Irish For A Day
BY BILL RUBIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th is an important day for the Irish and wannabe Irish around the globe.
Ask the Moore’s, Donahue’s, Ring’s, Casey’s, Geraghty’s, Early’s, Padden’s, Brennan’s, Murtha’s, Riley’s, and Clennan’s of St. Croix County. For good measure, throw in the O’Keefe’s to keep Mike and Rob happy.
Ask many of the residents in Cylon, Erin Prairie, and Emerald. Flags of Ireland fly year-round in these towns, and garden monuments likely read Erin Go Bragh, literally meaning Ireland till the end of time. Stone leprechauns may be as common as barn pigeons.
Ask the Mayor of Hudson, Rich O’Connor. His Notre Dame apparel gives him away. Go Rich. Go Fightin’ Irish. Go Touchdown Jesus.
As for wannabe Irish like the Rubin’s, going with O’Rubin or McRubin on the big day is a more difficult sell. Holy McSauerkraut. Sounds like a bad sandwich. Even with the strong German name, the Rubin matriarch proudly claimed Scottish, Irish, English, and Danish as her heritage. By the tip of a long shirttail, the Irish bases appear covered.
To better assimilate on St. Patrick’s Day, consider these historical tips:
-March 17th is the anniversary of the death of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland in the fifth century. Born in Roman Britain, Saint Patrick was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at a young age. He later escaped Ireland, but returned and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people. He reportedly explained the Holy Trinity by using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock. Combining all of this, March 17 was observed as a religious holiday.
-Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day has been around since the ninth or tenth century. But wait. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade actually took place in the Americas, not Ireland. Records show a parade was held in 1601 in a Spanish colony of what is now St. Augustine, Florida. By 1772, homesick Irish soldiers serving in the English military (the Red Coats) marched in New York City. Its popularity in the U.S. grew dramatically.
-When the potato famine hit Ireland in 1845, close to one million poor and mostly uneducated Irish families fled to the U.S. to escape starvation.
-With growing numbers, Irish Americans realized they had potential political power. They organized in solidarity on certain issues and their voting blocs became known as the green machine. President Harry Truman joined the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City in 1948 as a way to better align with the Irish. Today politicians don’t miss parades.
Whether it’s dyeing a river green, wearing a derby, parading, or consuming soda bread, corned beef and cabbage, a shamrock shake, or an Irish coffee stout at a local brewery, St. Paddy’s Day worldwide and in the St. Croix Valley is a grand day for the Irish. Just ask the Moore’s, Donahue’s, Ring’s, Casey’s, Geraghty’s, Early’s, and of course, the wannabe O’Rubin’s. . . . Erin Go Bragh.