the bastardized holiday celebration if it were to fall during the college's spring break.

And of course, the student body will be standard bearer of bad behavior when o'fficial day rolls around.
posted by obscurator at 8:00 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I read this article with the voice of Dara Ó Briain in my head.
posted by Pendragon at 8:02 AM on March 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


To those with Croat and or Bosnian descent October 25 is Queen Katarina Vukčić-Kosaća's death anniversary. Both Croats and Muslims quietly acknowledge the day, by commemorating her life. No drunkeness, shenanigans, hooliganism or carry-on necessary!

St. Patrick's day used to be a day Catholic Irish people FASTED! This was to my mind, a more fitting observance.

As for 'cupla focal', Check!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:05 AM on March 13, 2012


I went with Dylan Moran's voice myself.
posted by The Whelk at 8:06 AM on March 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I've never been a huge drinker and when society celebrates excessive drunkeness it tends to skeeve me out... sigh.

I'm just going to use this space to talk about Purim, because I doubt there's a post on it coming up and, hey, everyone could use a bit of an education about how other cultures get shitfaced too, right? Right.

If you don't know, Purim is a Jewish holiday celebrating the events in the Book of Esther. And, depending on the tradition of your particular brand of Judaism, you're supposed to get drunk to celebrate. And I don't mean, like, you have a glass of wine or two. You're supposed to drink, at the very least, more than you generally ever drink. If you don't get a good buzz going, god ain't happy. Also, you get to wear costumes to commemorate . In America, this also turns into a full analogue of Halloween for Orthodox/Hasidic kids, wherein they go door-to-door for candy.

I live in a neighborhood, in Brooklyn, with a good amount of Hasidic Jews. It's not Boro Park or Williamsburg, but there's like three or four shuls walking distance from my house, at least. So, as I was walking my dog on Thursday night at around a quarter to seven, shit was going down. Music was blasting everywhere, the men were singing (each in his own key, in the words of Tom Lehrer) and the shades to the celebrating houses were open to the parties inside, which, in turn, were spilling out into the streets. It was pretty great.

There were at least three unattended puddles of vomit before I ever turned on the block where the parties were. And everyone was carousing. One guy, maybe in his 30s, was just blowing chunks right in the street. Volley after volley. And his friends were just standing around and waiting for him to finish. Again, this was 6:45 PM and he was about 200 lbs and he was just hurling like there's no tomorrow. This was a dude whom you would generally see in his suit and hat and beard, power-walking to services on Saturday, and think "that is one pious motherfucker." And, there he was, emptying himself out and you just know he was going back in to load up again. The night was young, after all.

Anyway, walking my dog past a shul on Sunday, I saw a couple of guys in their late teens discussing the events of the holiday. One of them was pointing to the steps and explaining to another:

"You were laying on this step, and your head was on this step, and there was vomit all over the steps."
"Did someone clean it up?"

So, that's Purim.
posted by griphus at 8:08 AM on March 13, 2012 [21 favorites]


I'm a little surprised to discover this guy can hear an audible difference between "Patty" and "Paddy" in North American English
posted by Hoopo at 8:09 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I read it in Dylan McDermott's voice; I kept waiting for it to get awesome, but it just sort of petered out.
posted by Etrigan at 8:10 AM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


St. Patrick's day used to be a day Catholic Irish people FASTED!

*raises eyebrows* Huh. My friend has always said that in Ireland, it's a day when they can take "a day off" from Lent. At least, it's what her church did...

In related news: anyone else hear that Hoboken cancelled its St. Patrick's Day parade after 26 years because the spectators were all getting too drunk and acting too stupid?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:13 AM on March 13, 2012


Our most famous battle was when a pack of gobshites, mounting a guerrilla campaign against the mightiest naval power in the world, decided to gather in the one government building within range of battleships on the river and declare "Here we are!"

This description made me laugh, but since I know very little Irish history I have no idea if it's accurate. What event is he actually referring to?
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:14 AM on March 13, 2012


My goal in life is to turn Pulaski Day into a nationwide holiday.
posted by drezdn at 8:17 AM on March 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


Locally when Saint Patrick's Day has fallen on Friday, the Bishop cleared everyone to eat corned beef.
posted by drezdn at 8:19 AM on March 13, 2012


Professional drunks stay home. It's just not safe out there.

Jesus, no kidding. The summer holidays, too - Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day. People who give me the stink-eye for drinking wine with my dinner every single day are suddenly tossing back shitty beer like water until they're puke drunk and making a spectacle of themselves.

My friends and I gather at each others' houses - or in the case of New Year's, rent a big house in Chicago for the week - carry on about our business, and watch the amateurs from the vomit-free safety of the porch.
posted by MissySedai at 8:23 AM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


With St. Patrick's falling on a Saturday, and Saturday's weather calling for sunshine and 18C, I think I'll avoid the bars and instead sit on my front porch and bask and celebrate, oh, let's say Nat King Cole's birthday.

Is there a drink called a "Sweet Lorraine"? There should be...
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:24 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


What event is he actually referring to?

The Easter Rising. It's reasonably accurate, as wise-assed self-deprecating descriptions go.
posted by gompa at 8:24 AM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Because when someone decides the most interesting part of their existence is where their parents decided to have sex, that is one horrible mess of a person.

Nicely nutshelled. St. Patrick's Day celebrations as pars pro toto for What Is Wrong With Everyone All The Time.
posted by scratch at 8:26 AM on March 13, 2012


Seconding Capt. Renault. With SPD on a Saturday, the amateur drunkenness will start earlier in the day. The beer companies have succeeded in putting well-promoted 'drinking holidays' on the calendar every two months: New Year's Eve, St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo (the latest addition, because there was too much of a gap before Memorial Day), the 4th of July, Labor Day (I think they're looking for a September alternative that's less anti-management) and Halloween (remember when it was for kids?).

But the good thing about a Saturday Patrick's Day is you won't see the guy in the office wearing the bright green business suit he bought 20 years ago (while drunk - probably on a Saturday Patrick's Day)
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:27 AM on March 13, 2012


Drunk Guy at my old local: "Gimme two Irish Carbombs!"
Irish Bartender winces, but fixes the drinks. "Here you go, two Nine-Elevens."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:30 AM on March 13, 2012 [48 favorites]


It generally annoys me that people drink on Paddys day without having first given up alcohol for lent.
posted by 13twelve at 8:31 AM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Don't release a St Patrick's themed Black and Tan shoe either.
posted by notseamus at 8:33 AM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Corned beef is actually Jewish. St. Podge's is more of an Irish-American holiday than an Irish one -- although there is a holiday of that name in Ireland, it was a minor religious holiday, and not the drunken spectacle it has become in the U.S., with traditions, such as corned beef, borrowed from immigrant neighbors.

There's always been a bit of a disconnect between the Irish and the Irish in exile, who many Irish don't really consider Irish, except where there tourism dollars (and, during the Troubles, their guns and gun money) is concerned. And so Irish people write essays about how Americans get St. P's wrong, which is true. In Ireland, there are no parades from fire and police unions, or Sons of Hibernia organizations, or whatever. Because it's an Irish-American holiday, simultaneously celebrating a lost home and a new one, which is what people in a Diaspora do.

The funny thing is that the Irish experience is now primarily one of diaspora. The Irish diaspora contains perhaps 80 million people -- 13 times the population of Ireland. And it's its own culture, or many cultures. If you listen to the music of the Pogues, created by an Irish band in London and headed by a Kent-born Irishman mostly raised in the northeast of England, their music is as much about the experience of Diaspora as it is about the experience of being Irish in Ireland. Heck, perhaps Shane McGowan's masterpiece, "Fairytale of New York," is explicitly that.

So we get a lot of things wrong on St. Pat's, from an Irish perspective. I suppose the better question is whether we get it right from an Irtish-American perspective. Mine is a holiday that includes the song "Jump Around" by House of Pain, another band that focused on the Irish-American experience. Is it Irish enough? Perhaps. It's been done in Irish.

Anyway, it's Irish-American enough for me.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:34 AM on March 13, 2012 [32 favorites]


My city has decided to extend the festivities by adding additional "Irish" drinking caravans starting two weeks (!) ago. It's only the thirteenth and I've already overheard someone puke, "Wooooooo" and then yell "GOODNIGHT GRANDMA I LOVE YOU", as well as had to threaten to turn the hose on someone outside my building screaming and pounding on her (presumably ex) boyfriend's door between the hours of two and four am. Fuck this noise.
posted by troublewithwolves at 8:37 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Alcohol is an amazing journey of self discovery if you wanted to discover how your digestive fluid tastes, I guess.
posted by LogicalDash at 8:37 AM on March 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


"The Irish don't celebrate Independence Day by guzzling hamburgers until we throw up over crates of machine guns..."

HOLY SHIT, YOU TOTALLY FUCKING SHOULD. THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 8:39 AM on March 13, 2012 [20 favorites]


I usually try to avoid St. Patrick's Day celebrations, as I usually like to keep the loud out of my drunk. However, apparently Toronto's St. Patrick's Day parade had a particularly good float commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Titanic.

I have not been able to confirm with photographic evidence, but I have heard that the float included a large banner reading "SHE WAS FINE WHEN SHE LEFT LIVERPOOL"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:49 AM on March 13, 2012


amateur hour...i drank pretty heavily and regularly for 5 or 6 years around the turn of the century, and learned within the first year of that to stay home or not far from home on St. Patrick's Day and NY Eve. Halloween was starting to go that direction 'round these parts by the time I met my wife and left all that behind.
posted by lodurr at 8:55 AM on March 13, 2012


Professional drunks stay home. It's just not safe out there.

In addition to that, my local not-fake Irish bar was particularly thieving last year, and while I expect to be ripped off on St. Patrick's Day to a certain extent, their selling me what they called a "pint", what was clearly to my professional eye just a bottle's worth in a plastic cup, and then when challenged on that fact, insisted that it was indeed a "pint", making my scant 341 mL cost eleven bucks with cover -- fuck you, Corktown Tavern. Fuck. You.

3/17 NEVAR FORGET
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:00 AM on March 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Whatever St. Patrick's Day has turned into in the USA, it is most assuredly a day that is celebrated in Ireland.

It a holiday from work, you wear a sprig of shamrock, go to mass (it's a religious holiday after all), then watch your town's parade which includes the local priest carrying around a piece of the Eucharist. A big dinner at home and then go out to the pub and celebrate.

There's no corned beef and cabbage. In fact I assume the dish they were copying is bacon and cabbage and it has nothing to do with St. Patricks Day - this ones a pure invention of the US diaspora.
posted by Long Way To Go at 9:09 AM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I read it in Bob Dylan's voice, which was nasally and hard to understand in spots. Then I read it again and found it completely different.

On a less jokey note, this short movie of a young Chinese man learning the language of Ireland was pretty sweet without turning saccharine.
posted by mosk at 9:12 AM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


The green beer/green milkshake thing is very American.

I sometimes realise that if I were American rather than English - if my ancestors had emigrated in the other direction - I too would refer to myself as 'Irish'. As an English-born person whose Irish-born relatives died before she was born (my parents and before them were Liverpudlian Catholics) and has never been to Ireland, it would seem weird to call myself 'Irish', but American folk lay more claim to their ancestry, and I quite like that. We're a nation of immigrants too to an extent, but we have this weird idea of what constitutes Britishness and Englishness which doesn't have much room for non-white, non-English speaking people.

'Coupla focail' reminded me of The Focail Song - I used to listen to a lot of Irish radio as a kid. Irish isn't as dead as you think - I've met several people who received all their secondary schooling in Irish Gaelic.
posted by mippy at 9:13 AM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Griphus, back in the 80's Purim landed on St. Patrick's Day. Saturday Night Live did a pretty funny sketch about it (at least I thought it was hysterical, but then I was 14 or so) - can't find video for it online, unfortunately.
posted by Mchelly at 9:15 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


The weird desire of everyone to be irish brings to mind my second St. Pat's day in college. Sitting in the pub with a McTernan and a Dolan (both very Catholic in upbringing) arguing about the morality of supporting the IRA. "They're all terrorists" was the argument of one, and that was the first time I'd ever heard a catholic with conspicuous Irish ethnicity express that view. (The other didn't disagree, but seemed to take the view it was acceptable to at least praise the more-justified terrorist.)

Later I would often think of the scene in Blazing Saddles where they'll let in all the other offensively-referenced minorities and ethnicities, but won't accept the irish. I thought it was funny for years, but didn't really get it the way it was intended -- I saw it as a sort of reductio ad absurdum (because everyone wants to be irish, right?), until I heard a quote from George Templeton Strong on the that Burnsian documentary New York. (I'll paraphrase because I've never had luck tracking down a linkable version of this quote.) Strong was a patrician attorney, an nth generation blue-blood New Yorker. He's walking down the street one day and comes upon a tragic scene: An Irishman has just been killed in a wagon accident, and several women are standing around wailing.

Describing it in his journal later, Strong wrote in essence, 'It's hard to believe we were of the same species.'

So, I try to remember that when I think about the history of ethnicity in America: There was a time when some Americans questioned whether Irish people were human.

(And this isn't even to mention that goofy old time when Henry Cromwell sold tens of thousands of irish women into slavery in Jamaica, because obviously these heathens didn't have souls he needed to worry about....)
posted by lodurr at 9:15 AM on March 13, 2012


Unless you're strength incarnate and can list "punching Nazis" on your tax return, wearing your flag is hugely disrespectful.

In a rant featuring the Irish flag, there's some heavy irony there.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:16 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm glad eating corned beef and cabbage is still okay.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:18 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


So glad I'm spending the weekend in my basement playing D&D. (Guess we'll buy some Guinness though. And listen to this.)
posted by JoanArkham at 9:20 AM on March 13, 2012


My goal in life is to turn Pulaski Day into a nationwide holiday.

Not Dyngus Day? I am disappoint.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:21 AM on March 13, 2012


I'm one of about a dozen Irish emigrants and expats working in an office in Toronto. Most of us, after several years in North America, are pretty tolerant of most of the nonsense we here around this time of year (or even embrace it in many cases) but the "Saint Pattys" thing is an exception. Drives us all mental.

It a holiday from work, you wear a sprig of shamrock, go to mass (it's a religious holiday after all), then watch your town's parade which includes the local priest carrying around a piece of the Eucharist. A big dinner at home and then go out to the pub and celebrate.

This may be true where you're from but I'm a Dub and the "festival of St Patrick" or whatever they're calling the new 'n' improved two-day festival the last few years is pretty damn tacky. Admittedly the last time I went it was mostly attended by teens spoiling for trouble, immigrants and tourists, but still.
posted by jamesonandwater at 9:21 AM on March 13, 2012


i think corned beef and cabbage must have been a collision between bacon & cabbage and the traditional New England "boiled dinner."
posted by lodurr at 9:21 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ahh. The Gripin' Irish!
posted by bicyclefish at 9:21 AM on March 13, 2012


I'm a little surprised to discover this guy can hear an audible difference between "Patty" and "Paddy" in North American English

Rice paddy. Hamburger patty.

The a sounds a bit more rounded in paddy, and a bit more nasal in patty.
posted by zippy at 9:22 AM on March 13, 2012


also, we do tend to write it down rather a lot.
posted by lodurr at 9:22 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


There was a time when some Americans questioned whether Irish people were human.

Friend of mine in the army was going through historical documents of his regiment a while back. There was a batch of 19th cent. officer candidate forms, where every single Irish candidate was rejected on the basis of simply being Irish, and that being understood by the English colonial superiors to be a perfectly valid reason.

One memorable line was that a candidate was "better suited to shouldering the hod than the epaulette". Which is, you know, terrible, but still quite witty.

posted by Capt. Renault at 9:25 AM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah the difference between Paddy and Patty is all in the A sound there, Pah-de, Pat-de.
posted by The Whelk at 9:26 AM on March 13, 2012


Another way to NOT celebrate St. Patrick's Day: with a NO IRISH NEED APPLY job advertisement
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:27 AM on March 13, 2012


Oh there is that DELIGHTFUL 19th century political cartoon convention of portraying the Irish as apes.
posted by The Whelk at 9:27 AM on March 13, 2012


This one St. Patrick's Day I started off at my campus pub in Kington, ON doing a century of beer. I woke up in a bus parked at a Raptors game in Toronto, ON.
posted by Fizz at 9:28 AM on March 13, 2012


Q: Whats the difference between an Irish wake and an Irish wedding?
A:One less drunk.
posted by Liquidwolf at 9:29 AM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Whelk and Capt. Renault - great, now you've started "The Hands That Built America" going through my head...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:31 AM on March 13, 2012


It's just not safe out there

This makes me sad. Days like St Patrick's Day always remind us of why in North America we're not allowed to have drinks out in public. Apparently we quite literally can't handle it. Somehow I've always been able to drink, even to excess, without barfing all over the sidewalk, starting fights, or getting belligerent and shouting at people. But that's just too much to ask of people, and for that reason, no, I can't go to the beach with friends and a box of beer on a nice summer day.

As for being annoyed with St Patrick's Day drinkers generally or that the people who are celebrating aren't observing Lent or whatever, it's just people having fun, one day out of the year, after a really dreary holiday-free start to the year. People probably shouldn't pretend to be Irish and be really obnoxious about it, but in terms of Lent you religious types have to cut us some slack. We all gotta deal with your Christmas crap for almost 2 full months every winter after all, this is one day.
posted by Hoopo at 9:33 AM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


St. Podge's is more of an Irish-American holiday than an Irish one -- although there is a holiday of that name in Ireland, it was a minor religious holiday,

Minor in comparison to Christmas, I suppose, but--while I can't quickly find a citation for when it became a Catholic holy day of obligation in Ireland--it has been since at least the 19th century. As a holy day of obligation it's one of the 8 or so most important days of the year on the Church calendar. Wikipedia says that it's been a public holiday in Ireland since 1903. The lack of drinking on that day was a 20th century thing, because the government closed down the pubs, not because the desired manner of celebration was different!
posted by Jahaza at 9:33 AM on March 13, 2012


Butte, Montana - Ireland's Fifth Province

I heard many stories about Butte when I was living in Bozeman, Montana. It's a rough mining town to begin with, but the St. Patrick's Day festivities are about as wild as Montana gets. It's the Montana version of Mardi Gras.

The director of the festivities is on her fourth DUI, which is par for the course.
posted by desjardins at 9:39 AM on March 13, 2012


In related news: anyone else hear that Hoboken cancelled its St. Patrick's Day parade after 26 years

Last year, Chicago cancelled the South Side Irish Parade because of the nuclear amount of stupid drunkeness. They brought it back this year, apparently as a "family freindly" event, but they ran it last Sunday, rather than this Saturday.

As a North Sider, I'm required by State and City law to mock the South Side, but a big problem of the South Side Irish was the fucking North Side bars chartering buses and importing pharmecutical grade 99.99% pure stupid into an area that really didn't need more stupid added. They cracked down on that. Anybody know how it went?
posted by eriko at 9:41 AM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Days like St Patrick's Day always remind us of why in North America we're not allowed to have drinks out in public.

Yeah. For many years, the St. Louis Strassenfest (German, basically Oktoberfest) and Mardi Gras were really fun times to get rather blitzed in a safe friendly atmosphere, and during the Mardi Gras parade, we made sure the kids got all the cool beads.

Then, alas, there was the horrible day where it was 75° and sunny, and the Stupid Showed up. It was never the same since. Most of them came from West County, the South County and JeffCo people were pretty much decent drunks as a class.

Sigh. I wish we'd issue drinking licenses. Hell, I'd volunteer to be an examiner.
posted by eriko at 9:45 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


As for being annoyed with St Patrick's Day drinkers generally or that the people who are celebrating aren't observing Lent or whatever, it's just people having fun, one day out of the year, after a really dreary holiday-free start to the year. People probably shouldn't pretend to be Irish and be really obnoxious about it, but in terms of Lent you religious types have to cut us some slack.

I'm not sure that the annoyance you're seeing is that kind of "tut-tut shame on them for not being moral and upright like us", it's more of a sort of "god-dammit, stop being on my side, you're making my side look stupid" kind of thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:47 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


My sophomore year of college (87) we road tripped to the University of Missouri, Rolla and crashed at a friend's frat house for a few days of Spring Break coinciding with Saint Patrick's Day. In all my years since then, I have yet to experience anything even close to the debauchery and drunkenness that occurred that weekend. And that is just the stuff I remember.

Who would have thought a small town in South Central Missouri would be that out of control for Saint Patrick's Day?
posted by COD at 9:48 AM on March 13, 2012


I don't know why some people have got the idea that corned beef isn't originally Irish. Corned beef was one of Ireland's biggest exports by the end of the seventeenth century. Cork City was a centre of the corned beef export trade before 1800, sending it all over the British Empire. Nowadays, the Cork speciality is spiced beef rather than corned beef, but corned beef certainly has a long history in Ireland.

Beef was traditionally expensive enough that corned beef was a meal for special occasions, where bacon and cabbage was more ordinary fare, but St. Patrick's Day is exactly the kind of special occasion where beef might be eaten.
posted by Azara at 9:51 AM on March 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


You know, the drinking age might be something to do with that. Until recently when ID checks got tighter (I was refused alcohol in a supermarket at Christmas and I'm 29) it was very easy in the British Isles to circumvent the legal drinking age of 18. So much so that it seemed almost amusing when I read a book about alcohol abuse that told of getting drunk at sixteen as something as shocking as having sex at twelve - here it would be rare to find a sixteen year old who's never been drunk. When I got to university, it was easy to tell the kids who'd been to boarding school or some other environment that meant they didn't get drinking out of their system early, because they placed way too much importance on alcohol and getting wasted when the rest of us had realised it was stupid by the time we were seventeen or so.

I mean, you guys have a bit of catching up to do on your friends over in the aul' country.
posted by mippy at 9:52 AM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


From Bunny Ultramod's link:

Irish Car Bomb isn't a cute name for a drink or cupcake

Sheesh. People really serve drinks named Irish Car Bomb? That'd be like walking into a bar in Belfast and ordering a Twin Towers Vino Collapso.
posted by mippy at 9:54 AM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


We've taken to calling those drinks James Joyces and the cupcake versions, "Finnegan's Cake."
posted by troika at 9:56 AM on March 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm Irish on my mother's side and I used to give up the drink for Lent, until I had a revelation on the teachings of Christ.

Nowadays I give up thinking of others.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 9:56 AM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


People really serve drinks named Irish Car Bomb?

It has its own Wikipedia entry. Its a well known drink.
posted by COD at 9:56 AM on March 13, 2012


Even the Irish Times op-ed page is on this too: Americans, if you want the full Irish, take it
posted by jamesonandwater at 9:56 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


People really serve drinks named Irish Car Bomb?

Yep. Well, assholes do. And people who don't mind getting socked in the yap ask for them.
posted by MissySedai at 9:57 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


An ex of mine took a trip to Ireland while on study aboard in the UK and the first thing he and his bros did was enter a pub and order an irish car bomb. This is the same guy that, when I visited, wanted to have dinner at a Pizza Hut Buffet. These people exist!
posted by troika at 10:00 AM on March 13, 2012


Yeah, I think that's another North American thing. I can't speak for the Irish, but having lived in a city that was blown up by an IRA bomb (though admittedly it ended in regeneration rather than death) and a country that's seen a fair few bombs before the ceasefire, I can't see how that's not astonishingly offensive.
posted by mippy at 10:00 AM on March 13, 2012


As a North Sider, I'm required by State and City law to mock the South Side, but a big problem of the South Side Irish was the fucking North Side bars chartering buses and importing pharmecutical grade 99.99% pure stupid into an area that really didn't need more stupid added. They cracked down on that. Anybody know how it went?

IIRC, the South Side St. Patrick's day was always the week before. I wasn't there, but I grew up in the area, and have heard reports that there was a lot less drunkeness than in previous years.

Another huge issue with the old South Side St. Patrick's day parade is that it was ridiculously easy to get a drink when underage. All you had to do was look about 14 and not have a parent around, and someone would buy something for you. The local Catholic high schools used to treat the next day as an unofficial holiday.

My childhood memories of the south side St. Patrick's day parade involve going over to a friends house a block off the parade route and screaming at the drunks so they wouldn't puke in her bushes.

One year her mother gave us a garden hose!
posted by dinty_moore at 10:01 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


A friend's ex-boyfriend ordered an Irish Car Bomb in an Irish pub once.

In Dublin.

He was informed, by the bartender, that the drink was colloquially referred to as a "depth charge."
posted by griphus at 10:02 AM on March 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'd wonder if gripus' friend and I dated the same person but I think that would be underestimating global cluelessness.
posted by troika at 10:07 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


People really serve drinks named Irish Car Bomb?

At the local Irish bar around the corner from work, I see drunk people order them all the time.

I am (of) Irish (heritage) and I think St. Patrick's Day is stupid. It's not just the drinking that's stupid, it's the whole holiday.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:12 AM on March 13, 2012


The wearing of flags as capes may be disrespectful, but it's not like it's unusual. People walk around wearing Irish flags as capeson St. Patrick's Day. Those same people walk around wearing Canadian flags as capes on Canada Day. I suspect that some people walk around wearing American flags as capes on Independence Day. Wearing flags as capes is the way that Dude Bros celebrate.
posted by asnider at 10:19 AM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Irish Car Bombs barely scratch the surface. I mean people call beer pong "Beirut" here.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:21 AM on March 13, 2012


obscurator: "Welcome to Champaign/Urbana, Illinois. We are already waaaay ahead of you, having celebrated Unofficial St. Patrick's Day weeks ago. This venerable holiday was initiated to ensure that no education-seeking shirking student would miss the bastardized holiday celebration if it were to fall during the college's spring break."

Glad to know we're not the only one and not even the first.
posted by pwnguin at 10:29 AM on March 13, 2012


I mean people call beer pong "Beirut" here

Why? I mean I get the "Irish car bomb" thing; there are a lot of drinks with "bomb" in the name that involve a shot glass dropped into another glass (sake bomb, Jager bomb), and this one involves Irish beer and Irish booze. But what does ping pong and beer have to do with Beirut?
posted by Hoopo at 10:33 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


what does ping pong and beer have to do with Beirut?

These are names thought up by drunk people, don't forget. I think looking for inner logic is a lost cause.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:35 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rice paddy. Hamburger patty.

The a sounds a bit more rounded in paddy, and a bit more nasal in patty.


Nope-they sound identical in the dialect/accent I grew up with (Northern California).
posted by small_ruminant at 10:38 AM on March 13, 2012


It's amateur night. But I'll still get some guinness and some of those Entemanns holiday cupcakes and enjoy. And Car Bombs are tasty. I have A drinking buddy who starts every session with one and he's not Irish. And Ive had drinks with more offensive names.
posted by jonmc at 10:39 AM on March 13, 2012


But what does ping pong and beer have to do with Beirut?

I wondered that, so I wiki'ed it. Supposedly, the name was thought up around the time of the Lebanese Civil War. So...yeah. It's kind of offensive, if that's the case.
posted by asnider at 10:40 AM on March 13, 2012


I mean, you guys have a bit of catching up to do on your friends over in the aul' country.

Yes, because if there's one thing I noticed about England at night it was all those people drinking responsibly.
posted by Hoopo at 10:43 AM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


jonmc: please list these offensive names. I want to know what the Norwegian one is. I have people to taunt.
posted by troika at 10:44 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Confounded Fisherman

(Equal parts akvavit and brine, served in a clay mug.)
posted by griphus at 10:46 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah no Hoopo, we're USED to drinking irresponsibly.
posted by mippy at 10:47 AM on March 13, 2012


I suspect that some people walk around wearing American flags as capes on Independence Day.

I have personally never seen this. It depends how you interpret the Flag Code, but it seems like it's against the law.
posted by desjardins at 10:57 AM on March 13, 2012


I celebrate St. Patricks day like most other holidays with parades. I stay home and ignore them.

Sometimes, I eat turkey.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:59 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


My goal in life is to turn Pulaski Day into a nationwide holiday.

You're going to get some serious blowback from the Beverley Crusher fans.
posted by jb at 11:01 AM on March 13, 2012 [11 favorites]


I am nothing if not sympathetic. After all, my cultural background is celebrated on Smallpox Blanket Columbus Day, and through regular airings of Jersey Shore.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:06 AM on March 13, 2012


as for the "Irish car bomb" drink, I don't think I'll ever order that, what with my husband coming from Manchester...

I'm glad to see people taking the IRA violence more seriously. Maybe I have it wrong, because I was just a kid, but it seems to me that in the 1980s Palestinians were "evil terrorists" but IRA bombers were "heroic freedom fighters". People still say with a straight face "No religion has terrorists except Islam," which is funny (only not funny) in Canada where our greatest terrorism tragedy was perpetuated by a Sikh extremist (I'd forgotten that the plane crashed near Ireland).
posted by jb at 11:08 AM on March 13, 2012


It depends how you interpret the Flag Code.

Ain't that the truth. For starters, I figured the phrase "flag code" meant something more like this.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:09 AM on March 13, 2012


Or this.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:21 AM on March 13, 2012


There is a parade about a couple of miles from where i live and it always preceeds the main Chicago festivities by a week. All the Irish dancing school and fife and drum bands can get an extra week's performance. I avoid it like the plague. Forgetting its very exixtence, I had to drop something off on the street the parade is on a few hours after it ended. As I approached I saw zombies walking down the streets. Not bloody or made up, but with that dead look and shuffling gait.

It was the march of the people that had been in bars since noon and now it's 5:00PM and they are shit-faced. Boy am I glad those days are over with.

Also I was raised by Irish speaking parents and grandparents, with close ties to their home country. We never took part in any kind of drinking thing. My parents were so ashamed that being Irish was looked at like an excuse for being drunk in this country.
posted by readery at 11:28 AM on March 13, 2012


The Flag Code is not enforceable law--notice all the shoulds.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:38 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, because if there's one thing I noticed about England at night it was all those people drinking responsibly. Faux-Irish people mawkishly reminiscing about the "aul' country" are not usually talking about England. Enumerating the ways in which your observation is clueless would get tedious after about 5 minutes so I'll leave that unsaid.
posted by epo at 11:42 AM on March 13, 2012


Supposedly, the name was thought up around the time of the Lebanese Civil War

I'm still lost as to the relationship with dunking ping pong balls in beer. I'm going to have to go with EmpressCallipygos' "makes sense if you're drunk...maybe" explanation.

Faux-Irish people mawkishly reminiscing about the "aul' country" are not usually talking about England

pretty sure mippy is English ("I can't speak for the Irish") and referring to the drinking age in "the British Isles" is inclusive of England, and the drinking age is the same in England and Ireland in any event, so perhaps leave more unsaid in the future.
posted by Hoopo at 11:51 AM on March 13, 2012


I'm still lost as to the relationship with dunking ping pong balls in beer.

Throwing/dropping bombs, maybe? That's the best I got.
posted by Copronymus at 12:11 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Apparently I write for Cracked when I'm asleep, since this reflects both the depth and ordering of my cultural triggers. However, I will be cooking corned beef, cabbage (well, brussels sprouts) and mashed potato this weekend, and washing it down with Guinness or Smithwicks. Happily, there are enough Irish people in northern California that the stores always have corned beef in stock, so I can do this about every two weeks.

Although if anyone knows a decent butcher in North Oakland, I'm having a hard time getting my rashers, sausages, and black pudding.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:12 PM on March 13, 2012


Also, I don't care what anybody else says; shamrock shakes are awesome.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:14 PM on March 13, 2012


I'll leave this here.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:17 PM on March 13, 2012


Or, wear a kilt. There is no surer way to show the world that you are an "Irish American", as opposed to actually Irish.
posted by Decani at 12:19 PM on March 13, 2012


The more kilts the better, I always say. Next up: Kilts are the new patriotic wear for Independence Day! (I'm still working on selling that one.)
posted by small_ruminant at 12:21 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sheesh. People really serve drinks named Irish Car Bomb? That'd be like walking into a bar in Belfast and ordering a Twin Towers Vino Collapso.
posted by mippy at 5:54 PM on March 13


I have said this in almost exactly those terms to many of my American chums, and not a few American bar staff. It is truly shocking how few of them get it.
posted by Decani at 12:22 PM on March 13, 2012


ok, so it's been a few hundred years since irish people wore kilts...they're just behind the fashion times, that's all.
posted by lodurr at 12:23 PM on March 13, 2012


When I was a kid, we were encouraged to wear green to school on St Patrick's day. My English mother, not so thrilled with the years of worrying about being blown up, banned me and my brother from doing so. I still feel uncomfortable with people celebrating it as an adult and still that same sense of knowing that I'll not be able to explain why.
posted by hoyland at 12:35 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


ok, so it's been a few hundred years since irish people wore kilts...they're just behind the fashion times, that's all.
posted by lodurr at 8:23 PM on March 13


The kilt is not Irish. It is Scottish (although even there its origin is dubious, and I'd be quite happy to bang on about why if you really can't be bothered to Google it). "Irish-Americans" who do not get this are simply an embarrassment.
posted by Decani at 12:36 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


My maternal Grandfather came from County Claire, so I'm about 1/4 Irish or so. And Mom was always very proud of the Irish is us, so every year we'd have corn beef and cabbage. In theory, this should be one of my favorite holidays out of the year. In practice, I really can't stand it - and not because other Americans turn it into a massive drunkfest. He died when I was very young, and I just really never felt any connection with him or that side of the family for that matter. Certainly not with the Irishness, and the times I tried to learn more about it, it just felt cold, like I was forcing something.

Thus the implication that I *should* be celebrating it, esp. since I have actual Irishness I can trace back to a concrete date and place, is vaguely offensive to me. Like, I'm not only letting down my family, but America itself and the entire Irish-American Diaspora. Yeah. No. I'll celebrate the ethnic holidays I want to celebrate, and the ones I feel an actual connection to, such as Norwegian Constitution Day (Syttende Mai) and Saami Day. (It also helps that these are celebrations of actual ethnic culture and history, and not yet another reason to just get shitfaced while listening to Darkthrone and Borknagar, and pining for the Fjords).

(It also doesn't help that this year SPD also occurs on Opening Day for the Seattle Sounders FC, and I have season tickets. So, everywhere around the stadium is going to be a drunkfest for the entire day. I'll probably just escape the amateurs by hiding out in a coffee shop until First Kick.)
posted by spinifex23 at 12:41 PM on March 13, 2012


Yeah! That's OUR made-up 19th century nationalistic nonsense! HANDS OFF.
posted by The Whelk at 12:42 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


ok, so it's been a few hundred years since irish people wore kilts...

No, it's been NEVER since Irish people wore kilts. Kilts are Scottish.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:59 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


My maternal Grandfather came from County Claire, so I'm about 1/4 Irish or so.

Here is the comment I was going to make after reading just that sentence:

No you're not. You're American. Please don't perpetuate nonsensical ideas about nationality.

Then I read the rest of your post, and thought better of it. :-)
posted by Decani at 1:00 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nah, it's OK, Decani. I can see all sides of that discussion :)
posted by spinifex23 at 1:05 PM on March 13, 2012


I'm pretty sure these guys would kick your ass for saying kilts aren't Irish.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:06 PM on March 13, 2012


It never really took off, but there was an attempt to design a "native Irish costume" that involved kilts for men. I think that it survived longest in Irish dancing costumes, in which men and boys wore kilts until the 1980s, I believe.
posted by craichead at 1:06 PM on March 13, 2012


I have said this in almost exactly those terms to many of my American chums, and not a few American bar staff. It is truly shocking how few of them get it.

It's obviously a ridiculously stupid idea, lining up two tall glasses of booze & then throwing shotglasses at them sideways so they shatter & fall over. How are you supposed to drink them?
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:06 PM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure these guys would kick your ass for saying kilts aren't Irish.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:06 PM on March 13


Which has sooo much to do with whether or not kilts are Irish, of course.

Jesus, just do some reading already. Kilts are not Irish, and these orange-skirt-wearing numpties are simply historically ignorant asshats. They are quite welcome to assault me and thereby have criminal proceedings brought against them, but that would in no way alter the verifiable fact that kilts are not Irish, and these guys are ignorant posturing dolts.
posted by Decani at 1:10 PM on March 13, 2012


You're American. Please don't perpetuate nonsensical ideas about nationality.

Irony.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:13 PM on March 13, 2012


Or, wear a kilt. There is no surer way to show the world that you are an "Irish American", as opposed to actually Irish.

You know, even though I've never thought of kilts as being anything other than Scottish, it has never even dawned on me until today just how weird it is that so many Irish pubs make their female servers wear "kilts" (i.e., super short skirts with a tartan pattern).
posted by asnider at 1:15 PM on March 13, 2012


Decani, I'm not quite clear on how you feel about this issue. Can you say more, perhaps? This time, don't hold back, please.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:15 PM on March 13, 2012


Jesus, just do some reading already. Kilts are not Irish

Of course not. The Irish wear the lein-croich.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:18 PM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's 'Clare', not 'Claire'.
posted by StephenF at 1:19 PM on March 13, 2012


And that's how in touch I am with it all. Thanks for the correction, StephenF.
posted by spinifex23 at 1:28 PM on March 13, 2012


It's 'Clare', not 'Claire'.

Don't worry spinifex23. You should have seen me try to spell the name of my Dad's hometown when I was a kid. "Western Supermayor" struck me as a really strange name for a town, but I was pretty sure that's what he said.
posted by Hoopo at 1:29 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bunny Ultramod is about the only person who has gotten it right. It's an Irish-American holiday, not an Irish one, and while it might be nice for more Americans to get the distinction, I really don't have time for Irish who think that there's an ethnicity called "American" and that we're really that and not Irish-American. (Don't even get me started on British types who take umbrage; I don't know if they're upset because they see it through the lens of the Troubles, or if they're pissed because WASPs don't celebrate St. George's Day. (Do they?))
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:36 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


it has never even dawned on me until today just how weird it is that so many Irish pubs make their female servers wear "kilts" (i.e., super short skirts with a tartan pattern).

Well, they do remind of the school uniforms I and many other Irish girls had to wear in Dublin. Mine was black watch tartan.
posted by jamesonandwater at 1:37 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


or if they're pissed because WASPs don't celebrate St. George's Day. (Do they?))

The celebration consists of holding your gin martini slightly tighter.
posted by The Whelk at 1:39 PM on March 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


False: The kilt was invented in Ireland
True: Lots of people in Ireland have historically worn kilts (in both official and unofficial roles) as a means of demonstrating their shared Celtic heritage with Scotland.

That being said, I'm sure we can all agree it takes an Irishman to play the pipes.
posted by ShutterBun at 1:46 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just for the record, I want to move to Western Supermayor right now.
posted by spinifex23 at 1:48 PM on March 13, 2012


Bunny Ultramod is about the only person who has gotten it right. It's an Irish-American holiday, not an Irish one, and while it might be nice for more Americans to get the distinction, I really don't have time for Irish who think that there's an ethnicity called "American" and that we're really that and not Irish-American.

This is the conventional wisdom, but in fact, it's an important religious holiday for practicing Catholics in Ireland, it's been a civil public holiday in Ireland since 1903, and until they started closing pubs on that day (a measure since repealed), it was a major day for drinking, which is why they started closing pubs in the first place.
posted by Jahaza at 1:49 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Green beer is fun and that's the whole point of st Patrick's day, isn't it? Anyone who calls it amateur night just takes their drinking too seriously.
posted by sixpack at 2:01 PM on March 13, 2012


That's true, Jahaza, but I think the "yay woo go Ireland and yay Irish things" type of St. Patrick's Day is the Irish-American type of holiday. I always got the sense that in Ireland, it feels more like....Thanksgiving in the U.S. (quieter, you gather for a meal with the family), and it's here that you get the whole whoop-it-up party element.

Which, actually, probably reaches back to what I was told was the initial reason for the New York St. Patrick's Day parade -- it was a protest march, I was told. Irish-born colonists and immigrants just got so fed up with the anti-Irish sentiment (Whelk and Capt. Renault have some good mentions of that above) that St. Patrick's Day in the U.S. took on an element of "oh, yeah, you think Irish people suck? Well, just look at how many of us there are, you sure you still wanna fuck with us? Damn straight you don't, 'cause we're Irish and WE ROCK!" You don't need to get into that kind of "yay Ireland rules" thing in Ireland, because...you're there. It'd be redundant.

So in essence, there are two completely different St. Patrick's Days, I think, depending on where in the world you are.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:01 PM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, they do remind of the school uniforms I and many other Irish girls had to wear in Dublin.

The schoolgirl association is probably why they are worn, but it's still weird.
posted by asnider at 2:03 PM on March 13, 2012


I've always said "I'm Irish enough to know not to celebrate it."
posted by Surfurrus at 2:06 PM on March 13, 2012


I am with the person who wants to make Pulaski day a national holiday, because then I will have two big parades and days to celebrate. I am proud to be half Irish and half Polish (and yes, I know all the jokes about both). Never touched green beer, hate "kiss me, I'm Irish" and associated sentiments, the many amateur drunks out in the streets, but I love the pipe bands and what is enduring in the Irish-American spirit. I am old enough that my grandparents came to America of "no Irish need apply" and worked like serfs on estates of the very rich. Everyone should be proud of their heritage and celebrate it, whatever it is, without denigrating more recent immigrants or the heritage of others. I will be wearing the green on St. Patrick's Day, and recently attended a wonderful Polish and Slavic St. Casimir's dinner. The more celebrations the better!
posted by mermayd at 2:28 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


PS: I am descended from Irish Protestants, so I should probably not celebrate St. Patrick's Day. But, then, if I'm going to hold to that, then I should probably not be marrying a descendant of Irish Catholics.
posted by asnider at 2:31 PM on March 13, 2012


No, it's been NEVER since Irish people wore kilts. Kilts are Scottish.

Wrong on the first count. Irish nationalists in Ireland have worn kilts since the turn of the 20th century. Wrongheadedly, apparently, but, then, nationalism in general gets a lot of things wrong.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:55 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


On a St. Patrick's Day a few years ago I was listening to the Boston morning news on WBZ. Erstwhile reporter Carl Stevens had been stationed outside the Black Rose in Quincy Market. Coverage of the early-opening bar on St. Patrick's Day, which magically transforms from tourist attraction to a total zoo, is as traditional here as TV meteorologists making snowballs while reporting outside during a blizzard.

Carl pulled one guy out of the pub to ask what St. Patrick's Day meant to him. The bro, already in his cups and with a voice about as Irish as durian fruit, said "Oh it's a foine day, laddie, it means a foine day and no more rats!"

There was a brief, embarrassed pause before another voice whispered loudly "Snakes!"

"Yeah, snakes! A foine day with no rodents."

Stevens didn't miss a beat, expertly and immediately throwing the report over to the fellow covering the Mayor's traditional breakfast.

Ah, Boston.
posted by Spatch at 3:50 PM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


PS: I am descended from Irish Protestants, so I should probably not celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
Nah. There's a long history of ecumenical St Patrick's Day celebrations in the US, going back to non-sectarian groups like the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in the 18th century. It's a Catholic holiday, but it's not only a Catholic holiday. I think you can knock yourself out, although I'd recommend not doing that literally.
posted by craichead at 3:56 PM on March 13, 2012


It's kind of ironic that an article about how people are unthinkingly offensive during a celebration also uses "retarded" as an insult. Twice.
posted by ShawnStruck at 4:21 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


So is insisting people use "Paddy" instead of "Patty" because the latter is English and not Irish, then complaining that when people use Irish words it's patronizing.
posted by Hoopo at 4:31 PM on March 13, 2012


I am (of) Irish (heritage) and I think St. Patrick's Day is stupid.

i'm of irish heritage and i regard it as the day everyone else gets to pretend they're irish

---

Green beer is fun and that's the whole point of st Patrick's day, isn't it?

bud light with food coloring in it is not my idea of fun - i'm going to visit my local beer store and see if i can get o'hara's or murphy's red
posted by pyramid termite at 5:04 PM on March 13, 2012


This guy is an idiot. He seems to have no knowledge of Irish-Americans and their history. Irish Americans exist for the same sort of reasons that African-Americans exist (sometimes literally the same reason). There was not a whole lot of "choice" involved. Irish-Americans outnumber Irish-Irish 5 to 1 (and that's just the US, which is hardly the only home of the Irish diaspora); the Irish-American experience is therefore arguably more important to The Official History of the Irish People than is the experience of Micky Ó Leftbehind.

The "Patty" complaint is more than just a bit idiotic. I mean, if his objection is that "Patty" is short for "Patrick," which is English, well, um, why doesn't he have a problem with calling it "Saint Patrick's Day," which everyone always does. And anyway, SAINT PATRICK WAS NOT IRISH, so there's no need to get all het up about the authentic Irish spelling of his name.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:24 PM on March 13, 2012


If I were an American living in Japan and they decided to have some kind of "Uncle Sam Appreciation Day," I doubt I'd feel insulted if a Japanese person walked up to me and said "America! Rock and Roll ! High-Five!"

Most Europeans I've encountered on their native soil have been (or appeared) somewhat charmed (or at least amused) when I, as a foreigner, have made some half-assed attempt at communicating in their language. (in fact, lots of travel guides still cite this as polite behavior) It demonstrates that you've at least made an effort, which seems to be appreciated.

If Bastille Day caught on as a major holiday in the U.S., would (ahem) Franco-Americans get all offended at seeing "Vive Le France!" t-shirts?

Pretty much every major holiday in the U.S. is currently celebrated in a way that scarcely resembles its origins. But jeez, even celebrating a cartoonish version of Irish-ness is done in good faith. That is has evolved into something far removed from the "original" holiday is hardly exclusive to St. Patrick's Day.
posted by ShutterBun at 5:52 PM on March 13, 2012


A friend of mine is Irish and moved to the U.S. with his family when he was in high school. He has the accent--and probably always will--so to every American he meets he's perpetually FOB.

Anyway, he always marveled at the American St. Patrick's Day as it bears NO relation to St. Patrick's Day back home in Ireland. No parades, no bands, no festivals, no rowdy drunkenness...well, no more than the usual (sorry!).

But he never considered The American St. Patrick's Day as wrong; it's just the American version, that's all. He loves St. Patrick's Day, and he probably breaks most of the rules on that list. Plus one more: he dyed his hair green at least two years running.
posted by zardoz at 6:25 PM on March 13, 2012


I don't think that those are entirely good analogies, though, ShutterBun. Historically, Ireland has been a small, poor country. Historically, the Irish diaspora has been big and relatively prosperous. And that's meant that members of the diaspora have had a fair amount of power in Ireland and have exercised it directly (by doing things like funding the IRA) and indirectly (by doing things like creating Hollywood movies that shaped people's ideas about Ireland or by fueling a tourism industry in Ireland that was required to cater to outsiders.) If Japanese people have a holiday that revolves around a relatively clueless view of the US, that's probably not going to affect me in any big way. The same has not necessarily historically been true for Irish people looking at the US.

I get a little annoyed at Irish sanctimony about American St. Patrick's Day, but I sort of understand where it's coming from.
posted by craichead at 6:32 PM on March 13, 2012


The "Patty" complaint is more than just a bit idiotic. I mean, if his objection is that "Patty" is short for "Patrick," which is English, well, um, why doesn't he have a problem with calling it "Saint Patrick's Day," which everyone always does.

That's for the same reason that it's called Saint (anything)'s day, rather than la Padraig Naofa. On the other hand, in Ireland only women are likely to be called 'Patty'. Men named Padraig or Patrick are addressed informally as Pat or Paddy, never ever Patty.
posted by anigbrowl at 6:42 PM on March 13, 2012


he probably breaks most of the rules on that list

Most Irish people probably have - the comments above about the holiday in Ireland being about mass and family meals are a bit baffling to me; it was always about drinking and watching sport when I was growing up. This is just the time of year when the national Irish sport of eye rolling about all the bizarre "I hate the English too", "my great grandfather was called O'Shea" incidents we've endured (and I bet we've all heard this stuff many more times than the French or Japanese or whomever!) gets widely discussed, not least because all the senior politicians in Ireland are preparing for trips abroad to impress the Big Boys. It's not like we're all losing sleep over some crappy shamrock tattoo we once saw on a guy called Randy's ankle but this stuff is ... well, "national joke" sounds more unkind than intended, but it is a bit of a running joke among us nonetheless.

Men named Padraig or Patrick are addressed informally as Pat or Paddy, never ever Patty.

Yep!
posted by jamesonandwater at 6:47 PM on March 13, 2012


I also got drunk tonight, FYI
posted by adamdschneider at 7:49 PM on March 13, 2012


Men named Padraig or Patrick are addressed informally as Pat or Paddy, never ever Patty.

That's true most everywhere, and if it were the author's argument, I'd have agreed with him. It wasn't, and I don't.

Is calling it "Saint Patty's Day" annoying? Sure. Is it annoying because Real Irish blah blah blah? Nope.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:59 PM on March 13, 2012


Last year, I saw a drunk undergrad running about my university campus with a box of lucky charms around her neck on Paddy's day. At 11:00 am. That's stretching the Irish diaspora a bit far, no?


If Bastille Day caught on as a major holiday in the U.S., would (ahem) Franco-Americans get all offended at seeing "Vive Le France!" t-shirts?


If people were guzzling fermented grape juice and having sword fights with baguettes while dressed as Marcel Marceau (which would still be tamer than what passes for "being Irish" on St. Patrick's day in Ontario) I'm pretty sure they would.
posted by peppermind at 8:01 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am so gonna start that, peppermind.
posted by desjardins at 8:06 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Zoot allures!
posted by drezdn at 8:50 PM on March 13, 2012


All you haters are welcome to come to my college town. St. Patrick's Day is always during finals week and if you go into a bar that night, dear god, it's dead. Though admittedly, this year with it being on a Saturday, it might be different. Also, we now actually have an Irish pub.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:53 PM on March 13, 2012


We have a miniature glittery Eiffel Tower and "Madame Gigi's Outrageous French Cancan Dancers " at Bastille Days in Milwaukee - is that obnoxious enough?
posted by desjardins at 8:55 PM on March 13, 2012


Men named Padraig or Patrick are addressed informally as Pat or Paddy, never ever Patty.

I'm another person this drives absolutely crazy. "Patty" is the girl in the Peanuts cartoon, not the patron saint of Ireland. Call me picky all you want but if that's the term you use you are Doing It Wrong. I'm pretty sure 100% of Irish people agree with me on this.
posted by fshgrl at 12:07 AM on March 14, 2012


Someone might want to inform the residents of Saint Kitt's island that they really ought to be calling it Saint Christopher's Island. I mean, where the hell is "Kitt" an appropriate shorthand for "Christopher"?

Attention Irish: shit happens.
posted by ShutterBun at 2:53 AM on March 14, 2012


"this cracked article isn't very good"
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:03 AM on March 14, 2012


Can you get Lucky Charms in Ireland still? They were sold in the UK for a couple of years, and are remembered fondly by many my age (though in my opinion, not as nice as the Ricicles with marshmallows. Oh, so very much sugar.)
posted by mippy at 5:26 AM on March 14, 2012


I am proud to be half Irish and half Polish (and yes, I know all the jokes about both)

I was at ORD Friday, where I saw a worker with 15' long device with a suction cup like thing on the end working on a light.

Then it hit me.

How many poles does it take to change a light bulb?

One, actually.
posted by eriko at 6:11 AM on March 14, 2012


decani: The kilt is not Irish. It is Scottish (although even there its origin is dubious, and I'd be quite happy to bang on about why if you really can't be bothered to Google it)

This is rather a puzzling way to formulate it -- basically you're saying 'the kilt is scottish, but probably isn't really scottish either.' Which is basically saying 'the kilt is not legitimate anywhere.'

So, is it scottish, or is it nothing?
posted by lodurr at 7:39 AM on March 14, 2012


As for the wearing of kilts by irish people, I guess I was swayed by photographs and videos I've seen of irish people wearing kilts in Ireland. It did not occur to me that Irish nationalists would have borrowed the fashion from Scottish traditionalists.
posted by lodurr at 7:47 AM on March 14, 2012


Nah. There's a long history of ecumenical St Patrick's Day celebrations in the US, going back to non-sectarian groups like the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in the 18th century. It's a Catholic holiday, but it's not only a Catholic holiday. I think you can knock yourself out, although I'd recommend not doing that literally.

I was being (mostly) sarcastic, which is why I threw in the bit about my Irish Catholic fiancee. I fully intend to have some booze and dance a jig on Saturday. (OK, maybe I won't dance a jig.)
posted by asnider at 9:33 AM on March 14, 2012


Anyone who calls it amateur night just takes their drinking too seriously.

It's not so much the "drinking" as it is the "going out." There's a decent argument in avoiding restaurants and bars on New Year's and similar holidays because all the spots are full of drunken buffoons. Most relevantly, these drunken buffoons are often only in the city for the 3-4 nights of the year they go out. Thus, the "amateur" label. Perhaps a more accurate term would be "inconnu." There certainly is a bit of xenophobia to the pejorative as well.

It's far more enjoyable to pick a non-holiday night and go out with a group of friends, no? I think it's fair to consider people who expect "go out" (i.e. visit a saloon or other establishment) on drinking holidays and have an enjoyable time (without getting thoroughly wasted) as "amateurs" in the art of going out.

Still, I do I agree with you in practice, if perhaps not theory. Calling them "amateur nights" is rude to people who enjoy going out on those holidays, and my mom said if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:47 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some better tips from The Rubberbandits.
posted by yerfatma at 12:40 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


My (100% Irish, but living with me in Canada) wife *hates* it when she sees people calling it "St Patty's Day" - when I tell her that people are obviously using the T short form instead of the D short form, because Patrick is spelled with a T, she puts on her angry face. #3 especially irks her as well. But having spent a couple St Paddy's days (well, a couple of them while I was living there) in Dublin, I have to say that "drink far too much" (#2) is a VERY Irish thing to do on the day (or, really, on ANY Saturday night). Just because it takes an Irish lad 20 pints to be barfing into the canal, doesn't mean that a North American reaching the same result after 10 pints isn't being Irish enough. :)
posted by antifuse at 11:28 AM on April 3, 2012


Also, no self respecting Irish person will be angry at you if you bust out a "Sláinte!" as you hand them a drink. :)
posted by antifuse at 11:30 AM on April 3, 2012


Also also: I am very far behind on my RSS reading, don't mind me.
posted by antifuse at 11:30 AM on April 3, 2012


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