Are YOU Irish Today?

Mar 17th, 2016 | By | Category: Columns, Eileen: This is Your Brain On...

My name is Eileen Michael Paddy O’Lavelle and welcome to my informational guide on St. Patrick’s Day! Like a newborn sidling up to his/her first bottle of Guinness (yuck!), you are probably a bit curious, a bit wary and a bit ready to be disgusted on how to approach this most special of bullshit holidays. Well, I am here to help you!

My credentials: My parents are from Ireland! This means I am 100% Irish-American. Being Irish-American means I am paler than chalk, and laugh uproariously when you claim to be “black Irish.” Hahahahaha, you are so funny because you do not know what real things are! Other things that make me giggle:

  • “My grandmother is from Cork. Have you met her?”
  • “My aunt gave money to the IRA because she is true to the cause. I’m not sure what the cause is but we are VERY IRISH. My great great grandfather came here from Limerick. Have you met him?”
  • “Were your grandparents literate?”
  • “We are getting handfasted in Connecticut because we are Irish traditionalists.”
  • “Does your aunt live in a thatched cottage?”

But quite possibly my biggest credential is St. Patrick’s day is my birthday! Oh, it brings so much joy to my inbred Catholic heart when I am embarrassed on my day of birth by puking crowds blinding my eyes in various shades of off-kilter green while singing “Danny Boy” (written by an Englishman by the way. Not an Irish song, sorry! It’s also generally terrible!).

But enough about me, plastic paddies. Let’s get started!

The Man Behind the Myth

Who was Saint Patrick? He was a Roman Britain and kidnapped by Irish pirates/marauders when he was a child and forced into slavery. Whoops!

Or, he ran away to Ireland to hug animals? Ye Olde Dr. Doolittle, maybe? There are still some questions historians are trying to answer! He certainly wasn’t hugging snakes though, nor did he drive them out of Ireland because there never were any. But we all know the greatest achievement in life is receiving praise for something you never did.

Never happened. Dig the robes, though.

Never happened. Dig the robes, though.

Anyways, he went back to Great Britain but returned to Ireland because he wanted to show his enslavers/pirates he vacationed with this cool new hot and sexy Christianity thing! It was a hit and Saint Patrick fast-tracked his way to sainthood! Sure, he’s not as cool as Saint Brigid, but his holiday soon took off over the world for the Irish diaspora (aka all of South Boston) who yearned for the Old Country after they left Ireland in many different immigration “waves” because of systematic starvation, disease, insanity, poor houses, prison, murder and plain old regular death!

Thank you England for "Danny Boy" AND famine walls. Shout out to coffin ships!

Thank you England for “Danny Boy” AND famine walls. Shout out to coffin ships!

Now that you have some historical background on March 17th, here are some examples of how people not from Ireland and/or of questionable Irish extraction celebrate “Ireland’s Second Rate Saint Day!”

Wearing Shamrocks

The shamrock is said to symbolize the holy trinity. This means that all those years of eating shamrocks as a child in my uncle’s fields, I was devouring the metaphorical bodies of thousands of Jesuses. No wonder I’m so untouchable.

This doesn't look dumb at all.

This doesn’t look dumb at all.

Sadly, if you’ve been to Ireland, you are more likely to get an ass full of nettles than find a bouquet of shamrocks.

Touch me and burn like a night after Charlie Sheen

Touch me and burn like a night after Charlie Sheen

Searching for Leprechauns

Fairy or racist caricature of Irish people? Guess what, it’s both! Like Sean Penn, I’ve never met a person dressed up like a leprechaun that I didn’t want to punch in the face.

The only pot of gold you'll find will be at the bottom of the toilet after you're done eating my Lucky Charms!

The only pot of gold you’ll find will be at the bottom of the toilet after you’re done eating my Lucky Charms!

Eating Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned beef is as traditionally Irish as Richard Gere’s accent in The Jackal.

Wearing Green and “Kiss Me I’m Irish”

Green symbolizes Irish Nationalism and “Kiss Me I’m Irish” symbolizes the NEED TO BREED AW YEAH.

Frankly, Irish people were  ostracized in many ways when they immigrated to America and other nations from the 17th through the 20th century. So, in order to integrate themselves successfully, they had no choice but to sex everyone up Catholic style (no condoms and lots of guilt afterwards). “Kiss Me I’m Irish” is a true testament to the Irish people:

  • Driven
  • Horny
  • May or may not call you tomorrow
Drinking

Yes, there are a lot of places that serve alcohol in Ireland. But bars and pubs are more of a gathering place than a reason to drink your face off. Irish culture is very social. That’s why I was so bored by high school parties, I had already been to at least ten all night ragers by the time I was eight.

This crowd is giving thanks to the Irish War of Independence

This crowd is giving thanks to the Irish War of Independence

So is Saint Patrick’s day really about getting drunk, or is it more about togetherness and for one day, suspending the realization that we are all yearning for a connection, however brief?

One could say that Saint Patrick’s day is more of a celebration inspired by a lonely slave boy for exiles of a country who were maligned, mistreated and marginalized when they came to America and yearned for a home they could never afford to return to.

One could also say: LET’S GET WASTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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