St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland

We recently presented a look at how St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in the United States. Now we turn our focus to our friends in Ireland to see what they make of the big day. This report comes from Kevin O’Neill and Clair Loughrey at the ModSquad European Operations Centre, located in Derry, Northern Ireland.

St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) is recognized all over the world as a celebration of everything Irish, but of course no more so than here on the Emerald Isle! It is truly a day to be enjoyed, and people in Ireland do so in many ways. There will be parades held across the country, with people gathering in seas of green to get involved in the festivities. Others will choose to spend the day in their local pub, playing and/or listening to traditional Irish music and enjoying a few pints of Guinness whilst watching the yearly GAA Club finals on the TV. We’ll be celebrating in the office as well with our own festivities!

If anyone fancies a quick hop over the pond, Derry will be celebrating with four days of events, kicking off on the 17th and going right through to the 20th. In addition, a few of St. Patrick’s most avid followers may continue to celebrate well into the following week. This year’s theme is The Land of the Little People; highlights include the St. Patrick’s Day Spring Carnival parades, the Ubuntu Festival of World Traditions, the LegenDerry Food Festival, the Little Folk Fest, a Pixies Paradise, and much more to keep everyone entertained during the holiday.

It wasn’t always like this. Until the 1970s, St Patrick’s Day was a minor holiday in Ireland. The feast day would be acknowledged by a celebratory mass, and families would gather together with a meal and family activities. It wasn’t even until 1996 that the first St. Patrick’s Day festival took place in Dublin.

For us, as children, a typical St. Patrick’s Day would have consisted of mass in the morning, with our tinfoil-wrapped shamrocks pinned to our best (and only) green jacket or dress, followed by a gathering in the village to watch our local band parade through. The rest of the day was typically dedicated to visiting relatives, although sometimes we’d go on road trips to view larger parades; it was always a great family day out. It was also the one Lenten day during which that we were allowed to break our promises (cue stuffing your face with any sugar-coated or chocolaty treat you could get your hands on until completely stuffed).

Things changes as we got older; we’d share stories about how we celebrated the day as young adults… if only we could remember some of it!

Whatever you have planned for St. Patrick’s Day, we hope you have a great time. From everyone here in the Derry office, Sláinte! Here are some Irish phrases to help you navigate the St. Paddy’s waters.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! (singular)
Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit!

La ale-lah pwad-rig son-ah ditch


A pint of Guinness, please.
Pionta Guinness, le do thoil.

Pine-tah Guinness, le doh hull

Give me the same as the man on the floor!
Tabhair dom an rud céanna mar atá ag an fhear ar an t-úrlar!
Toe-er do un rudd kear-nah marr ah-ta ig un arr air un urr-lar

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