Today is Saint Patrick’s Day, the national day of the country of Ireland. A saint is considered a very holy person in the Christian religion. St. Patrick (notice the abbreviation for “saint” is St.) was a famous priest who worked and lived in Ireland more than 16 centuries (1600 years) ago. There are many stories told about St. Patrick, some of them true, some of them not. One famous story says that he drove (got rid of, eliminated) all of the snakes from Ireland. (But Ireland didn’t actually have any snakes in that period! The Irish are famous for telling good stories, however.)
During the 19th century, there were many Irish who left their country and came to the United States. The Irish in America became powerful in government and in the leadership of the Catholic Church. Even today, more than 150 years later, there are many Irish-Americans in these two areas. One of the most famous Irish-American politicians, John F. Kennedy, became president in 1960. Most of the Catholic leaders today are still Irish-Americans, including the leader of the church in Los Angeles and other big cities.
Many Irish immigrants settled (moved to and lived) in large American cities such as Boston, New York, and Chicago. St. Paul, Minnesota, was also a popular place for the Irish. When I was growing up in St. Paul, many of the leaders of the city were still Irish-Americans. My great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother, Mary McQuillan, came to St. Paul in the 1840s, and there have been McQuillans there ever since (since that time). I remember growing up, there was always a parade (a celebration with people walking through the streets) on St. Patrick’s Day. My family always went downtown to march (walk) in the parade representing the McQuillans of St. Paul. Everyone would wear green (the color of Ireland) and those old enough would drink beer and have a good time. (Even those not old enough would sometimes drink at times!)
At my elementary (grade) school, about half of the students were Irish-American. There were also a lot of German-Americans who lived in St. Paul, and many students came from German-American families. So on St. Patrick’s Day, we would have the Irish-German Games, a competition between the Irish and German students. (If you were not German or Irish, you could choose which team to play on.) I think the Irish usually won, but perhaps that is because I was always on the Irish team :).
I don’t do much to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day here in Los Angeles, but my brothers back in St. Paul usually get together at a bar owned by one of my cousins to have a drink. The Irish are considered to be very lucky (fortunate), and we sometimes speak of the “luck of the Irish.” I feel lucky being able to be part of ESL Podcast, so I guess the saying (expression) is true.