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  • Writer's pictureNicola McCabe

St Patricks Day 17th March

How to celebrate St Patrick's Day

St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and on the 17th of March, St. Patrick's Day will be celebrated by people all over the world. Irish and non-Irish folk will be eating, drinking and making merry with food, drink, and all things green. Although I hope there isn't any green-coloured Guinness as that would just be sacrilege, especially in Tim's eyes because it's one of his favourite drinks.

Festivals and parades

Although St Patrick is an Irish saint the huge parades that we're familiar with now actually originated in the US. In Ireland it was generally a much quieter affair. Nowadays though, lots of visitors flock to Ireland, and Dublin in particular, to witness the grand parade through the city centre. It's a public holiday in Ireland so it's celebrated by everyone. All the towns and cities will have a festival or parade of some kind, with floats and trailers, dancers, musicians and community group processions. And everything and everyone will be decked out in green, orange and white.

History of St Patrick

St. Patrick's actual name was Maewyn Succat and he was kidnapped and sold into slavery at age 16. Six years after he was captured he escaped from slavery to France, where he became a priest. He then returned to Ireland and spent the next 30 years helping to build Christian schools, churches, and monasteries across the country. Legend has it that St. Patrick used a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and that his parishioners then began wearing shamrocks to his church services. The shamrock is probably more widely recognised as a symbol of Ireland than the Celtic harp, which is the official symbol of Ireland.

How to celebrate

Guinness and whiskey are not the only great things to come out of Ireland (Colin Farrell, Pierce Brosnan?). Corned beef, cabbage and lamb stew, and traditional Irish soda bread are really tasty. Other traditional Irish foods include bangers and mash, colcannon, bacon and cabbage, potato bread and black pudding. Or what about a lovely plate of wild Irish smoked salmon? To finish off a delicious Irish meal, there can only be one thing, a glass of real Irish coffee.

The Irish Coffee was created in 1943 by Joe Sheridan, the chef at Foynes Port airbase near Limerick, Ireland. One evening, a flight had to turn back to Foynes Air base mid way through its journey. The chef, feeling sorry for the cold, tired and delayed passengers decided to whip up a special drink

According to legend, the name came about with the following exchange: "Hey Buddy," said a surprised American passenger, "is this Brazilian coffee?" "No," said Joe, "that's Irish Coffee."

How will you be celebrating?

Other than in 'Irish' bars I think that even outside of lockdown, St Patrick's Day in France is a very low key affair. We know some friends will be celebrating with their traditional meal and a few pints of the black stuff, and I have a feeling our 'celebrations' will be limited to Guinness and Irish coffees. Maybe I'll make a bit more of an effort this year though and see if I can find something green to wear. Look out for a few photos on our Facebook page. Happy St. Patrick' Day !

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