Skip to comments.St. Patrick's Day Fast Facts: Beyond the Blarney
Posted on 03/15/2005 12:51:58 PM PST by FeliciaCat
Millions of revelers will celebrate St. Patrick's Day on Thursday. A portion of them will undoubtedly find their way to an Irish pub, where they'll raise a pint of stoutnot a glass of green beer, God willingand wish their companions "Slainté!" The Irish word, pronounced SLAN-cha, means "health."
There may be scientific truth to the toast. At a meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Florida, two years ago, researchers reported that Guinness may be as effective as daily aspirin in reducing the blood clots that cause heart attacks. (The benefit derives from antioxidants, which the researchers said reduce cholesterol deposits on arterial walls. The compounds are found in dark Irish stouts but not their paler cousins.)
In the spirit of the holiday, National Geographic News rustled up other facts related to St. Patrick's Day festivities. Take heartwe skipped the blarney.
St. Patrick's Day marks the Roman Catholic feast day for Ireland's patron saint, who died in the 5th century. St. Patrick (Patricius in Latin) was not born in Ireland, but in Britain.
Irish brigands kidnapped St. Patrick at 16 and brought him to Ireland. He was sold as a slave in the county of Antrim and served in bondage for six years until he escaped to Gaul, in present-day France. He later returned to his parents home in Britain, where he had a vision that he would preach to the Irish. After 14 years of study, Patrick returned to Ireland, where he built churches and spread the Christian faith for some 30 years.
Many myths surround St. Patrick. One of the best knownand most inaccurateis that Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland into the Irish Sea, where the serpents drowned. (Some still say that is why the sea is so rough.)
But snakes have never been native to the Emerald Isle. The serpents were likely a metaphor for druidic religions, which steadily disappeared from Ireland in the centuries after St. Patrick planted the seeds of Christianity on the island.
Colonial New York City hosted the first official St. Patrick's Day parade in 1762, when Irish immigrants in the British colonial army marched down city streets. In subsequent years Irish fraternal organizations also held processions to St. Patrick's Cathedral. The various groups merged sometime around 1850 to form a single, grand parade.
Today New York's St. Patrick's Day parade is the longest running civilian parade in the world. This year nearly three million spectators are expected to watch the spectacle and some 150,000 participants plan to march.
Dublin's St. Patrick's Day parade is little more than 75 years old. This year festival organizers will launch 15,000 pounds (7 metric tons) of fireworks to cap their celebration, which is expected to draw 400,000 spectators.
By law, pubs in Ireland were closed on St. Patrick's Day, a national religious holiday, as recently as the 1970s.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 34 million United States residents claim Irish ancestry, or nearly ten times the entire population of Ireland today, which stands at 3.9 million. Among U.S. ethnic groups, the number of Irish-Americans in the U.S. is second only to the number of German-Americans.
Since 1820, 4.8 million Irish have legally immigrated to the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The agency reports that only four countriesGermany, Italy, Mexico, and the United Kingdomhave sent more native-born residents to become naturalized U.S. citizens.
Chicago is famous for dyeing the Chicago River green on St. Patrick's Day. The tradition began in 1962, when a pipe fitters unionwith the permission of the mayorpoured a hundred pounds (45 kilograms) of green vegetable dye into the river. (On the job, the workers often use colored dyes to track illegal sewage dumping.) Today only 40 pounds (18 kilograms) of dye are used, enough to turn the river green for several hours.
According to the Friends of the Chicago River, a local environmental group, more people are likely to view the Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day than on any other day.
Guinness stout, first brewed by Arthur Guinness in Dublin, Ireland, in 1759, has become synonymous with Ireland and Irish bars. According to the company's Web site, 1,883,200,000 (that's 1.9 billion) pints of Guinness are consumed around the world every year.
Robert Louis Stevenson, the 19th-century Scottish author of Kidnapped, Treasure Island, and other novels, brought a store of Guinness with him during a trip to Samoa in the South Pacific, according to the Guinness Web site.
Ireland is about 300 miles (480 kilometers) long and 200 miles (320 kilometers) wide. Those facts, along with other features, led Swedish geographer Ulf Erlingsson to recently conclude that the Atlantic Ocean island is the same one identified by ancient Greek philosopher Plato as Atlantis in his famous dialogues Timaeus and Critias.
Woo-hoo! Drink more Guinness!
ERIN, GO BRAGHless!
Any excuse right? ;)
I'm good for an Irish Car Bomb Thursday night.
"A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo, and when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine! That`s why you always feel smarter after a few beers."
Don't be tacky...you sound like a Kennedy!
Like I really need another excuse!
I usually drink Yuengling porter or black & tan but I can make the sacrifice and switch to Guinness.
"It may help reduce the risk of heart attacks."
Do you know the difference between "Bull" and "Blarney?"
It really is just a matter of style.
Example of Bull: Man speaking to an older but still attractive woman - "Sweetheart, you're the most beautiful woman I have ever seen!"
Example of Blarney: Man speaking to same woman - "Tell me darlin, what would be your age so I may know the time in a woman's life when she is most attractive!"
The great wisdom of the Grand Claven is second only to that of Master Yoda.
Since my last name is O'M well I have been around some Hell Raisin Irishmen on St Patty's Day!
Corn Beef, Cabbage, Garlic Mash Potatoes, Green Beer and
"Kiss me I'm Irish Buttons" are Traditional! LOL...
That's blarney - telling a woman she will be uglier (or less beautiful) tomorrow than she is today!
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