Here we are, just ten short days away from the Irish New Year, Christmas, Thanksgiving and Independence Day all rolled into one. It's St. Patrick's Day, folks! Why are we focusing on this happiest of holidays so far in advance? Firstly, with a day of this magnitude you really need a countdown. Second, I didn't really even acknowledge it last year and so I owe you (and St. Pat) one. Thirdly, this is my blog, I'm Irish, and I say so.Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let me fill you in on how this is going to work. Everyday for the next ten days I'll toss up a couple of St. Patrick Day treats here on the old blogstead (it's like a homestead, but for the Internet). Not only will I prepare you for the ultimate St. Patty's Day party with a list of requirements for a successful celebration, but I'll also school with you with some fun-filled, little known, not necessarily true facts about the origin and history of The Day Belonging to the Saint Known as Patrick (that's not really its official name, I just thought I'd make it sound a little more impressive...it worked didn't it?).
The Original Beer Swilling Irish Priest St. Patrick's Day is of course the celebration and commemoration of the Savior of the Emerald Isle, St. Patrick. What did he save it from? Well, while the actual historical facts are lost as writing had not yet been invented (don't listen to that tomfoolery about the Egyptians and the Hieroglyphs, everybody knows that Shakespeare invented writing. Before that we all just hoped we didn't forget stuff) and legend tells us that it was a plague of snakes and werewolves that St. Patrick cast out of Ireland (did we really need to mention the snakes? I thinking ridding an entire country of a plague of werewolves would have been plenty to warrant getting a day named in your honor), it is a widely held belief (widely here meaning held by this author and this kid from my high school that I convinced) that it was the teetotalers that St. Patrick banished from Ireland. That my friends is something worth celebrating. Patrick had seen in his travels around the countryside (all 14 acres of it) that Ireland was a country rife with conflict. Wives nagging their husbands for terrifying too long at the pub, mothers berating their sons for boozing and carousing instead of seeking gainful employment as a shepherd or...well, that's pretty much all there is to do in Ireland. Sure, he could have sided with the ladies striving for the "betterment" of their men, but Patrick knew that while you can take the Irish out of the booze, you can't take the booze out of the Irish. If there's one thing that the Irish (particularly our Priests) are good at, it's picking a winner. So Patrick with his walking stick and beer mug in hand drove the teetotalers into the sea. He was quickly canonized, and a day was set aside every year to honor his struggle against the forces of intolerance and sobriety. The Ultimate St. Patrick's Day Party: A Drunken List 1. Irish Tunes -- While our temper and love of spirits may be our two defining features, its our ability to get our groove on that separates the Irish from countless other ethnic groups. To set the mood at your St. Patty's Day soiree (and by the way, you probably shouldn't call it a soiree) make sure you have plenty of proper Gaelic tunes on hand. I'll give you a few great examples, but in general if you can dance to it without moving your upper body (and thereby not spilling your drink) it's probably fine. "Seven Drunken Nights" by the Dubliners -- The quintessential Irish Drinking song. It's funny, irreverent, and it's so dirty the last two nights have to be censored. "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphy's -- This is that awesome Irish rock song from "The Departed". On second thought, pretty much anything from these guys will work. There name is "The Dropkick Murphy's," how could they not be awesome? "13 Drinking Songs" by Naked and Shameless -- This is an entire album that you should add to your playlist. True it's not exactly Irish, but this is a band named Naked and Shameless with songs like "Drinking Song #6 I Need a Liver". There's a lot to love here. "Whiskey You're the Divil" -- Nope, I didn't spell it wrong, it's just that I'm so Irish I slur my speech a little, see? Awesome song, good chorus (which means a sing-a-long) and just long enough to finish a drink but not need another one. "Whiskey in the Jar" by Literally Anyone has ever played music -- It's a little known fact that when you form a band you are legally required to cover three songs. "Baby I Love Your Way" by Peter Frampton (for the ladies), "Stairway to Heaven" by Zeppelin (for the rocker in you) and "Whiskey in the Jar" (for everybody else). It has the aforementioned great chorus for singing along, it's an awesome story song about love, greed and betrayal, and the words in the chorus basically require you to take on an Irish accent. Rock. Coming Tomorrow: Is that a Leprechaun or Are You Just Happy to See Me?