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Frederic William Burton - The Meeting on the Turret Stairs, 1864
The Meeting on the Turret Stairs, 1864
Frederic William Burton
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St. Patrick's Day in Ireland

stpatsgrave

St. Patrick's Grave - photo by Terry McKnight

by Suzanne Barrett

St. Patrick's Day began in Ireland as a Catholic holiday, but over the years--particularly in the last twenty--it has become a festival as much as a holy day. Though the first parades in the United States were begun by Irish immigrants to fight for equal rights, the St. Patrick's Day parades one sees today in Ireland are as a result of American influence.

In America, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated with parades and feasts of corned beef and cabbage, and among many, with extensive drinking (drowning the shamrock). To the Irish in Ireland, however, the day is first a feast and holy day, celebrated with a week-long tradition of festivities. Mass on St. Patrick's Day is de rigueur, and if one stops at a pub for a pint or two afterward, it's not an uncommon occurrence. But there's no influence to drink more because of the holiday. In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is treated like any other saint's day.

Family get-togethers are very important, and it's not unusual for a family to gather for a special meal. Corned beef and cabbage is an American tradition; in Ireland, you'd more likely find succulent, pink bacon or a savory roast chicken on the table. However, if you're longing for some succulent corned beef, try this whiskey-glazed corned beef recipe. It's brilliant.

For visitors to Ireland during the St. Patrick's Day season, there are parades in most of the larger cities--certainly Dublin, Galway, and Cork plus other venues. This year the 2012 Dublin festivities run from March 16th through the 19th with a wonderful program of free entertainment for everyone to enjoy. Look for street theater, fireworks, music, exhibitions, and even a treasure hunt!

Until next time.

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St. Patrick's Day Links

The Real St. Patrick

Irish Recipes for St. Patrick's Day or any Occasion

St. Patrick's Day Information
including a somewhat irreverant look at Ireland's Patron Saint



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