Love of the Irish: St. Patrick’s Day Reflections

A Personal St. Patrick’s Day Planning Cycle

St. Patrick’s Day Plan 1. The most obvious plan is to drink. I am part Irish according to, a lot of people in the town (hamlet, really) where I grew up in were Irish, including my first boyfriend. And I always have a Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day. On reflection, that is never the best plan, because as I often say, drinking is a risk factor for getting cancer.

Alternate St. Patrick’s Day Plan 2. Drink with family and friends. A better plan because drinking alone is never good even aside from cancer risk. One thing leads to another before you know it.

Better Alternate St. Patrick’s Day Plan 3. Invite people over to drink. I like this idea even more, except that the family won’t want me to drink at all, so they might not be agreeable. But then, there is a Guinness Zero without alcohol.

Best Alternate St. Patrick’s Day Plan 4. Cook up traditional Irish food for lunch and invite the family and friends. And drink a little bit. That’s the one! Totally responsible plan.

Step 1. Look up great recipes for traditional Irish foods. Looking, looking. Oh no! Everything has meat and dairy! My daughters can’t eat meat (because of an inherited metabolic disorder, PKU) and I have high cholesterol (even though I’m vegan). Damn. Searching, searching. Yes! Amazing alternatives exist with easy vegan substitutions, even Irish soda bread, and a coconut-based whipped cream that’s nondairy for Irish coffee if you can find it in stock. I can do this.

Step 2. Get decorations! Cutest garland of vintage cards with shamrocks and lepricons ever, right here. Thank you Amazon. Are these cute images relevant to Ireland, really? I don’t know yet. (See Step 5.)

Step 3. What about activities? A guessing game on Irish culture, like famous authors? Looking, looking, finding lists of men, more lists of men. Really though, I had no idea about a lot of things having been written by Irish men. Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, W.B. Yeats’ poetry, Seamus Heaney’s Beowolf translation, C.S. Lewis’s books that were made into movies, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Chronicles of Narnia… and so many others. I am amazed!

Step 3 cont. Wait. Where are the women Irish writers? Looking, looking, found it! Thank you Oprah daily, I had never heard of any of these Irish women authors. Where have I been? My new reading list just got so much longer. Anna Burns (Milkman – recently won the Booker Prize), Sally Rooney (Normal People – made into a TV series), Emma Donoghue (I had seen the amazing movie based on her book, “The Wonder“)… and so many others. I can’t wait to read some of these!

Step 4. Pick out some great Irish music. Looking, looking, Celtic music, Irish music, religious music, so much beautiful music. Wait. What’s Irish hip-hop and Irish rap? Kneecap are so good. Thank you YouTube. But what are they angry about? Now I just feel really stupid…and moving on to Step 5.

Step 5. Irish history cram session is essential preparation. Looking, looking. What? They had a different language and different script, Ogham. The Irish language, Gaeilge nearly died due to “colonisation, enforced low status, emigration, religious pressures, breaking up of communities, classism and elitism associations, poorly structured and implemented education… a perfect socio-linguistic storm”. Thank you Ogham academy. Ireland was invaded again and again, tragically partitioned and still suffers from the results today. Thank you Vice News.

Now I feel really depressed.

St. Patrick’s Day Plan 5. Just take a nap for today, this is all too overwhelming. And when St. Patrick’s Day does come around, eat well, drink responsibly, and share some realities of the Ireland of today.


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