Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day in Northern Ireland

What I'm reading: The Tycoon's Perfect Match, by Christine Wenger; The Switch, by Sandra Brown

I realized yesterday afternoon that it's St. Patrick's Day today, and I thought it would be appropriate for my daughter, Jessica, to be a guest today. She lives in Northern Ireland, and can offer some insights into how the holiday is celebrated over there. I thank her profusely for stepping in with a post with virtually no warning. Welcome, Jessica!

St. Patrick's Day is truly a world-wide holiday, and here in Northern Ireland we celebrate with the best of 'em. Belfast puts on a big carnival-style parade, complete with floats and musicians. Most people have the day off work and schools are closed. The bars and pubs will be teeming with people, as you might expect. It's a big day out for adults and children alike. And with any luck it won't rain that much. But a little rain rarely dampens the spirits of the locals.

Yes, as you might expect, there is a bit of a political problem with the event. You will always have a small minority of people out there trying to prove some point by being disruptive. However, the police expect that and for the most part, the big celebrations go off without a hitch. I have a few friends who make a habit of trying to catch any "misbehavior" on film, as I know many amateur photographers.



Other than perhaps some pipes and drums, you aren't likely to hear what most Americans would call "traditional" Irish music. No one will be singing "Danny Boy" or "Four Green Fields", but it's a good day out for most all the same. And you won't find corned beef and cabbage on a menu anywhere. That's a purely Irish-American invention. Irish stew, soda bread, wheaten bread, and colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage and ham) are more likely to be found. And please don't look for green beer. Don't pinch someone if they're not wearing green. Just grab a pint of Guinness, Smithwicks, or Harp and a wee dram of whiskey and relax.

And, for the record, it's "St. Pat's" or "St. Paddy's". Never call it "St. Patty's Day". Patty is short for Patricia, while Paddy is short for Patrick!

I don't know how you celebrate in your community, but yesterday, as I was driving down to Woodland Park, there was a lighted roadside sign warning to have a designated driver, and that the cops would be out in full force. I'm guessing they hit the pubs and bars here, too.

Tomorrow, Jason is back with more HDR images, this time of Fonthill Castle. As always, you won't want to miss them.

13 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Wonderful post! And celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a Guinness sounds like a great plan. :)

Terry Odell said...

I think celebrating just about anything with a Guinness sounds like a great plan.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi - just saw your blog link on Coffee Time Romance and popped over for a look. Like your blog, and romantic suspense. My first novel, a Regency romance, is being published by Champagne Books in May, so I'm trying to get used to those chat forums!
http://romygemmell.blogspot.com/

Terry Odell said...

Hi, Rosemary. Welcome. Hope to see you here often. Congrats on your release.

Courtney Rene said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day. Me I am fore-going the green beer and spirits this year, but will be making and enjoying a our usual lovely Irish dinner of Stew, soda bread, and orange scones. No bars or pubs for me.

ctny
www.ctnyrene.blogspot.com

Kristi Helvig said...

My neighbors just got back from Ireland, and I want to go! I'm dying to take the kids there when they're older. If my daughter lived there, she'd probably get sick of my constant visiting. Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Anne K. Albert said...

Thanks for the informative post on how the Irish spend St. Paddy's Day! :-)

S.Durham said...

Uhm, Soda bread and Irish stew. Sounds like good comfort food. I have to admit I've always loved a green beer on St. Paddy's day, but maybe I'll be brave and try the 'thick black' and open a Guiness Beer.

Cheers, Sara

Jess said...

Hi everyone! The parades are over, people are making plans to head out for the evening. The students in the Holylands are undoubtably wreaking havoc (the beer funnels were out!) as per usual, and I think I have eaten all the potatoes in Ireland!

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh!

Maryann Miller said...

Thanks for this informative post. Never knew the corned beef and cabbage was an American addition to the celebration. Likewise, the green beer. We sure do strange things to other countries' customs and foods don't we.

Terry Odell said...

Maryann - love learning and sharing new things. And I'll add my thanks to Jessica's to everyone taking the time to leave a comment. Kristi, although I've been to Cork, I've yet to go visit my daughter. It's on my list.

Annabelle Ambrosio said...

Enjoyed the blog, especially since my ancestors on my father's side came to northern Ireland from Scotland many years ago.
Ann Ambrosio

Anonymous said...

My friends & I call Paddy's Day, All Snakes Day (long story) and while I don't go out to celebrate all things Irish on that day, I play Celtic music on Sunday, went to see Irish supergroup Solas last Saturday, going to see Celtic Steps (dancing) tonight, so plenty going on & yes, always drink "the black stuff" and eat Irish stew & soda bread.