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In many parts of the world, March 17 marks the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day; a holiday with roots in Ireland, let’s visit some homes and explore the culture and history of the Irish holiday with David Ashmore, owner, Ireland Sotheby’s International Realty.
For a comparatively small country, Ireland has made a disproportionate contribution to world literature, music and comedy. It’s also true to say that on March 17, everyone’s a little Irish. Even though St. Patrick’s Day is only a public holiday in a handful of places, “Irishness” is celebrated around the world.
Every St. Patrick’s Day around the world, people dress up in green, attend parades and celebrations and raise a pint of Guinness to the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick. Celebrating the feast of Ireland’s patron saint goes back a long time, to the 5th century. Nowadays, it’s more of a party for St. Patrick, as this religious and cultural festival is celebrated around the country with festivals, parades, fireworks, pints and plenty of green.
Historically, the day commemorated St Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. In medieval times, the Irish would celebrate the Feast of St. Patrick with a pilgrimage to a sacred place (usually a holy well or chapel) and a mass or prayers held on the holy location. This was followed with festivals involving food, music, dancing and games. Today, St. Patrick’s Day highlights Irish heritage and culture; across Ireland, different regions and towns have their own unique ways to celebrate one of Ireland’s biggest holidays.
2.350.000 € EUR | Puckane, Ireland | Ireland Sotheby’s International Realty
Ireland’s capital city [Dublin] is home to the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the country. Hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets, decked out in wild and fantastical costumes, to celebrate with an extravagant four-day festival. Dublin hosts an elaborate parade, themed events, a treasure hunt through the city, street performers, guided pub crawls and an awe-inspiring firework show over the River Liffey.
Channel your inner “Irish Spirit” with these 10 Facts about St. Patrick’s Day
- St. Patrick was not Irish. He was from Wales.
- The humble shamrock was originally a teaching tool. St. Patrick is said to have used the three-leaved plant to explain the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) to the pagan Irish.
- The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in New York in the 1760s.
- For many years, blue was the colour most often associated with St. Patrick. Green was considered unlucky. St. Patrick’s blue was considered symbolic of Ireland for many centuries and the Irish Presidential Standard is still blue.
- For many years, Dripsey in County Cork had the world’s shortest parade, just 77 feet, the distance between two pubs – The Weigh Inn and The Lee Valley. Currently, the town of Hot Springs, Arizona claims to have the shortest parade – a 98 foot route on Bridge Street.
- In 2010, the Sydney Opera House went green to mark the 200th anniversary of St. Patrick’s Day there. In Sydney, St Patrick’s Day was first marked in 1810, when Lachlan Macquarie, the Governor of New South Wales, provided entertainment for Irish convict workers.
- Irish flee the country. In Ireland on March 17 you’ll find many public figures, musicians, and dancers have travelled abroad to work on lucrative gigs elsewhere.
- In Chicago every year, the Plumbers Local 110 union dyes the river “Kelly” green. The dye lasts for about five hours.
- Traditionally, every year, the Irish leader hands a crystal bowl full of shamrock to the US President. The shamrock, grown in Kerry, is immediately destroyed by the Secret Service after the exchange.
- Guinness sales soar on St. Patrick’s Day. Recent figures show that 5.5 million pints of the famous stout are downed around the world every day. On St. Patrick’s Day that figure is doubled.