How America Invented St. Patrick’s Day

TIME

When I was growing up in Britain in the 1970s, St. Patrick’s Day didn’t exist. The conflict in Northern Ireland was at its bloodiest, and it was not a time when British cities would open their civic spaces for a celebration of things Irish. My sense of what St. Patrick’s Day looked like was informed by the odd news story about celebrations in the U.S. The day appeared as something that was more about Irish America than it was about Ireland.

Years later, I was in a bar in Dublin with a friend discussing Irish history topics that needed to be written about. We agreed that the most obvious Irish date in the calendar, March 17, had never been touched by scholars, and a journey thus began. For the pair of us, the following years were all about understanding parades, Irishness, green beer, and corned beef and cabbage. We looked…

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Author: rjbailey

"I have no idea what I'm doing, but I know I'm doing it really, really well." - Andy Dwyer

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