Éirinn go Brách! Yes, another favorite holiday is fast approaching: St. Patrick’s Day is March 17th! It’s a holiday commonly associated with the coming of springtime (hurry up, please!); rainbows and pots of gold (yes, I’ve tried to find a rainbows’ end a time or two); leprechauns; shamrocks (and for my son…shamrock shakes); dressing in green; festive parades; drinking green beer; and perhaps getting into a wee bit o’ mischief. Seems to me like a perfect holiday to blog about and so I will
I chose to open this post with “Éirinn go Brách!” which is often spelled Erin go Bragh. However, I have a confession: I’ve seen that phrase associated with this holiday countless times…and had no idea what it meant. I figured, “it must be Irish for something.” Does it mean “Happy St. Patrick’s Day”…or maybe it means “Kiss me, I’m Irish?” Well, after a little research, I solved the mystery of “Éirinn go Brách!” and managed gathered a few more interesting St. Patty’s Day facts to share with you.
But first, if you’re looking for some festive and fun St. Patrick’s Day gifts, we have them! Any of these gifts would be great for an office party, St. Patty’s Day celebrations at home or as a gift for your Irish (and Irish at heart) friends and family. After all, everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. Click here to shop the gifts seen below; at time of publishing this post, many of these gifts were on sale! We’ve got Irish-themed cookies, candy and other snacks, plus party supplies as seen below.
Most people know that according to legend, Saint Patrick was known for banishing dangerous animals from Ireland (particularly snakes). But did you know he did this by beating a drum? Did you know Saint Patrick’s true given name was Maewyn Succat and he wasn’t Irish by birth (he was born in England)? I also learned St. Patrick’s Day marks Maewyn’s passing not his birthday.
Here are some more trivia for you:
- The color originally associated with Saint Patrick was blue; the color green became associated to St. Patrick’s Day in the 19th century.
- As of 2008, there were more Americans of Irish decent (est. 36 million) than there were Irish living in Ireland (est. 4.4 million).
- There are four U.S. municipalities named “Shamrock.” You can find them in West Virginia, Texas, Indiana and Oklahoma.
- There are nine U.S. municipalities named “Dublin.” Dublin, California and Dublin, Ohio are generally the best known. And speaking of towns named Dublin…
New London, Wisconsin becomes “New Dublin”
A week-long St. Patrick’s festival kicks off when members of the “Shamrock Club” in New London, Wisconsin dress up as leprechauns, then change New London’s highway signs to read “New Dublin.” The town’s population numbers about 7,000, but “New Dublin” draws around 30,000 people on St. Patrick’s Day. Residents and visitors are treated to bagpipe players, a Finnegan’s Wake complete with a green hearse and Irish Fest complete with Celtic bands, Irish foods (especially corn beef and cabbage) and more.
Dye me a River
A few municipalities are known for this practice, but perhaps Chicago is most famous for it. For more than 40 years, the Chicago River has been dyed green on St. Patrick’s Day. The river is colored with an eco-friendly powdered vegetable dye. It usually takes several days for the green coloration to disappear.
The World’s Biggest Shamrock
O’Neill, Nebraska is known as Nebraska’s “Irish capital.” O’neill has a four-leaf clover painted in the middle of the intersection of Route 281 and Highway 20. This symbol is a reminder of the town’s deep Irish roots. St. Patrick’s Day events in O’Neill include include a parade, the Shamrock Fun Run and a dodge ball tournament.
Oh yes…I forgot to explain what “Éirinn go Brách” means, didn’t I? I’ll revisit that in the next post: “Fun St. Patrick’s Day Trivia Part 2.” Do you have any fun St. Patrick’s Day traditions? Please tell us about them in the comments field below.
Also, if you love Pinterest, St. Patrick’s Day and all things Irish, be sure to check out our St. Patty’s Day Pinterest board here.
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