An American in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day

Sixteen years ago I had the good fortune of being in Ireland on March 17. Unlike the American version, their St. Patrick’s Day is more comparable to our Thanksgiving.

On that particular day we found ourselves in the Western Ireland city of Galway. After driving through a fierce hale storm from Connemara National Park and seeing several rainbows, we arrived in time for the parade.

After the parade, we found a quaint bed and breakfast and had dinner at a restaurant brimming with happy families. Corned beef and cabbage was not on the menu. Our festive seafood dinner was followed by the obligatory visit to one of the local pubs.

The pub patrons were certainly lively and warm. An older gentlemen asked my last name and insisted even though I was born in America, I would always be an Irishman.

Never mind that as an Michigan alum the only team more despised than Ohio State is the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame (sorry Dad). I went along – what was I do to do, he bought me a few pints.

Once again at the pub, it was more like a family affair. Families were there with kids in tow listening to some wonderful music and talking one another’s ear off.

No green beer, no fist fights. Just a bunch of families and friends listening to wonderful music, tipping a few pints and having a great time.

It was truly a memorable evening.

So as we all eat our obligatory Ish-American (Ish is for Irish and Jewish) meal of corn beef and cabbage and tip a few pints of Guinness later today, keep in mind St. Patrick’s Day in it’s true Irish form is about family, not green beer.

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