On March 13 of this year, at a Saint Patrick's Day celebration in Portsmouth, OH, a young friend asked, "Why do they say Saint Paddy's Day? That's dumb!" I answered that Paddy is the diminutive of Patrick and it's a common nickname in Ireland.
Later I saw several people wearing tee-shirts proclaiming "Easter Rising 1916-2016"; after complimenting the people wearing them, I was very pleased to have some interesting conversations with them about the Centenary and Irish history. My young companion had no knowledge of the Rebellion although he proudly claims to be "Irish".
My brother asked, "Why would you expect people to know Irish history? Hell, they don't even know OUR history!"
At a very enjoyable lunch at the Port City Cafe and Pub, I feasted on an appetizer of small Yukon Gold potatoes covered with corned beef, scallions, and drenched with cheese. I will copy that recipe!
We were entertained by Irish bagpipers and Step Dancers who were wearing the tartans of Clan MacLellan.
On Saint Patrick's Day I wear ORANGE. Several people have commented about my lack of the "WEARING OF THE GREEN", which gives me the opportunity to tell them that one side of my family came from NORTHERN Ireland and that we are ORANGEMEN! (In a bit of chauvinism, I always choose Syracuse University as my favorite team in March Madness because they are the "Orangemen"; just like the devotion of some others to Notre Dame's "The Fighting Irish".)
I believe in a United Eire. For years I had a bumper sticker on my car reading "26 + 6 = 1" but only one person outside my family "got" its meaning!
My brother asked, "When people don't get it, does it diminish your revolutionary fervor?"
A woman of my acquaintance who attends a local Evangelical church said that she was having a St. Patrick's Day party. I asked, "Isn't that against your religion?" She said, "What do you mean?" I didn't even mention the probability that there would be the consumption of alcoholic beverages at such a gathering, but I did comment, "Well, Saint Patrick was obviously Catholic and you are obviously a Protestant." She seemed offended and answered tersely, "I'm not a Protestant, but I'm Irish." I asked, "From which county in Northern Ireland did your family originate?" She said she didn't know. I asked, "But don't you understand that your church, along with all the other sects, stem from the Protestant Reformation?" She seemed stunned. I asked, "Do you know the history of your church? It's an offshoot of another Protestant church." She said she did not know the history of her church and she was surprised that I did. I asked, with some incredulity, "You joined a church without knowing its history?"
On Facebook, on Saint Patrick's Day, I am always amused to see numerous St. Patrick's Day messages and nearly all are from non-Catholics. My brother said, "Everybody's Irish on St. Paddy's Day!" See the message from THE WISE GEEK:
The number of Americans who report having Irish ancestry is seven times larger than the total population of Ireland.
About 11%, or 35 million out of about 310 million, Americans claim Irish ancestry, according to 2011 US Census data. Ireland's total population is about 4.6 million citizens, which means that the US has more than 7 times more people of Irish heritage than Ireland. These numbers were split rather evenly between both men and women and across a fairly wide range of age groups and levels of education. The large number of Irish-Americans may be traced back to the country's wave of Irish immigration experienced in the mid 1800s.