Happy St. Patrick's Day Elk Grove

First posted on St. Patrick's Day 2010 |   As an American with an Irish surname with 50-percent Irish blood, I’d like to wish ever...

First posted on St. Patrick's Day 2010 |  

As an American with an Irish surname with 50-percent Irish blood, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

So what is St. Patrick’s Day anyway? Here is the Readers Digest version.

St. Patrick was a Celtic Bishop sent to by the Roman Catholic Church to evangelize Ireland. According to some accounts, the Emerald Isle was the only place where force was not used to convert an indigenous population to Christianity. St. Patrick's Day is a celebration of the Patron Saint of Ireland.

(Lore has it that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. Perhaps they resurfaced on Wall Street 1,500 years later.)

Thirteen years ago I had the good fortune of being in Ireland on March 17. Unlike the American version, their St. Patrick’s Day is more comparable to our Thanksgiving.

On that particular day we found ourselves in the Western Ireland city of Galway. After driving through a fierce hale storm from Connemara National Park and seeing several rainbows, we arrived in time for the parade.

After the parade, we found a quaint bed and breakfast and had dinner at a restaurant brimming with happy families. Corned beef and cabbage was not on the menu. Our festive dinner was followed by the obligatory visit to one of the local pubs.

The pub patrons were certainly lively and warm. An older gentlemen asked my last name and insisted even though I was born in America, I would always be an Irishman.

Never mind that as an Michigan alum the only team more despised than Ohio State is the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame (sorry Dad). I went along - what was I do to do - he bought me a few pints.

Once again at the pub, it was more like a family affair. Families were there with kids in tow listening to some wonderful music and talking one another’s ear off.

No green beer, no fist fights. Just a bunch of families and friends listening to wonderful music, tipping a few pints and having a great time.

It was truly a memorable evening.

By the way, old time Elk Grove residents may recall that Monsignor Albert O’Connor, the former parish priest at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church was from Galway.

So as we all eat our obligatory Ish-American (Ish is for the Irish and Jewish American) meal of corn beef and cabbage and tip a few pints of Guinness later today, keep in mind St. Patrick’s Day in it’s true Irish form is about family, not green beer.

To read an excellent book about St. Patrick and how the Irish saved the world, visit our Amazon link and do a search for "How the Irish Saved Civilization" by Thomas Cahill. A truly fascinating read.

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