The Irish holy trinity: Guinness, pubs, and craic

By Victoria Bradford

Visual & Design Editor

When Greg Delanty was a boy growing up in Cork, Ireland, every member of his family would wear a sprig of shamrock on Saint Patrick’s Day. “It was fresh shamrock and you’d wear it on your lapel,” he said, lighting up with the memories. “My mother used to send it to me for years,” even after he moved to the United States 33 years ago.

In Ireland, March 17 is about acknowledging the people of the past who went before us, Delanty explained.“We’re only here for a short time ourselves, and they made our lives possible.”

That’s a big contrast with many college students, who see March 17 as a time of Guinness drinking, pub crawling, and craic. Something most Americans don’t know is that the common celebratory traditions did not originate in Ireland. It has become a day associated with drinking, partying, and wearing green. 

Saint Michael’s has a number of folks from Saint Patrick’s birthplace, including President Lorraine Sterrit who was born and raised on the east coast of Northern Ireland, before taking her Irish lilt “across the pond.” On March 17, she said you will see her on campus in green celebrating her heritage. Although she enjoys the celebrations on both sides of the Atlantic, she said, “I like the fact that it’s celebrated here even by the people who are not Irish.”

 different parts of Ireland, different backgrounds, how they came together here and celebrating their own individuality as an Irish person. And what’s good about being Irish. He also mentions that it is a much bigger day here in the United States than the country of origin. He wants people to remember that Irish people wouldn’t drink to celebrate, a common myth. It was to get through the hard times they had to endure, whether that was during the famine or the troubles.

This year, March 17 falls during spring break. Liam Galvin ‘20 and Becca Stouges ‘19 each said they both spend their St. Patrick’s Days with their families watching parades. My neighborhood is full of Irish-Americans,” Galvin said.

Stouges said she also enjoys Irish food, such as corned beef, soda bread, and anything with potatoes, with her friends and family. 

At the core, what is important is the celebration of the Irish heritage and spending time with friends and family, Delanty said, whether you are in Ireland or elsewhere. He said, “Well, it’s different for America. But it has to be different because it’s a different country. It’s a different take. It’s a different world. It is different in its complexity and its in its background because they have different things to celebrate but the same as identity in being Irish and managing to get through at all.”
You also shouldn’t feel too bad about taking advantage of the Irish food that is served. Guinness and soda bread are good, it’s hard to argue that. Slàinte!