It has finally arrived! The day that everyone in the world can say they are Irish, or at least want to be! St. Patrick’s Day, the day that everyone can get lively and share a pint in the name of revelry! But who was St. Patrick and why do we care?
St. Patrick is believed to be the person who brought Christianity to Ireland. At sixteen, he was kidnapped, transported to Ireland, and forced into slavery. After 6 years of slavery, Patrick escaped and eventually returned home to the area that is currently Cumbria, Italy. Yes, he was Italian! Who knew! Patrick eventually returned to Ireland, bringing Christianity with him, and worked to convert the pagans. After his death, he was declared a saint. March 17 is believed to be the day he died and therefore the day that all of Ireland recognizes his gifts and service.
What’s that got to do with parades and beer? Well, it’s a great combination, especially since the Irish and German immigrants played such a strong role in the founding and growth of St. Louis.This wasn’t just a French settlement you know!
The Irish settled originally in an area of downtown, calling their neighborhood “Kerry Patch.” According to an article by John Brod Peters of the old St. Louis Globe Democrat from March 16 and 17, 1967, Kerry Patch was “…bounded on the east and west by Sixteenth and Twenty-Second streets, and on the north and south by Cass avenue and O’Fallon street.” As commerce expanded, the Kerry Patch area broke up and movement was westward toward what is now Dogtown, an area created by workers and immigrants drawn to the 1904 World’s Fair. Today, both Downtown and Dogtown celebrate with zeal, parades, and general beer induced mayhem!
So, today, March 17th, pick your parade (they are both on Saturday!), pick your bar, and don’t blame me if you are hung over tomorrow. Oh, and if you are a good Catholic, get to Mass on Sunday and say a prayer or two. A real one, not just the one to the porcelain gods!
Many thanks to www.imagekind.com for the Celtic imagery for this blog as well as our friends at Wikipedia for the cool pic of St. Patrick. Our lovely Leprechaun-our own parade committee image!