Erin Go Bragh!

Today is one of the most important celebrations in the country of Ireland, and for those of us who are Irish-American (or Irish-Anything): St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th.  St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, a Roman Scot (from Scotland) who eventually went to Ireland and converted the Irish people to Christianity in the 5th century.  A saint is a holy man or woman, especially in the Catholic Church, and a patron saint is the saint who is especially associated with a place or kind of activity.

St. Patrick’s Day is especially important in the Irish-American community here in the U.S. as a day to be proud of our ancestry (where we came from originally).  While it is common for immigrant groups to bring with them the celebrations of their native (home) countries, the large size of the Irish immigrant population in the U.S. made St. Patrick’s Day the most popular and well-known ethnic (relating to a specific country) celebration in the country.  Cities with large Irish-American populations have parades (groups of people marching (walking) down the street with signs), including Boston, New York, Chicago, and of course my hometown (where you were born) of St. Paul, Minnesota. Each year, I remember we would take the day off of school and go down as a family to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown St. Paul.  Even though the first McQuillans came to the United States in 1840, this day was – and still is – a day we all get together as a family to celebrate, something that is true for a lot of Irish-American families.

Irish-Americans usually wear something green on this day, since green is the color associated with Ireland.  My father, for example, had the world’s ugliest green coat that he wore each year on this day.  Those celebrating today often have hats and shirts with shamrocks on them (see photo), which is one of the national symbols of Ireland.  (St. Patrick is said (is thought) to have used the three-leaf shamrock or clover to explain the Christian concept of the Trinity, that there is one God (one shamrock) but three Persons (three leaves).)  You will also see people with buttons on this day that say “Erin Go Bragh,” which means “Ireland Forever!” in the native language of the Irish, Gaelic.

St. Patrick’s Day is so popular in the U.S. that we say that everyone is Irish on this day, even if you really aren’t.  Non-Irish add the traditional Irish “Mc” or “O” to the beginnings of their last names as a joke, so Lucy Tse might be “Lucy McTse” or “Lucy O’Tse.”  Our president would be, of course, Barack O’Bama.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all!


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24 Responses to Erin Go Bragh!

  1. mano says:

    Barack O’Bama. That”s hilarious!:)) Thank you Jeff!

  2. Michel says:

    hello to every one….
    I have been twice in IRELAND. The first, I were 16 years old ( I am 52 now !!!!!!!) and we walked from DONEGAL to DUBLIN by foot with 2 friends of mine. No camping tent. Every day we asked someone if it’s possible to sleep inside a house and always they accept to give us a bed for the night or sleeping in a barn. To kind.
    Never we’ll forget The IRISH people. They are realy nice. Every day in a pub to drink guiness, talking with them friendly, singing with guitar and so many good thinks also….a lot of good memories.

    The second times, about 20 years later, with my wife, we road by byke all the long of the west coast and came back to CORK (3500 Km) to get the boat. A very wild and so amazing country, the montains in south west, the cliff of Moher, the conemara, and still the Donegal..every landscape so beautiful and always a great hospitality from the Irish people. I love this country and also Irish people.
    It’s a hard people but so very very kind. I’never forget them.

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you also Jeff.

  3. Matteo says:

    I’m happy to join and virtually celebrate St. Patrick and wonderful Ireland. I’ve been there a couple of years ago doing a two-week long bike tour in the lonely region of Connemara. This country is unique when it comes to nature and people friendliness and the landscape is indeed so green and blue. I definitely love this country !

  4. emiliano says:

    I like much more Lucy O´Tse and I don´t know the reason, may be the sound?. I think it sounds better to my spanish hears?, but Mc Tse is good too.
    Yes, I like it, a good idea Jeff.

    I was born in Madrid, but I feel proud of my ancestors from Burgos and Galicia, but usually we don´t use to do anything singular to celebrate our nationality or ancestry. It´s just a pity.
    Sometimes I would like to live outside or having spanish ancestry being born in other country to make a feast the day of our Patron Saint who is Santiago, or to celebrate that my ancestry was from Spain, yes it could be nice to do such a thing like yours.

    Of course I am out of fashion as now for so many people who were born in Spain they don´t like to be spaniards any more and they wanted to be outside their former country, and they are happy to say very proudly that they are not spaniards. I think this is very peculiar just to say that we are not from a country or a land feeling proud of telling that aloud and even burning the flag´s symbol or the King´s images what is very rude, I think.

    It is such a big contrast what you tell us about being so proud of your ancestry living in Usa for so long time with the new feelings here that no body seems to have anything similar of that, it is so strange that we don´t use to have any spanish symbol at home like a flag or even some image because we, the people who feel like spaniards, are afraid of being called a bad insult ..just for feeling proud of being what we are Spaniards.
    It´s funny that only when we win some sport league or cup we may show our flag without any complex, but not at home please it could be a risk
    of some quarrel with relatives, friends or neighbours.
    Incredible outside but a real true for the people living here.
    Well may be we, spanish, are a little confused after being so many years under a dictator like the one we had here in Spain, and having any symbol of the
    country at home it seems we are from the same old thought or feeling that were over that time?. Yes, may be, I think It´s neccesary to be spanish to understand
    what I am talking about.
    So shut up emiliano, it´s enough for today, it´s just a very boring subject.

    Congratulations Jeff, Irish people are not inhibited of telling aloud where they come from and make a feast of that, my best wishes for you and your
    family, also to Lucy McTse or O´Tse, what she likes more to be called by the feast.
    Today I am feeling like and Irish old man too, that´s very good.

  5. Kersh says:

    This topic is very educational for me!)) I’ve never read about this celebration before, only seen something about it in movies, on TV and so on… 🙂
    Thank You, Jeff!

  6. Calvin says:

    My teacher wore a green coat today. She should be native American. funny~~

  7. dongsung says:

    I’ve heard about st. Patrick’s Day and I know it is associated with Ireland. I’ve seen all audience wore green shirts to support their national Soccer Team through the TV. If the “Mc” or “O” on someone’s name is related with Irish name, the name of McDonald must come from Ireland. I’m working food related and one food I know, New England boiled Dinner, is one of the meal that people eat this special day as well. Thank you for telling us your Irish heritage. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you

  8. Tania says:

    Hi ! I like your detailed explanation on the St. Patrick’s Day . I have not known that green is the color associated with Ireland and nothing about “Ireland Forever ” . It sounds very tough .
    Also the Christian concept explanation of the Trinity – very suggestive , very interesting .
    In our stories for children the clover and bees appear frequently as a symbol of the spring and joy . And if you can find out a clover but with a leaf of four leaflets , oh ! for sure you are very , very lucky .
    If you want to wish good luck to somebody you can send a greeting card just with a clover leaf of four leaflets .
    I have found out twice a clover leaf of four leaflets . Am I a lucky woman ? And yes and no . Depending on … how you can see the life . The full or the empty part of the glass .

    St. Andrew is the national saint of Romanians and Romanian Orthodox Church . Saint Andrew came to Romania and converted us to Christianity two thousands ago .

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day .


  9. Tania says:

    Hi ! two thousands years ago .

  10. _ a l e j a n d r a _ says:

    i love your blog !!! . . i read it from spain, trying to improve my english as much as possible, because i´ve always loved your language . . i´m planning on starting to study next year in order to become a spanish teacher . . i want you to know that i admire your work !!!
    have a wonderful day !

  11. Chris says:

    The first time I saw St Patrick day was at New York in 2007. I thought it was an advocation of the enviornmental protection since they us green leaves as the logo.

  12. Tania says:

    Hi ! Dear Emiliano , in 90’s there was a concept “the shame to be a Romanian ” . It sounded strange for me as at school I was educated to be proud being a Romanian . Our ancestry came from Roma in 105-106 with
    their culture , language and civilization . So , I can understand you . It is a curiosity for me to say that as Spain is a very old and very important country at least historical talking . And your culture …
    At least I am not alone .

    All the best for you all , proud of your own country .


  13. Victor says:

    It was a pleasure to read this post, and so much educational, as usual 🙂 Thanks!

  14. gregorex says:

    I really like the idea of using Mc in front of your name. Although I was using very often nickname MacGregor, I don’t think it is the same as Mc’Gregor 🙁
    I would think it comes from Apple computer – Mac(intosh) as I like computers 😉
    To be honest I’m not big fun of Apple computers, probably because I don’t have one. Than maybe it comes from raincoat as it is very rainy in Britain (and Ireland as well) 😉

  15. Tania says:

    Hi ! I watched “The Godfather” years ago . I have the same opinion – it is a great movie . But too violent and too , too sad . And Al Pacino is my favourite actor .
    Watching him in “Scent of Woman ” … What can we say ? He is a perfect , a complet artist . And Andy Garcia played very well .
    We can watch “The Soprano ” right now on TV .
    Thank you for this nice topic .


  16. Tania says:

    Hi ! I watched on TV the autobiographic movie on Elvis’ life and many from his famous concerts . Even and some of his movies …
    He is a living legend after so many years from his death with a lot of fans in all the world .
    I always listen to his “Love me Tender” with pleasure and artistic excitement . He seems to be so close to us , so warm … living only for music .


  17. Tania says:

    Hi ! Thank you for the explanation of the words “markdown” and ” landmark status ” .

  18. Tania says:

    Hi ! Only robots do not fall in love .

  19. celine says:

    I saw the parade in Taiwan’s news report on St. Patrick’s Day. Now I know why all people were in green. “Erin Go Bragh!”

  20. Andriy says:

    Thank you Jeff for this interesting information!

  21. Enrico says:

    I like the symbol shamrocks, but i would like to find in my own lawn a four leaf because conventional wisdom says that if you find it you are luck.(It’s uncanny to find the four leaf). It happens to me only few time, but I never won a lottery !!
    Enrico, Italy

  22. Linn says:

    I hope you had a nice St Patrick´s day Dr Jeff! You wrote that you come from Minnesota, and as a Swede I find that very interesting. I know that a lot of Swedish immigrants in the 19th century settled there. They were mostly farmers so they went to places that had the same climate as Sweden so as to be able to use the soil. I wonder if there are many people with Swedish surnames in Minnesota today..Maybe you could talk about Scandinavians in Minnesota in a future English Café episode 😉

  23. elisangelo says:

    Hello every body…..

    There`s a long time that I haven`t post anything right here in the eslblog, but usually I am still following the eslpodcast… which it`s a such amazing work that people have been doing through the internet.

    to myself, I feel so much more confident on my english skills that, I am always piting myself for not keep up reading the leraning guide despite I am still a premium member of eslpod,

    the teaching methodology is so good, that it makes you feel so realible in what you`re learning that makes you stick to listening only.

    congratulations to all and

    happy saint patrick`s day.


  24. nino says:

    shamrocks, beer, beautiful girls and corned beef and cabbage hehe, my first thoughts when it comes to saint patrick’s day! Go green!

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