Hard to figure why anyone would want to be Irish, given that at the turn of the last century the Irish were considered to be the lowest form of labor, sans African Americans, around.
As immigrants, they took the hardest and dirtiest jobs, the ones nobody else would take. Some settled in the Carolina's along with the Scots before the revolution, but the majority came two centuries later in the immigration wave of the early 1900's, streaming into New England and later the industrial might of the Midwest, Chicago and then California.
There's no fame in being from a hard scrabble family of Irish.
But for this weekend and Monday March 17th, being Irish is in vogue, or at least the St. Patrick's Day myth of being Irish mainly a drunk or as they say in Ireland Fluthered.
But during the other 364 days of the year I hope pretending to be Irish doesn't drive you to drink.
My grandfather was often asked what are you? Irish, English, Scot? His reply "I'm an American". Just the same having a last name that beings with "Mac" is a give away. Cousins named O'Shaunessy and a wife who's maiden name is the Americanized version of O'Henry even her mother's maiden name O'Dell reeks of Irish liquor. Drunks all of ye!
Slang offensive names used by your great grandfather to describe an Irishman "Mick" or "Limey" as well as Mackerel, Mead, Paddy, Pot-Licker, Wic, NINA (No Irish Need Apply) and Pogue have long since faded away. Thank you JFK.
So, if you must celebrate all things Irish lets get the basics out of the way.
First St. Patrick is not a famous drunk or the inventor of Guinness that would be Arthur Guinness
|Arthur Guinness (Not Saint Patrick)|
Guinness may be known for his beer, but his business sense was pretty epic as well. In 1759, Guinness went to Dublin to set up his business and took a 9,000 year lease (not a typo) on the 4-acre brewery at St. James's Gate from the descendants of Sir Mark Rainsford for an annual rent of £45, about $90.00 USD. Apparently without an escalation clause.
It is St. Patrick, not St. Patty - Look around you, and you'll find dozen of signs declaring St. Patty's Day. This of course is a major faux pas, since Patty refers to the female gender.
About the snakes -There are no snakes in Ireland, not now and not ever. This is not because St. Patrick drove them out, but rather it is just to damn cold in Ireland.
Blarney Stone - This is not a rock in some field in Ireland, in fact if you must "kiss" the stone you have to stand on your head and lean backwards out over the edge of an Irish Castle.
The Blarney Stone is a block of bluestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle, in Blarney Ireland, about 8 kilometres from Cork, Ireland. According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of the gab. So does killing a couple of pints of Guinness.
For the record there are more Irish in America than there are in Ireland.
The Shamrock - Before you tattoo a "Four Leaf Clover" on your ass, keep in mind that at least according to legend, St. Patrick taught Christianity using the shamrock's three leaves to represent the Trinity of God the father, Jesus the son of God and the Holy Ghost.
Irish Car bombs - If you'd like to be thrown out of a pub in Ireland just try ordering an "Irish Car Bomb". The typical Guinness® stout, Bailey's® Irish cream and Jameson® cocktail, a rather tasty concoction isn't funny in Ireland or even in Boston.
Car Bombs were a major weapon in the Irish Republican Army’s fight against Northern Ireland. The car bomb’s biggest deployment by the IRA was on Friday, July 21, 1972, in a major attack on Belfast in Northern Ireland. They used 22 car bombs on the city on that day, which was known forever after as Bloody Friday. As one person described the day, “At the height of the bombing, the center of Belfast resembled a city under artillery fire; clouds of suffocating smoke enveloped buildings as one explosion followed another, almost drowning out the hysterical screams of panicked shoppers.” The attack caused significant damage not only to Northern Ireland but also to the IRA.
Bloody Friday destroyed much of the IRA’s heroic underdog popular image, produced deep revulsion amongst ordinary Catholics and eventually led to major changes in the IRA. Before this, the British were the ones committing the horrible atrocities. After this attack, the British received a major reprieve from the worldwide condemnation they were getting beforehand.
So if you must drink this order it as " A Pint with Bailey's and Jameson, your bartender will know what you want and you'll be Irish even if your not.
St. Patrick's Day is a Cat-Lick (Catholic) Holiday - Perhaps but there is equal history supporting the notion that he was a Baptist with no connection to the Church in Rome.