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Dublin: 15 °C Wednesday 18 July, 2018
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8 'traditions' that Americans started for St Patrick's Day

From Irish Car Bombs to Shamrock Shakes.

ST. PATRICK’S DAY is one of the best known holidays in the world. For that one day in March, landmarks around the world are turned green and everyone wants to be Irish. None more so than our good friends across the pond.

Source: GIPHY

Here are some St. Patrick’s Day traditions which started in the States and may or may not have made their way across the Atlantic.

1. The actual parade

The first documented St. Patrick’s Day parade actually took place in St. Augustine, Florida in 1601 and was organised by an Irish vicar. According to the research people were parading down the street in honour of the Irish saint a good 298 years before the first documented parade in Ireland took place in 1903.

Source: Artur Widak

2. Corned beef and cabbage

Far from the bacon and cabbage that a good portion of us were reared on, some Irish-Americans go wild for corned beef. Essentially when Irish immigrants arrived in the US, pork was a much more expensive meat to come by than in Ireland  so bacon was a no-go. Their close proximity to the Jewish quarter in New York meant corned beef was the next best thing to bacon due to its texture and hence it became a traditional meal for Irish-American’s every year.

Source: GIPHY

 3. Green beer

Green beer is very much associated with American St. Patrick’s day celebrations. However, pubs in Ireland used to have to close on St. Patrick’s Day. Basically a law was introduced that prevented pubs from opening due to fears of ‘excessive drinking’.

Imagine that, excessive drinking on Paddy’s Day. The law was repealed in 1961 so we can now get as drunk as we want.

Source: GIPHY

4. The Shamrock Shake

This grenade of sugar and E-numbers was introduced by McDonald’s in the States in 1970. Uncle O’Grimacey was a character created specifically to advertise the shake in the States. Complete with a terrible ‘fiddle-dee-dee’ accent and terrifying persona as shown in this ad from the late 1970′s. Dear god why.

Source: Darin Manser/YouTube

5. Dyeing the rivers green

A tradition started in Chicago in 1962 completely by accident. The dye that was used actual purpose was to source illegal pollution. It was later found to harm the river so now vegetable dye is used to create a healthy green glow. Since the Liffey is green year-round we don’t feel the need to follow suit.

Source: GIPHY

6. Singing ‘Irish Eyes Are Smiling’

The song which many people believe to be a popular Irish folk song was actually written by three lads from New York with only one of them having any connection to Ireland. It was covered by Bing Crosby in 1939 and was a song used in any movie about Ireland in the 1930s and 40s. However, it’s about as Irish as ‘Mr. Brightside’.

Source: Jefferson1942/YouTube

7. Irish Car Bombs

Apart from the offensive name, Irish Car Bombs are American as hell and sound disgusting. The only Irish thing about it is that it’s half a pint of Guinness into which you put half a shot of Jameson and half a shot of Bailey’s in a shot glass and watch it bubble up.

Source: GIPHY

Attempt to order one here and you’ll be thrown out of a pub, and rightly so.

8. Calling it ‘St Patty’s Day’

A patty can be a burger or it can be short for the name Patricia or even an affectionate nickname for  your Uncle Pat. Apparently it can also be the name for a thin, circular piece of sweet which is usually mint flavour (the more you know). It is NOT the shortened version of St. Patrick’s Day. It’s either St. Patrick’s Day or Paddy’s Day. End of.

Source: GIPHY

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About the author:

Rachel O'Neill

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