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Once in a while, our paper publishes on the date of a well celebrated holiday. With today being St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to do some detailed investigation about the holiday and share my findings with our readers.
I figured the research would take me several hours, so I started my detective-like online search days before I would need to turn in this column to our editor for publishing. Settling in with a cup of coffee, my reading glasses and instructions to my hubby to leave me alone to the task, I found that my intense preparation was completely unnecessary.
Immediately after starting my search, I came upon the website Rather than start my writing from scratch, I figured I’d use information from that site to help all of us understand the details of the mystical day that we associate with green beer, shamrocks, leprechauns, pots of gold and corned beef. Perusing the pages of the website, I discovered a lot of historical references such as: Saint Patrick’s Day colloquially is the feast day which annually, on March 17, celebrates Saint Patrick (386-493), the patron saint of Ireland. It is a national holiday in the Republic of Ireland (a bank holiday in Northern Ireland).
Besides just historical information regarding the holiday, also on the site are Irish recipes including corned beef and cabbage as well as Irish stew. Also listed is a compilation of popular Irish baby names such as the boy’s name Flannery, which means Redhead, and the girl’s name Carmel, which translates to Vineyard. The closest I could find to Neena was Neala!the feminine version of Nial, which translates to “champion.”
One of my favorite sections within the website is the area devoted to Irish toasts and quotes. I especially got a kick out of the quote attributed to the actor James Cagney: “My father was totally Irish, and so I went to Ireland once. I found it to be very much like New York (state), for it was a beautiful country, and both the women and men were good-looking.”
Being Scots-Irish myself, I appreciate Mr. Cagney’s sentiment.
For all of you out there celebrating St. Patrick’s Day today, I offer the following: “As sure as there are leprechauns to make a wish come true, ’tis nothing but the happiest of days I’m wishing you.”

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