Is St. Patrick’s Day Celebrated in Ireland?

Is St. Patrick’s Day Celebrated in Ireland?

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In America, St. Patrick’s Day, on March 17, has long been commemorated with rollicking festivities, but until recent decades, the holiday, which honors Ireland’s patron saint, was traditionally a more solemn occasion on the Emerald Isle.

The man for whom St. Patrick’s Day is named was born into an aristocratic family in Roman Britain around the end of the fourth century. As a teenager, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and taken to Ireland, where he was held as a slave for a number of years. He eventually escaped the island, only to return later as a missionary and convert part of the population to Christianity. Centuries after his death, which some sources cite as March 17, 461, although the exact date is unknown, Patrick became the patron saint of Ireland, and March 17 became a holy day of obligation for the nation’s Catholics.

READ MORE: Who Was St. Patrick?

Thanks to Irish immigrants in the United States and elsewhere, St. Patrick’s Day evolved from a religious holiday into a secular celebration of all things Irish. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York City in the 1760s, by Irishmen serving there in the British military. During the 19th century, when Irish Catholic immigrants faced discrimination in Protestant-majority America, St. Patrick’s Day parades became an opportunity to show strength in numbers.

Today, with some 35 million Americans claiming to be primarily or partially of Irish descent—making Irish ancestry the second-most commonly reported in the United States, after German—the wearing of the green on March 17 is still going strong. (Australia and Canada are among other locales with long-standing St. Paddy’s Day traditions.)

READ MORE: How St. Patrick's Day Was Made in America

Meanwhile, back in the old country, where until the 1970s pubs were closed on St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish are catching up to their counterparts across the pond when it comes to revelry. Since the mid-1990s, the government, in part to promote tourism and boost the economy, has sponsored a multi-day St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin, featuring a parade and a variety of performances and activities; there are similar events in other sections of the country as well.

Here's How Ireland Really Celebrates St. Patrick's Day

In the U.S., St. Patrick's Day, on March 17, is a way for the country's 34.5 million Irish-Americans (and those who just like wearing green and drinking Guinness) to do what many of us wish we were doing the rest of the year: reveling in the streets drunkenly under the protection of sanctioned noisiness. It's a time for wearing those funny hats with the buckles on the front, painting your face in green streaks, hefting drinks to the sky, attempting cringe-y Irish accents, proclaiming love for Boston, and of course: pretending to be Irish if only for a day (whatever "Irish" now means in the U.S.).

But what about back in Ireland itself? The population of Ireland is seven times smaller than the population of Irish-Americans, per the Washington Post. Are they all donning their green apparel and chugging Guinness in a dire attempt to obliterate their shame and short-term memory? Or is St. Patrick's Day in the U.S. one of those pure Hallmark fabrications used to drum up sales between Valentine's Day and Easter? Are its "traditions" a bunch of nonsense that generationally removed posers use to pretend to be anything other than Seamus O'Toole, rank-and-file "American"? Was there anything that the original Irish-American immigrants once did that Irish people also do to celebrate this traditional holiday?

All valid questions. And the answer to all of them is: yes. Some things have changed over time, some are fabricated, and some are legit. But St. Patrick? Wasn't even Irish.

How St Patrick’s Day Became a National Day of Celebration in Ireland

Saint Patrick’s feast day on 17 March is celebrated around the globe: but who was Patrick, and how did he become Ireland’s patron saint?

Much of Saint Patrick’s life is shrouded in mystery, which is understandable, seeing as it’s thought he was born in the late 4th century. It’s believed that his name was originally Maewyn Succat and that he was raised in a religious family (his father was a deacon) in Roman Britain. Despite his upbringing, the young boy who was to become Saint Patrick is said not to have had a strong faith of his own. In what are thought to be his own writings, the saint stated that he only found God after being kidnapped by Irish pirates at the age of 16, brought to Ireland and subjected to slavery.

For six years he was held captive, working as a shepherd (allegedly on the mountain of Sliabh Mis, County Antrim) and discovering his faith in God. He is said to have escaped from Ireland at the age of 22 and eventually found his way back to his family. He then began to study Christianity, becoming a cleric and taking the name Patrick.

After apparently having a vision inspiring him to return to Ireland and preach the word of God, Patrick decided to do just that. His supposed landing site is at Three Mile Water, Brittas Bay, in Leinster, though he practised throughout the country. Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland, where people primarily worshipped many Celtic gods. In his written Confession, Saint Patrick states that he went on to baptise thousands and became bishop of Armagh. He and his followers are said to have built many of Ireland’s earliest churches, such as the one at Saul, County Down, which has been credited as the first Christian church in Ireland.

Saint Patrick is thought to have died on the March 17 461. Long after his death, various legends began to appear about him and his works, such as the story of his having banished snakes from Ireland. In fact, there were never any snakes on the island in the first place – the myth is believed by many to be a metaphor for his banishing paganism from Ireland and replacing it with Christianity.

Saint Patrick has long been recognised as Ireland’s primary patron saint for his role in bringing Christianity to the country. His feast day is celebrated annually in Ireland and countries across the world, most notably in areas where the Irish diaspora have settled, such as Boston, which has a large Irish-American population. The best celebrations are possibly in Ireland’s capital parades, pub visits, folk music sessions and dancing are all common features of a traditional St Patrick’s Day in Dublin.

Sold as a slave by pirates

The patron saint was captured by Irish pirates from his home at the age of 16 and sold into slavery to a Druid chieftain. During his capitivity for six years, Patrick worked as a shepherd and grew closer to spirituality and prayer during this period of isolation. One day, a "voice" told him it was time to leave Ireland, following which Patrick successfully fled his master and sailed back to Britain to continue studying Christianity.

He would go on to study religious instruction in France under Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, before returning to Ireland as the country's second bishop, on advice of an angel who appeared in the dream. There he began his mission to spread the Christian message to those who had never heard it.

He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 AD, which became a religious holiday meant to celebrate the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and made official by the Catholic Church in the early 17th century.

A waiter prepares green beers during St Patrick's Day celebrations at Sheraton Hotel on March 14, 2014, in Surabaya, Indonesia (Getty Images)

A Somber Day For The Death Of A Saint

March 17th, rather than being St. Patrick's Day first, was initially the date of death for Saint Patrick. During the 5th century, Saint Patrick became the patron saint of Ireland and for thousands of years now, the country has mourned his death as just that. In order to appreciate the history of Saint Patrick, though, we must first explore a little bit of Ireland's history and acknowledge the fact that at one point, there was no sign of Christianity anywhere in the country.

Originally, Saint Patrick came from Banna Venta Berniae, in Roman Britain. He also wasn't known by the name of Patrick and actually had several names - Maewyn Succat, Magonus, Succetus, Cothirthiacus - before taking the name of Patricius which is where we get the name Patrick from. Interestingly enough, Saint Patrick was not always a believer and it wasn't until he was enslaved by Irish pirates that he actually converted to Christianity. While he was enslaved for 16 years, he worked as a shepherd in northeastern Ireland, all the while learning about the language and culture of the country. This helped upon his return, which didn't happen until years later when he had a vision of bringing Christianity to the Irish people. At the time, the country was mostly druidic and pagan, therefore, Christianity was both a foreign concept and one that was had not been introduced to Ireland.

The Greening of America

When Irish soldiers and immigrants came to the U.S., they began to use the March 17 holiday to celebrate their homeland.

"The first St. Patrick's Day parades or celebrations go back to the 18th century," says Patrick Tally, professor of history at the University of Colorado Boulder, and "the Irishmen within the British Army in America."

In the 19th century, millions of Irish immigrated to the U.S. Like the soldiers who preceded them, they wanted to remember the country they'd left behind.

"It was really in the early 19th century that you start getting municipal celebrations of St. Patrick's Day in places like Boston or New York, and they spread to other places where there's a large Irish population," he says. "As Irish Americans become politically powerful in big cities, cities themselves begin to back St. Patrick's Day celebrations."

St. Patrick's Day gained popularity with non-Irish Americans only "in the latter half of the 20th century," says Tally, when holidays began to be marketed more aggressively in the thriving post-WWII economy.

Still, it took several decades for the holiday to broaden its appeal.

"Even when I was a kid in the '70s, and I grew up in New England, it tended to be Irish people [who celebrated]," he says.

Large, secular celebrations of St. Patrick's Day appeared in Ireland only after they'd become popular in the United States. Because Ireland's parades were inspired by American ones, they represent a "kind of reverse migration," says Tally.

What is St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th each year, it is the feast day of Ireland’s patron Saint Patrick. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in Ireland and all over the world by people of Irish Heritage. It has become a celebration of Irish culture as well.

St. Patrick’s Day Facts

Patrick's Day is a time of great food, everybody's wearing green and it's a ton of fun. St. Patrick's Day is a holiday with rich history and deep meaning. St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in many different countries but is an official holiday in the Republic of Ireland, in Northern Ireland which is not a part of the Republic of Ireland but is just north of it and as part of the United Kingdom.

In the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador and in the Caribbean island of Montserrat, it is a really small Caribbean island that has a large Irish population which is why celebrating St. Patrick is so important that they made it an official holiday.

These are the places where it is an official holiday but as we said it is celebrating in a lot of different places, for example, while not an official holiday it is widely celebrated in the USA, and it is so fascinating that the first St Patrick’s Day parade was in New York in the 1760 that was so long ago that was before the United States of America was even a country.

How incredible is that when you see people and parades have been going on for St Patrick’s Day in the USA for hundreds of years and they go crazy for St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago too. Every year the Kelly River in Chicago is dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day.

Speaking of green, green is the colour of St. Patrick’s Day, but it didn’t used to be that way, however, blue used to be St. Patrick’s color. In 1798, during the Irish Rebellion people used green to symbolize their love of country, and made the green clover a national symbol. Ever since 1798 St. Patrick's Day has been all about the green. Also lovely green Leprechauns Gnomes Dolls for holiday decoration.

Everyone seems to love wearing green when they celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

A common way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is with green clovers, you can do a craft with green clovers, you can wear green clovers on your clothing, you control them, it is a great way to celebrate.

People also celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with great food. A traditional meal is corned beef, potatoes, carrots and cabbage all together a nice hearty meal. Lots of meat and lots of yummy vegetables. And it’s something that a lot of people like to eat as they celebrate the Irish heritage and St. Patrick's Day.

But the clovers and corned beef aren't the only symbols associated with St. Patrick’s Day. There's also leprechauns. Leprechauns are a type of fairy that are found in Irish tales and stories, but they are not fairies like Tinkerbell, they look like little bearded men with a coat and hat. In these Irish tales and stories, they spend their time making and fixing shoes and have a pot of gold hidden at the end of the rainbow and in these Irish stories when a leprechaun is caught, he must grant wishes to become free again.

St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday with rich history and deep meaning, it is not just about the color green or clovers, or eating corned beef or about leprechauns. The holiday is named after Saint Patrick who lived over 1,500 years ago. And he wasn't originally from Ireland, his story is a very dramatic one. When he was only 16 years old he was taken away from his home in Wales by Irish pirates. For 6 years he was away from home, before he escaped.

The Detailed History of St. Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick was actually born in Britain in 387 - during the time Britain was occupied by the Roman Empire. His parents named him Padraig. He came from a family of priests. One day, When he was about 16, he was kidnapped by raiders from Ireland. They took him back to Ireland as a slave, where he was forced to tend sheep.

Though Patrick came from a Christian family, he found that there were no Christians in his new home. The people in Ireland practiced a different religion. Patrick was lonely, so he decided to pray. He spent a lot of time praying.

When Patrick was about 20, he had a dream that he believed came from God. Based on his dream, he escaped from his captors and made it to the sea. There, he found a ship captain who agreed to take him back to Britain.

When he arrived back in Britain, he was reunited with his family. He also decided that he wanted to be a priest, so he began to study. Patrick studied for many years. He became a priest, and was then made a bishop. He decided to return to Ireland to tell people there about what he believed.

Patrick worked in Ireland for 40 years, telling people about God. Some say that he converted all of Ireland to Christianity. It is said that by converting the Irish to Christianity, he drove the snakes from the Ireland.

One of the important symbols of St. Patrick’s Day is the shamrock, or three-leaf clover. Patrick used the shamrock to help people understand God. Patrick died on March 17th, 461, after spending many years helping people and sharing his beliefs all over Ireland. He died in the same place he had built his first church.

Now this is what's amazing, instead of being angry at the people of Ireland for what happened, he actually had a heart for them, and he wanted to share his faith and his life with them. So he went back to Ireland to be a blessing and he was able to help so many people in the country, that the country of Ireland was never the same.

St. Patrick's Day is an amazing time to celebrate Irish culture and traditions, to tell stories about leprechauns, to eat corned beef and to turn the water of Chicago green. It's a holiday that honors the faith of a man who had a heart to bless and love the same people who mistreated him. And it teaches us this lesson: never let anything stop you from doing what is right.

Saint Patrick had every excuse not to do what he felt called to do, he was mistreated, he was taken away from his home, but he didn't let anything stop him, and you can live that kind of life too.

St. Patrick’s Day: A History of Racism, A Celebration of Whiteness

Today in New York City and throughout the U.S., Irish-Americans will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and Irish heritage. What few will acknowledge in this day of celebration is the way in which the Irish in American deployed whiteness in order to deflect the racism they encountered in the U.S.

Like many immigrant groups in the United States, the Irish were characterized as racial Others when they first arrived in the first half of the 19th century. The Irish had suffered profound injustice in the U.K. at the hands of the British, widely seen as “white negroes.” The potato famine that created starvation conditions that cost the lives of millions of Irish and forced the out-migration of millions of surviving ones, was less a natural disaster and more a complex set of social conditions created by British landowners (much like Hurricane Katrina). Forced to flee from their native Ireland and the oppressive British landowners, many Irish came to the U.S.

Once in the U.S., the Irish were to negative stereotyping that was very similar to that of enslaved Africans and African Americans. The comic Irishman – happy, lazy, stupid, with a gift for music and dance – was a stock character in American theater. Drunkenness and criminality were major themes of Irish stereotypes, and the term “paddy wagon” has its etymological roots in the racist term “paddy,” a shortening of the name “Patrick,” which was used to refer to the Irish. However, this is also a gendered image and refers to Irish men, specifically. The masculine imagery of “paddy” hides the existence of Irish women, but did not protect Irish women from racism as they were often more exposed to such racism through domestic jobs. Women typically played a key role in maintaining Catholic adherence, which resonates closely with Irishness and difference. The “model minority” (if you will) stereotype of Irish-American women is of a “Bridget,” recognized for her hard work and contribution to Irish upward class mobility.

Simian, or ape-like caricature of the Irish immigrant was also a common one among the mainstream news publications of the day (much like the recent New York Post cartoon). For example, in 1867 American cartoonist Thomas Nast drew “The Day We Celebrate” a cartoon depicting the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day as violent, drunken apes. And, in 1899, Harper’s Weekly featrued a drawing of three men’s heads in profile: Irish, Anglo-Teutonic and Negro, in order to illustrate the similarity between the Irish and the Negro (and, the supposed superiority of the Anglo-Teutonic). In northern states, blacks and Irish immigrants were forced into overlapping – often integrated – slum neighborhoods. Although leaders of the Irish liberation struggle (in Ireland) saw slavery as an evil, their Irish-American cousins largely aligned with the slaveholders.

And, following the end of slavery, the Irish and African Americans were forced to compete for the same low-wage, low-status jobs. So, the “white negroes” of the U.K. came to the United States and, though not enslaved, faced a status almost as low as that of recently-freed blacks. While there were moments of solidarity between Irish and African Americans, this was short lived.

Over the course of the 19th and early 20th century, Irish Americans managed to a great extent to enter and become part of the dominant white culture. In an attempt to secure the prosperity and social position that their white skin had not guaranteed them in Europe, Irish immigrants lobbied for white racial status in America. Although Irish people’s pale skin color and European roots suggested evidence of their white racial pedigree, the discrimination that immigrants experienced on the job (although the extent of the “No Irish Need Apply” discrimination is disputed), the simian caricatures they saw of themselves in the newspapers, meant that “whiteness” was a status that would be achieved, not ascribed.

For some time now, Irish-Americans have been thoroughly regarded as “white.” Evidence of this assimilation into whiteness is presented by Mary C. Waters (Harvard) in a recent AJPH article, in which she writes that “the once-rigid lines that divided European-origin groups from one another have increasingly blurred.”Waters goes on to predict that the changes that European immigrants ahve experienced are “becoming more likely for groups we now define as ‘racial.'” While I certainly agree that the boundaries of whiteness are malleable – it is a racial category that expands and contracts based on historical, cultural and social conditions – I don’t know if it is malleable enough to include all the groups we now define as ‘racial’ Others.

As people rush to embrace even fictive Irish heritage and encourage strangers to “Kiss Me I’m Irish” today, take just a moment to reflect on the history of racism and the pursuit of whiteness wrapped up in this holiday.

St. Patrick's Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2016чтв17 марSt. Patrick's DayNational holiday
2017птн17 марSt. Patrick's DayNational holiday
2018сбт17 марSt. Patrick's DayNational holiday
2019вск17 марSt. Patrick's DayNational holiday
2020втр17 марSt. Patrick's DayNational holiday
2021срд17 марSt. Patrick's DayNational holiday
2022чтв17 марSt. Patrick's DayNational holiday
2023птн17 марSt. Patrick's DayNational holiday
2024вск17 марSt. Patrick's DayNational holiday
2025пнд17 марSt. Patrick's DayNational holiday
2026втр17 марSt. Patrick's DayNational holiday

While we diligently research and update our holiday dates, some of the information in the table above may be preliminary. If you find an error, please let us know.

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St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland vs. the United States

St. Patrick’s Day has arrived, and once again many of my friends in the United States are getting ready for the day’s celebrations. One friend is currently in Savannah, home of the second largest St. Patrick’s Day event in the country. Friends are getting their green shirts ready for the day – for people growing up in certain parts of the United States, a failure to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day may result in you getting pinched!

While living in Dublin I was pretty surprised to find out that St. Patrick’s Day is nowhere near as big in Ireland as it tends to be in the United States, especially since the holiday originated in Ireland. This got me wondering why, so I did a little research.

In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of St. Patrick, and therefore a religious holiday. St. Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland, who lived in Ireland in the late 4th and early 5th centuries. He wasn’t Irish in fact, he was a Romano-Briton who was captured by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland as a slave. In Ireland, St. Patrick was traditionally celebrated for the missionary work he performed in Ireland and is credited with bringing Christianity to the country the holiday is therefore a religious holiday, similar to Christmas and Easter – it’s not a celebration of Ireland like it is in the United States. These days you can find St. Patrick’s Day parades, shamrocks, and free-flowing Guinness in Ireland, but it’s mostly there because the tourists wanted it there. If not for them, it would likely have remained a day of solemnity in fact, up until 1970 Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on St. Patrick’s Day.

So why did St. Patrick’s Day come to be such a huge deal in the United States? To Americans, especially those 36.5 million with Irish heritage, it represents something quite different than it does to the Irish living in Ireland. When close to a million poor Irish Catholics immigrated to the United States during the Great Potato Famine in the mid-1800s, they were despised for their religious beliefs and had a hard time finding even menial jobs. The first St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the United States were met with contempt. When the Irish began to realize that their great numbers gave them political power, they started to organize themselves into a force. Annual St. Patrick’s Day parades, that started not in Ireland but in New York City in March of 1762, were a demonstration of strength and solidarity among a people who, at that time, were for the most part unwelcome in protestant America.

So to Irish Americans and those claiming Irish American descent, a population that currently stands at about nine times the population of Ireland itself, St. Patrick’s Day means much more than the celebration of a religious figure – it’s a day that came to represent the strength and pride of the Irish people in a foreign land. Visit for more information. And as such it has a very important meaning here – tens of millions of Americans are both proud to be American, and proud to be of Irish ancestry. On March 17th comes their chance to celebrate as such.

I’m of Irish descent myself – and I’ll be wearing my obnoxiously green Irish Rugby Team jersey.

The Secret Jewish History of St. Patrick’s Day

If you are Jewish and you feel drawn somehow to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, there are more than a dozen good reasons why.

St. Patrick’s Day and Purim typically appear on the calendar within a few weeks of each other. In the same way that on Purim one is encouraged to drink to the point where one cannot tell the difference between “Mordechai” and “Haman,” so too on St. Patrick’s Day are Irish celebrants encouraged to drink enough so that they cannot tell the difference between “St. Patrick” and “the Queen of England,” according to Irish Talmudic lore.

The story of the original 5th century Patrick, who became the patron saint of Ireland, has numerous parallels to the Biblical stories of Joseph and Moses. Like those two, Patrick spent a significant part of his youth in captivity, during which time he worked as a shepherd and spent hours communing with the Lord. Patrick also had his own burning bush moment, when he saw a vision of a letter carrier handing him a missive titled “The Voice of the Irish.” When he read the letter, he could hear the voices of the people of Ireland crying out to him, “We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.” Eventually, Patrick became a spiritual leader in Ireland, converting thousands of pagans to Christianity. But he was always something of a foreigner, having been born in Roman England. Both Joseph and Moses, being strangers in the land of Egypt even when they served the Pharaoh, could certainly relate.

Perhaps St. Patrick is most remembered for having chased the snakes out of Ireland – how else to explain why there aren’t any snakes there? Moses and Aaron, of course, had their own bit of fun with snakes, as recounted in Exodus 8-13, wherein at Moses’s prodding, Aaron turns his staff into a snake, which then proceeds to eat all the Egyptian necromancers’ staffs-turned-into-snakes.

In modern times, the Irish Gaelic language has been superseded in large part by English as the first language spoken in and out of Ireland by the Irish people, much like what has happened to Yiddish among Jews of Ashkenazi origin.

Throughout my youth, I kept hearing that the mayor of Dublin was Jewish. In fact, in 1956, [Robert Briscoe]( became the first Jewish Lord Mayor of Dublin, although he was not the first Jewish Mayor in Ireland. That title belongs to William Annyas, who was elected Mayor of Youghal, County Cork, in 1555. Briscoe, born to Lithuanian-Jewish immigrants Abraham William “Briscoe” Cherrick and Ida Yoedicke, was active in the Irish Republican Army and a member of Sinn Féin. He was a colleague of Irish nationalists Éamon de Valera and Michael Collins. Briscoe served in the Irish parliament for nearly 40 years, from 1927 to 1965. Upon his retirement, his son, Ben, took over his seat in parliament, where he served for a further 37 years.

Briscoe was also an admirer and friend of Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky. The Irish and the Jews share the historical experience of having had their modern nations forged in uprisings against English colonialism. Jabotinsky made a pilgrimage to Ireland, where he received training from Briscoe in guerrilla tactics to use against the English in Palestine. Later on, Briscoe advised Menachem Begin on how to transition his paramilitary organization, the Irgun, into a political party, which became Herut, the main party of the Likud coalition.

After learning that the Lord Mayor of Dublin was Jewish, Yogi Berra allegedly said, “Only in America!”

Irish music is really just klezmer with an Irish accent. Irish vocalist Susan McKeown has recorded and performed with the Grammy Award-winning klezmer outfit The Klezmatics. Before joining the group, Lisa Gutkin was best known as a leading fiddler on the Irish music scene, having performed or recorded with the likes of Tommy Sands, John Whelan, Steve Cooney, and Cathie Ryan.

Historian Shaylyn Esposito, writing in Smithsonian Magazine, says that what we think of today as Irish corned beef is actually Jewish brisket thrown into a pot with cabbage and potatoes. The Irish originally ate a dry, salted beef that came from England. When they came to America and began shopping at kosher butchers on the Lower East Side, they discovered brisket, a kosher cut of meat from the front of the cow, the salting and slow cooking of which transforms the meat into the extremely tender, moist, flavorful corned beef we know of today.

Writing of Jewish-Irish affinities, Esposito also notes, “It is not a coincidence that James Joyce made the main character of his masterpiece ‘Ulysses’, Leopold Bloom, a man born to Jewish and Irish parents.”

The annual Israel Independence Day Parade in New York City was clearly modeled after the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, both of which are essentially celebrations of ethnic pride.

Irish-Jewish love affairs have been celebrated in American popular culture at least as far back as the 1922 Broadway comedy, “Abie’s Irish Rose,” about an Irish Catholic girl and a young Jewish man who marry despite the objections of their families. The play is said to have inspired the husband-and-wife comedy duo Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, and its premise formed the basis of the controversial 1972-73 TV series, “Bridget Loves Bernie.”

In fact, not all immigrant Jews came directly from the Pale of Settlement to the Lower East Side in the late 19th century. Some came by way of Ireland, where they picked up enough of an identity to form the Loyal League of Yiddish Sons of Erin. As one member told an interviewer from NPR in 2013, “There’s nothing quite like listening to Yiddish spoken with [an Irish accent].” (For years, Stiller and Meara performed at the group’s annual banquets.)

Last word goes to the Irish-Jewish Tin Pan Alley songwriting duo, William Jerome and Jean Schwartz, who celebrated Irish-Jewish kinship in their 1912 song, “If It Wasn’t for the Irish and the Jews”:

What would this great Yankee nation really really ever do

If it wasn’t for a Levy, a Monahan or Donohue

Where would we get our policemen

Why Uncle Sam would have the blues

Without the Pats and Isadores

There’d be no big department stores

If it wasn’t for the Irish and the Jews

Talk about a combination, heed my words and make a note

On St. Patrick’s Day Rosinsky pins a shamrock on his coat

There’s a sympathetic feeling between the Blooms and McAdoos

Why Tammany would surely fall, there’d really be no Hall at all

If it wasn’t for the Irish and the Jews.

Seth Rogovoy is a contributing editor at the Forward. He frequently mines popular culture for hidden Jewish affinities.