20 Things You Might Not Know About St. Patrick’s Day

In honor of Paddy’s Day, we thought we’d share some tidbits that offer a bit of insight into the day when “everyone is Irish.”

  1. March 17th is the Roman Catholic feast day for Ireland’s St Patrick, patron saint, who was not born in Ireland, but originally brought there as a slave.
  2. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in 1737 in Boston. New York City started the first organized parade 25 years later. Meanwhile, Dublin’s parade began 70 years after that.
  3. Until the 1970s, St Patrick’s Day was considered a minor holiday but at that time began gaining popularity in the U.S.
  4. The village of Dripsey in County Cork hosts the world’s shortest parade, which runs 77 feet between the towns two bars.
  5. The Irish raise their glass and say “Sláinte” (pronounced SLAN-cha), the Irish word for “health.”
  6. Ireland was never home to any native species of snakes.
  7. More American’s claim Irish heritage than the entire populations of Ireland… and on St Patrick’s Day that number seems to grow even more.
  8. St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin is no longer a Catholic Cathedral… it’s Church of Ireland.
  9. Part of St Patrick’s success in converting the Irish to Christianity in the 5th Century was his familiarity with the Irish language and traditions. He combined many non-Christian practices with his teachings, such as bonfires and superimposing the image of the sun over the cross to create what we now know as the Celtic Cross.
  10. Chicago first dyed their river green on March 17, 1961.
  11. Until the 1970s, Irish pubs were closed on St Patrick’s Day.
  12. In the US, there are 21 towns named Dublin. They are in the states of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania (3), Texas, Virginia.
  13. Four towns in the US are named Shamrock in Indiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Mount Gay-Shamrock, West Virginia.
  14. While everyone sees green on St Patrick’s Day, blue was traditionally the color associated with the saint and Ireland.
  15. In 1996, Minister for Tourism Enda Kenny (now, Ireland’s newly elected Taoiseach), helped extend Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day parade into a week-long festival.
  16. In 1922, new laws banned the opening of pubs on St Patrick’s Day. Pubs in Limerick defied the order and law enforcement turned a “Nelson’s Eye,” a term named after an admiral who ignored the ban. (This one is in questions… see comments below)
  17. 1 in every 10,000 clover have four leaves. The record for the highest “number of leaves is 14… now that’s LUCKY!
  18. Some species of shamrocks will be harder to find in Ireland this year because of this winters extreme conditions.
  19. On St Patrick’s Day, the daily worldwide consumption of Guinness jumps from 5.5 million pints to 13 million!
  20. St Patrick’s Day is often shortened to Paddy’s Day… not Patty’s Day.

For a bit more, visit www.irishcultureandcustomes.com:

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