Adjunct Instructor Will Geoghegan of the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University‘s online MBA program fondly remembers his years celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at his home in County Tipperary, Ireland. He recalls children with little pins, adults adorned with shamrocks, attending morning mass with his family and the excitement of the town parade. Now a long way from home, he offers insight on Irish traditions and how to make the most of your St. Patrick’s Day.
1. Remember Paddy, Not Patty
While using variations of Patrick is acceptable when referring to St. Patrick, the patron saint after which the holiday is named, Geoghegan cautions celebrators to be aware of which diminutives they select.
“The most common thing you’ll hear people say is happy St. Patty’s Day,” explained Geoghegan. “You have to say it with a strong D, as in Paddy, or don’t mess around at all and say happy St. Patrick’s Day.”
Paddy stems from Pádraig, derived from the Latin Patricius, meaning “of the patrician class.” Other acceptable alternative ways to refer to St. Patrick according to Irish culture include Pat, Pád, Pod, Packie and Podge.
This St. Patrick’s Day Geoghegan challenges everyone to keep track how many St. Patty’s they hear. The number may be shocking.
2. Get in Touch with Your Sense of Community
“There is so much community around Irish ways of life,” said Geoghegan. “St. Patrick’s Day encapsulates that sense of community with little mini parades around town rather than a big parade like in Dublin or New York City.”
Try staying local for a change this St. Patrick’s Day. Surround yourself with friends and family and enjoy a parade or celebration in your area. You may be surprised by the kinship you feel as you look around at familiar faces.
3. Learn About Your Irish Heritage and History
Whether you are Irish or Irish-at-heart, Ireland’s rich history offers something for everyone. Ireland has had a significant influence on other cultures, largely in the fields of sports, music, language and literature. On St. Patrick’s Day consider researching how Irish history has affected your present. Geoghegan also encourages those with Irish heritage to explore their ancestry.
“It is relatively easy to catch up on your heritage,” said Geoghegan. “Irish parish records are pretty well kept. There are many websites that offer free access to records during the month of March.
4. Try Authentic Irish Food
On St. Patrick’s Day, countless celebrators partake in “traditional” corned beef and cabbage. However, corned beef and cabbage is not considered a staple meal in Ireland but was supposedly adopted when Irish immigrants came to America in the late 19th century. Instead, Geoghegan recommends trying more authentic Irish meals, such as Irish breakfast.
A typical Irish breakfast consists of pork sausages, bacon rashers, fried eggs, white or black pudding, fried tomato and toast, but may vary depending on the location.
5. Enjoy Gaelic Sports
To Geoghegan, no St. Patrick’s Day is complete without watching Gaelic sports. In Ireland, Gaelic football and hurling are the most popular sports. Traditionally, the All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship and All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship are held on Saint Patrick’s Day in Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland. Several online services offer streaming of Gaelic sports.
6. Visit Ireland
If you are one of the thousands of people that flock to Ireland each year to celebrate St. Patrick’s day, you may still be missing out on having a real taste of Irish traditions depending on where you visit. While Dublin is a popular place for celebrators and may offer a good time, Geoghegan advocates for visiting less touristy locations in Ireland.
“There is so much to do in Ireland that it’s tough to whittle down what to go see,” says Geoghegan. “What I’ve experienced is that most people perceive they are having an authentic Irish holiday by staying in Dublin. But to visit somewhere like Cork, Galway or Kerry is far more fun.”
Historical landmarks Geoghegan recommends visiting include The Rock of Cashel, Glendalough, the monastery of Clonmacnoise and Croke Park.
To learn more about Geoghegan check out Poets and Quants’ 2015 Best 40 Under 40 Professors.
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