March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day – a day where anyone and everyone can call themselves Irish. This holiday is a global celebration of heritage and Irish culture in general.
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by most with wearing green, drinking green beer and whiskey shots. People throw festive parties, as well as lots of restaurants. Most gatherings are equipped with green decorations, green drinks, green attire on the guests and corned beef and cabbage for dinner.
Parades are the biggest celebration of all, dating back to 1601 started in America – not Ireland. The St. Patrick’s Day parades started right here in St. Augustine, Florida!
I am 50 percent Irish on my mother’s side. My Irish grandfather lived with us for the last 10 years of his life. He lived for St. Patrick’s Day! He would put up a big strand of shamrock lights and decorate his little apartment in our house. He blasted Irish music at all hours, and since his room backed up to our daughter’s, I would hear her beating on her wall and begging Grandpa to turn his Irish music down. I found it amusing, because I thought it would be me beating on the door or wall trying to get some musical peace from my teenagers.
Grandpa made his own Irish drink, which he called, “Kickapoo juice.” One sip was all I could handle. It was potent to say the least. He said he would drink it and see little leprechauns dancing around. He knew he had too much when they started talking back to him. It took him about three days to sleep it off and recuperate.
Another famous recipe that dated way back on my family tree was a stew called, “Laligaslop.” You ate it with the traditional Irish soda bread. It was bad! My mom liked to stay with the corned beef and cabbage, potatoes and Irish soda bread. She always took everything to the next level. She would take green food coloring and with every item of food possible, she would turn it green to match our green beer.
I never wore green. It was a challenge at school for years. My mom bought me a pair of green shamrock earrings from Sarah Coventry back in seventh grade, and I still have them and wear them every year.
I never visited Ireland, even though I still have relatives in County Wexford. My aunt flew there several years ago but couldn’t locate them. I also like the fact that Ireland has no snakes – you all know how I feel about snakes!
When Irish eyes are smiling – no more Kickapoo juice for you!