Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Millions of people around the world today are drinking Guinness and wearing green, even if they’re not of recent Irish heritage. As usual I forgot to wear anything green, though I did have a pint of Guinness and a whiskey. Though the Guinness wasn’t great, probably due to the journey from Dublin to Liège.
I’ve written often about the relationship between English and the Irish language, and the way we use English in Ireland in general, so rather than repeat myself, I’ll share links to the relevant posts below:
I will just say one thing though: it’s good to be aware that the informal name for the day is St. Paddy’s Day (well actually, in Ireland, we usually say just Paddy’s Day: the saint part is taken as read), not St. Patty’s Day. St. Patty’s Day really, really annoys a lot of Irish people. I get why some people assume Patty is the short form of Patrick, but it still sounds silly to me. Paddy has long been an informal diminutive of the name Patrick. The d probably comes from the fact that the Irish-language translation of the name is Padraig, though the d is normally silent (“Pawrig”). It’s not as common now as it was in the past, probably because it became used as a pejorative term for Irish people in the UK (like Mick in the US), though you don’t hear it used in that way so much anymore.
And if you ever visit Ireland, don’t even think about ordering an Irish car bomb in a bar. It could get you into serious trouble, though I’d like to think that goes without saying. And it would prove spectacularly offensive in Northern Ireland too. While there aren’t many car bombs going off up there anymore, I don’t think anyone, regardless of what community they’re from, would look too kindly on it.
And finally, don’t be like Trump, and know that there are three leaves on a shamrock. It’s place as an Irish symbol has nothing to do with four-leaf clovers: rather it was said that St. Patrick used the plant to illustrate the concept of the Christian triune God to Irish chieftains.
Lá Fhéile Padraig Shona Daoibh go léir!