Fun Facts About Saint Patrick’s Day

by Carlene O’Connor

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with these fun facts!


Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. (Take that Festivus for the Rest of Us!)


The first St Patrick’s Day parade in Ireland was held in Waterford in 1903. 


The first official, state-sponsored St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin took place in 1931.

But wait… Did you know that Ireland wasn’t the first to throw a parade? Wikipedia strikes again:

The first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York City in 1762. I’m a New Yorker like I’m Irish—a wannabe—I first moved to NYC at 18 years of age and lived there on and off for 15 years, so the following graphic gives me an inflated sense of pride, just like Saint Patrick’s Day:

I was honored in 2015 when they asked me to write an essay for the NYC Saint Patrick’s Day parade: We’re Irish. At least Today. Here’s a shameless plug:

Since that article came straight from the heart, I wondered if I had anything to add. I started thinking. Do Americans do Paddy’s Day better than the Irish? Some dear Irish friends sorted me out straight away (Thanks Bridget, Fiona, and Sarah!):

  • In Ireland, they drink and watch the Ireland final hurling on the telly. We just drink and finally hurl.
  • They spend weeks making costumes and posters for the parade. We wake up that morning, throw on anything green(ish), make our faces look like The Hulk, and order a green shake at Mickey D’s.
  • They go to mass in their costumes and meet outside the church to march through the town with crowds cheering and clapping
  • We stroll down to a parade while strangers shove us out of the way pinching our behinds as we pass.
  • They dance and sing the night away with a band, kids allowed ’til all hours of the night. We leave our little Leprechauns with babysitters and think we might have done some dancing and drinking but can’t prove it given we have no memory past sundown.
  • They sleep in the following day… Ah, we do too!

Sleeping patterns aside, THEY WIN. Because no matter how much we blow it out, dye it green, or march it up, the next morning, they’re still Irish. We back to being wannabes, eagerly waiting, like Leprechauns-on-the-shelf, for another 364 days…It’s no wonder we make the most of it. I hope you will as well. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Slanté. (Cheers).

In USA Today bestselling author Carlene O’Connor’s eighth Irish Village Mystery, the long-engaged garda of County Cork, Ireland, Siobhán O’Sullivan and Macdaras Flannery, are about to get married at last. But just as the rowdy O’Sullivan brood and all the regulars of the local bistro have gathered at the church, the nuptials come to an abrupt halt when the discovery of an unidentified skeleton puts the wedding on pause…

If only her mother could be here! The entire O’Sullivan brood—not to mention the regulars from Naomi’s Bistro—have gathered at St. Mary’s Church for the wedding of Siobhán and Macdara. It’s not every day you see two garda marrying each other. Only Siobhán’s brother James is missing. They can’t start without him.
But when James finally comes racing in, he’s covered in dirt and babbling he’s found a human skeleton in the old slurry pit at the farmhouse. What farmhouse? Macdara sheepishly admits he was saving it as a wedding surprise: he purchased an abandoned dairy farm. Duty calls, so the engaged garda decide to put the wedding on hold to investigate.
James leads them to a skeleton clothed in rags that resemble a tattered tuxedo. As an elderly neighbor approaches, she cries out that these must be the remains of her one true love who never showed up on their wedding day, fifty years ago. The garda have a cold case on their hands, which heats up the following day when a fresh corpse appears on top of the bridegroom’s bones. With a killer at large, they need to watch their backs—or the nearly wedded couple may be parted by death before they’ve even taken their vows. . .