On March 17, the feast day of a little known 5th century missionary, the Chicago River is dyed green; college kids in Venice, California wait outside an Irish pub as early as 5:00 am; Montreal holds its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade – the longest running in world history. Yes, all around the world everyone is Irish on March 17. Corned beef and cabbage and Guinness are plentiful; jigs and leprechauns abound; and St. Patrick’s Day ranks as one of the few dates in which planet Earth unites in an eclectic form of harmony. Here’s a web guide for it.
Let’s give credit where it’s due: Patrick is so beloved here he’s one of the nation’s patron saints. And the Irish not only call March 17 a national holiday but in Dublin it’s the finale to a five-day celebration.
Wikipedia goes all out on its page for St. Patrick’s Day, with detailed accounts of the diverse global events on March 17, from Argentina to South Korea and across the United States. Trivia: Did you know Gen. George Washington gave his troops the day off on St. Patrick’s Day in 1780 in the midst of the Revolutionary War?
Thinking green, this beer site has orchestrated an Irish section featuring famous and lesser known Irish brews for you to celebrate being Irish for a day. It’ll also teach you how to pour a perfect Guinness pint, and its list of the 10 Great Pubs in America definitely gets around the country – Portland, New Orleans, and a couple in the hometown of the Celtics.
The origin of the concoction of Irish coffee has been a heated debate for decades – was it invented in San Francisco or in the Shannon Airport in Ireland? Probably the important thing is the drink, above all. Here’s the recipe for it.
Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.com
Called “The Largest Irish Parade Website in the World: Where the Irish Meet on the Internet for Parade Information,” this site recognizes that one of the mainstay fixtures of St. Patrick’s Day is a parade. Whether you’re a Grand Marshal Irishman, a member of participating group, or just a face in the crowd, you can check out major parades near your town with features like parade routes, parade history, and information on the parade committee.
Luck O’ the Irish on Film
One of the highlight scenes in the 1993 thriller was the chase sequence in downtown Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day. Filmed during the city’s 1992 St. Patrick’s Day parade, Harrison Ford eludes Tommy Lee Jones by melding into the sea of green and donning a discarded bowler hat for a disguise. Not only is it an effective action scene but it impressively makes the viewer feel part of Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
Gangs of New York
Scorsese’s 2002 epic set in New York’s Five Points area in the 1860s follows Irishman Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he wages war with Bill the Butcher (Daniel Day-Lewis). Scorsese’s unsentimental approach to the life and trials of the Irish in America is one of the few portrayals of early Irish immigrants and what they faced – including a dynamite sequence with immigrant men upon arrival in Ellis Island immediately put into Union uniforms to fight the Civil War. The musical score features Irish themed music by Howard Shore as well as popular music of the time.
From Irish director Jim Sheridan, this 2002 film follows an Irish immigrant family and their integration in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen in the 1980s. It stars Samantha Morton and Djimon Honsou, who both were nominated for Oscars for their performances. Sheridan (known for his Irish dramas like “The Boxer” and “My Left Foot”) manages to portray equal love for both Ireland and America in this film.
Road to Perdition
1930s era Irish gangsters in Chicago picture stars Tom Hanks as hitman Michael Sullivan and Paul Newman as the boss, Rooney. While time has proven the film to be about average, it still boasts fine cinematography and a very moody Irish-themed score by Thomas Newman.
Far and Away
Big, romantic epic from Ron Howard follows destitute Irish folk Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman whisk away from their homeland to try to start a new life in Oklahoma in the late 19th century.
The Quiet Man
Classic 1952 John Ford comedy-drama with John Wayne as ex-boxer living in America who returns to his home in Inisfree, Ireland. This movie does more to perpetuate the romantic notion of Ireland (green rolling hills, red-headed, fair-skinned lasses, and plenty of raucous celebrations) than any other film. Director Ford (born John Martin Feeney) won his 4th Oscar for directing this picture.
Pot of Gold
The Holiday Spot
It’s hard not to get caught up in all things Irish on March 17th. The Holiday Spot covers all the St. Patrick’s Day bases, including some jokes for you to master before you showcase your Irish wit at the pub.