mad in pursuit journal


St. Patrick's Day Confession

A confession: I don't think I've ever celebrated St. Patrick's Day in the typical American way, neither by parade nor by crowded bar with sloshing green beer. And I've never owned a stitch of green clothing, except for my school uniform (grades 5 through 8) and a sweater my sister Kathleen sent me in the 70s. My dad would always say: "Oh, you don't have to wear green because your face is the map of Ireland..." — then the punchline — "all green and wrinkled." Ha-ha.

Growing up, I don't remember it being much of a public holiday. Outside of New York City, I don't know when the parades started. In the sixties? To counteract the spiraling godless internationalism of hippies and war protesters?

Being Irish wasn't always trendy. I remember when my dad announced that "Irish is in" shortly after the Irish bar John D McGurks opened about 20 years ago.

I remember when my dad announced that "Irish is in"...

Apparently St. Patrick's Day is "in" now in Ireland. It used to be a nerdy-fun thing to remind your green-beer-drinking friends that in Ireland the pubs were closed on St. Patrick's Day because it was a holy day and the only celebrating you were expected to do was at Mass. But now, the prosperous European Irish have joined the party. From what I hear, the St. Patrick's Day parade (at least in Dublin), is not about hokey shamrocks and "Erin Go Braugh" signs and banning gays. It's more like Mardi Gras, with samba contests and an all-round celebration of diversity.

This is a long-winded way of saying I have no social plans today, except to visit my Jewish lawyer, have a glass of Italian wine, and watch a movie with my WASP husband. But I do have a loaf of Irish soda bread that tastes just like my grandma's.


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Some other Irish Mad In Pursuit entries:

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Post-Famine Irish Emigrants. Many of my ancestors came after the famine was over. I've always wondered why...

Irish-American Women. From a matriarchal society, they are no princesses.

Irish Dark Side. Irish culture was not always kind to women who didn't toe the line. Reflections on the Irish Magdalene asylums.

Mayo Apparition. We discover Our Lady of Knock and wonder about the rest of the story.