Éirinn go Brách: An Irish Wannabe’s Layman’s Guide to the Best Holiday Ever

We all love St. Paddy’s Day, right? It conveniently falls right after Daylight Savings Time begins again… and we’re all for any excuse to party to celebrate. The days are markedly longer and the dark, frigid days of winter are behind us. Bring on the green beer, corned beef and goofy, inappropriate t-shirts!

A national holiday in Ireland (and they need a day off to pack in all the parties), St Patrick’s Day is also celebrated around the world every March 17th in celebration of Irish culture.

So who is this dude we honour? The holiday is actually quite a serious observance of one of Ireland’s patron saints, St. Patrick, who’s said to have ministered Christianity in Ireland during the fifth century.

In honour of the Irish, their culture and the people who gave us the best holiday ever, here are a few interesting facts about the Irish culture.

Patty’s or Paddy’s?

One is right, one is very wrong.  

Think about it: Patty refers to the short form of the female name of Patricia and incidentally, a patty is also how we reference the shape of a burger.

The other, correct reference, is a short form of the Irish version of the male name of Patrick, which is Padraig. And since Saint Patrick was indeed a man, St. Paddy’s is the only logical spelling that can be applied.

What’s in a name?

To honour their roots, Irish adventurers have named at least 20 other places in the world after their homeland’s capital city Dublin.  One of them is Dublin, Ontario (https://wiki.city/en/map/canada_ontario_perth-county_dublin)a

Paddy of a thousand meanings…

Though there are many different slang definitions for the word Paddy, from being an offensive term used by those wishing to insult someone, to being used as a reference to someone throwing a tantrum, the most common used is when the Irish call one another a Paddy as a term of endearment.

Green beer, NOT green food.

Irish food traditionally served for St. Paddy’s Day celebrations:

  • Irish brown bread
  • Corned beef and cabbage
  • Irish potato soup
  • Beef and Guinness pie
  • Irish coffee
  • Irish potato champ, also known as poundies, cally or pandy
  • Irish stew

Betcha can’t say that 5 times fast…

In English, Dublin is pronounced just as you’d expect (DUB-LYN), though the Irish equivalent is Dubhlinn (pronounced DOVE-LIN). The city’s name in Irish is actually,  Baile Atha Cliath and is pronounced BOL-YEH AW-HA CLEE-AH.

Warm your Irish love’s heart…

Here are a few Irish terms of endearment and how to pronounce them:

A ghrá (pronounced ‘uh-GRAWH’)—means “Love” in a romantic way

A chroí (pronounceduh KHREE’)—means “Heart”

A mhuirnín (pronounced ‘uh WUR-neen’) — means “Darling”

A chuisle (pronounced ‘uh KHUSH-leh’)— means “Pulse”

Drowning the Shamrock

No, we don’t mean chugging one of those breath-freshening Shamrock Shakes from a certain fast-food restaurant!

“Drowning the shamrock” refers to the Irish tradition of putting a real shamrock, otherwise known as a three-leafed clover, into the last glass of drink of the  night as a toast to St. Patrick.  After the whiskey or beer is drunk, the shamrock is then thrown over the left shoulder.

The shamrock has become a symbol of the Irish and St. Patrick’s Day across the globe, based on the legend that St. Patrick used the shamrock, with its three-lobed leaves, to explain the Holy Trinity to Christians.

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