**I interviewed Brian O'Connor and Mark Dowdell (they run the St. Paddy's Day Parade here in #Roc) in today's podcast.. everything you need to know for tomorrow here.
10 Weird & Wonderful St. Paddy's Day Facts:
1. The Irish can’t claim credit for the invention of the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade
The world’s first recorded Saint Patrick's Day Parade took place in Boston on 18 March 1737 followed by the New York Parade, which first took place in 1762. Ireland took over a century to jump on the parade float with the rest of the world and only had their first St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin in 1931.
2. This St. Patrick’s Day we’ll all be wearing green, but shouldn’t it be blue??
The original color associated with St. Patrick was blue but because the Saint preached about the Holy Trinity through the symbol of the shamrock and the Irish ‘little folk’ were also associated with green, it became the most common shade in connection with him. Parade committee organizers across the world wouldn’t take too kindly to us changing the colour now, so maybe we’ll leave it at green.
3. 100 lbs. of green dye was poured into the Chicago River in honor of St. Patrick’s Day
In 1961, business manager of Chicago’s Journeymen Plumbers Local Union, Stephen Bailey, received permission to turn the Chicago River green for St. Patrick’s Day. Due to uncertainties about the amount of dye it would take to turn the river green, a massive 100 lbs of vegetable dye was used in comparison to the 25 lbs used today. The Chicago River stayed green for a full week.
4. Saint Patrick banished the Snakes from Ireland
… and not a snake in sight. Patrick is said to have banished the snakes from Ireland but in fact, Ireland never had any snakes as the weather was too miserable for the cold-blooded reptiles. The banished snakes were thought to be symbolic of the pagan druid priests with whom Patrick might have had a few issues to iron out.
5. George Washington ordered that “St. Patrick” be the response to the password “Boston” on Evacuation Day
On Evacuation Day, March 17 1776, the General Orders issued by Washington were that those wishing to pass through Continental lines should give the password “Boston,” to which the reply should be “St. Patrick”.
6. The resting place of Saint Patrick
Though never fully proven, Down Cathedral in the town of Downpatrick, Ireland, is thought to contain St. Patrick’s remains and, according to legend, he lies beside Saints Columcille and Brigit. Apparently he’s missing a few things like a jaw and a tooth but these can be seen in Dublin Museum.
7. Saint Patrick’s Relics
A few of the Saint’s relics can still be viewed in Ireland today: St. Patrick’s Bell and shrines of the Saint’s jaw and tooth can be viewed in Dublin National Museum while Patrick’s four gospels are held at the The Royal Irish Academy. Saint Patrick’s Crozier, with which he banished the imaginary snakes, was venerated for centuries in Dublins Christ Church only to be publically burned in 1538 under the orders of the archbishop, George Browne. Sounds like George had a few issues too.
8. Drink, drink, and yet more drink!
The global corporate-relations director of Guinness says 5.5 million pints of Guinness are sold on any given day but this figure rises to an astounding 13 million on St. Patrick’s Day. IBISWorld also reports that Saint Patrick’s Day 2012 brought in $245 million in beer sales. Who’s up for making March 18 into International Hangover Day?
9. The Royal Dublin Dog Show was the place to be on St. Patrick’s Day
Due to strict laws on the curtailment of sales of alcohol on Holy Days in Ireland, from 1927 to 1961, the only place a thirsty Irish person could legally get a drink on Paddy’s day was at The Royal Dublin Dog Show. One TD was reported to complain that it was a grand occasion “except for all the dogs.” At the time, the church and state were worried that the Irish would drink too much on the day. Turns out they were right. Oh well.
10. And after all that, he’s not even Irish!
Saint Patrick was actually born in Roman Britain at the end of the 4th century AD and taken to Ireland by slavers as a teenager. The exact place of his birth is debatable as some say Scotland and some say Wales but, either way, he’s Irish now.
Top 10 Irish Contributions To The World:
Leave it to the Irish to revolutionize the potato. Joseph Murphy turned the lowly spud on its head in 1954 when he introduced cheese and onion chips. The flavored snacks became a huge sensation and Murphy later sold his seasoning technology for a small fortune to an enterprising American company. These days you can buy chips in dozens of questionable, stomach-churning flavors including Caesar Salad, Cheese Cake and Gara Masala. Why you’d want to eat any of them, however, remains a mystery.
No.9 Soda water
If you’ve ever used soda water to remove a stain, you have Robert Percival to thank. The Trinity College professor created the bubbly beverage in Dublin in 1800. Like many Irish inventions, it eventually mingled with alcohol, giving us delicious concoctions like whiskey and soda and Campari and soda. Now those are Irish contributions worth drinking to!
No.8 The submarine
What’s long, hard and full of seamen? It’s the submarine, of course, and it owes its creation to Ireland’s very own John Phillip Holland. An engineer by trade, this bespectacled County Clare native developed the first submarine to be formally commissioned by the U.S. Navy in 1900. Over the years, he also came up with a number of innovations for his underwater vehicle like the screw propeller, a hydrocarbon engine, the submarine gun, and an auto-drive mechanism. Modern warfare -- and the plot of Crimson Tide -- would be at a loss without his ingenuity.
No.7 The modern tractor
Modern agriculture got a helping hand in the 20th century from Harry Ferguson, a whip-smart County Down bicycle repairman who invented the modern tractor -- and he didn’t stop there. Ferguson went on to develop the first four-wheel drive Formula One car and he became the first Irishman to build and fly his own airplane. Today, his name lives on in the Massey Ferguson company, a successful privately owned firm specializing in tractor manufacturing.
No.6 The tank
Back in 1911, as Home Secretary in the UK, Winston Churchill issued a commission for a vehicle that was "capable of resisting bullets and shrapnel, crossing trenches, flattening barbed wire, and negotiating the mud of no-mans land." In other words, he was looking for something that could safely transport him through Belfast’s sketchiest neighborhoods. The result was the world’s first tank, a nearly indestructible armored vehicle created by Blackrock engineer Walter Gordon Wilson. The tank has since undergone a series of radical innovations, but the basic principles of this essential battle buggy remain the same.
U2 first began redefining pop music in 1976 when Bono and his bandmates began producing their unique style of stadium-rattling hits. The group has since sold more than 145 million albums worldwide and won an unprecedented 22 Grammy awards. While their music is certainly worthy of the accolades they’ve received, U2’s greatest legacy might just be their social activism. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan summed it up best when he observed: "You have made people listen. You have made people care, and you have taught us that whether we are poor or prosperous, we have only one world to share. You have taught young people that they do have the power to change the world."
No.4 Color photography
One of Ireland’s most accomplished scientists, Holywood House resident John Joly cemented his place in history in 1894 when he came up with a technique for producing color photographs from a single plate. His simple, but ingenious, invention changed the way we see the world and paved the way for the full-color nudie mags we all know and love. Maybe that's why they call it, “getting your Jollies.”
Although it may not have seemed like such a great invention when you were failing your chemistry in high school, it’s hard to discount Robert Boyle’s creation of this multilayered scientific discipline. The uber-intelligent Munster native came up with the foundations of modern chemistry in 1661 when he published The Sceptical Chymist, an oddly spelled but influential tome that laid out his groundbreaking theory of elements as the undecomposable constituents of material bodies. Hundreds of years later, teenagers are still silently cursing his name as they desperately try to wrap their heads around his brilliantly obtuse ideas.
Although the Irish didn’t invent the English language, it can be argued that they perfected it. From the searing satire of Jonathan Swift to the brilliant blather of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw, Irish scribes have always displayed an enviable gift of gab. In the words of acclaimed author T.E. Kalem: “The English language brings out the best in the Irish. They court it like a beautiful woman. They make it bray with donkey laughter. They hurl it at the sky like a paint pot full of rainbows, and then make it chant a dirge for man’s fate.” For those of you keeping track at home, Irish writers won the Nobel Prize for Literature three times in the 20th century, which is a remarkable record for a tiny island nation boasting about 4,470,700 citizens.
Beer drinkers around the world owe a debt of gratitude to Arthur Guinness, the innovative Irish brew master whose delicious dry stout still bears his name. Guinness first began brewing ales in Leixlip before transferring his booming business to Dublin’s St. James's Gate Brewery, where he signed an unprecedented 9,000-year lease at £45 per year. More than 250 years later, his famous “Pint of Plain” has become the best-selling alcoholic drink of all time in Ireland with sales exceeding €2 billion annually. Slainte!
Okay.. one NON St. Patrick's Day thing. I found this online today. It's a cool map showing where a ton of TV shows take place: