Not much is known about the saint whom millions of Americans will celebrate in the coming week. Legend has it that St. Patrick played a mean drum wherever he went, drove the snakes out of Ireland and began the custom of having women ask men to marry them once every four years on leap year day.

What is known for certain is that St. Patrick lived in the 5th Century A.D. and popularized the shamrock, the three-leafed clover, as a symbol for the Roman Catholic trinity of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

We also know, without a doubt, that St. Patrick`s day has become one of the most popular occasions for serious partying in the Chicagoland area, as dozens of saloons and churches celebrate the patron saint of Ireland with song, dance and feast.

Here are a few ideas to help you track down a wee bit o` the spirited celebrations of St. Patrick`s Day in the Northwest suburbs.

Schaumburg`s Prairie Center for the Arts, 201 Schaumburg Court, is presenting a St. Patrick`s eve concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday featuring the dancing and singing of Mary Mayer and her husband Paul McHugh, with accordianist John Williams. McHugh, who moved to Elmhurst from Belfast, Ireland, ten years ago, says ”In Ireland, St. Patrick`s Day is much more of areligious holiday; maybe they`ll go out after a religious ceremony and drown their shamrock (get drunk), but generally it`s not such a fancy holiday. Here, its basically an excuse for a party, and I love it.” Tickets are $5. Call 708-894-3600.

The custom of drinking on St. Patrick`s day began centuries ago with the Patrick`s Pot, a kettle of whiskey placed at the table in front of the head of the household.

It was then served to the family with loaves of bread. The tradition continues Saturday at the Blarney Stein, 2214 W. Route 120 in McHenry, where co-owner Jerry Hegele promises green beer and his customized mixed drink, the Irish Mist Kiss, which combines the liqueur Irish Mist with Blue Curacao, an orange-flavored liqueur.

Entertainment will be provided by Jim Charles and his band. ”They do

`Danny Boy,` `Old Irish Rose,` stuff that will really make you cry in your beer,” says Hegele. ”We`re having our celebration on Saturday night so that people can make it to work on Monday.”

Blarney Stein offers a $9 package, starting at 4 p.m. that includes dinner of corned beef, cabbage and boiled potatoes, plus Irish draft beer. Call 815-344-2121.

Tom Murphy, proprieter of Mother Murphy`s, Rt. 176 and Roberts Rd., in Island Lake, has hired Sean O`Grady, an older gentleman from a nearby retirement home, to provide music.

”Sean`s got a big red nose and a brogue so thick you can barely understand him. He beats a stick on pie plates and sings. We`ll have green balloons, green beer, green eye balls. Tons of fun. We get everything from Rolls Royces to pick ups in the parking lot.”

Informal tournaments will be organized for steel darts, the preferred Irish sport, and plastic darts, which purists disdain. Mother Murphy`s is also providing a van to drive patrons home if they need it. Festivities start at 11 a.m. on Sunday, with $4.25 for a meal of corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread and boiled potatoes. Call 708-526-8800.

Durty Nellie`s, 55 N. Bothwell, in Palatine, promises a 14-hour blow-out all day and into the wee hours, starting at noon on Sunday. Among the performers are John Williams and Jim DeWayne, Dave Glynn, Pat McGaughin, Tom Moran, Dave Kelly, J.D. Smith, formerly with the Irish Minstrels, bagpiper Tom Connolly, and Sean Ryan.

A buffet including Irish stew and soda bread will be served throughout. Admission is $3. Call 708-358-9150.

Another all-day affair on Sunday takes place at Hugh`s Too, 720 S. Barrington Rd. in Streamwood. Although owner Hugh Ulbert, a second-generation Irishman, generally books blues into his club, the room will be hopping to traditional Irish music beginning at 1 p.m.

Mark Bayerle and Friends will play Irish standards on flute and bagpipes, while Jive Irish will put a contemporary twist on the old-time favorites. The ubiquitous corned beef and cabbage will be served. No cover charge. Call 708-213-1456.

One of the most intense forms of Irish entertainment that can be enjoyed in several venues this week is ”step dancing,” a highly strenuous style of performing similar to American tap dancing.

Barbara McNulty, who runs several Irish dance schools in the area for boys and girls ages five through 15, says that her costumes get her young dancers most excited.

”When the little girls see the dresses that they dance in, they get so excited,” says McNulty.

”We sew on designs from the Book of Celts, which contains the Celtic alphabet. Take calligraphy and multiply that by a million, and you have an idea of what Celtic letters are like. For example, the top line of the F might be a dragons head, or the elongated tail of a hound, with birds and seahells entertwined.”

McNulty adds ”One myth I want to dispel right now are that Irish dancers are not supposed to smile. It`s just that they`re concentrating so much on what`s going on, that smiling is on the back burner.”

McNulty`s dancers are getting a real workout in the next few days. They`ll be performing a free concert at the Benchmark of Hoffman Estates, 1515 Barrington Rd. at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Call 708-490-5800.

They can also be seen scuffing up the aisles at Cubs Food, 600 E. Rand Rd. in Arlington Heights on Saturday at 11 a.m. The store will also feature a free-lance leprechaun bounding about the premises until 4 p.m.

St. Thomas Becket Church, 1321 Burning Bush Lane in Mt. Prospect, will feature the McNulty dancers at its dinner-dance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The $12.50 tickets include an Irish buffet dinner and DJ spinning favorites from the Emerald Isle. Call 708-827-9220.

The Knights of Columbus` Hoffman-Schaumburg Council are sponsoring a dinner-dance at St. Matthew`s Church, 1001 E. Schauburg Rd. in Schaumburg from 7 to 11 p.m. on Saturday.

The McNulty dancers will perform along with singer Tim Schueneman and a D.J. for dancing. Cash bar. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door, children under nine free. Call 708-885-1222.

Luncheon celebrations honoring St. Patrick include a party coordinated by by Schaumburg Park District`s S&H Golden Group on Thursday, March 14 at the Community Recreation Center, 505 N. Springinsguth.

A family-style meal of corned beef and cabbage will be prepared by Harrington`s, the granddaddy of Irish caterers. Entertainment is provided by Two for the Road. Lunch begins at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $12.25. Call 708-490-7026.

The Shamrocks singing group, Irish tenor Robbye Houde, folk singer Whitey O`Day and bagpipe player Gordon Crombie will perform at the Seville Restaurant, 700 Barrington Rd. in Streamwood, on Wednesday, and at the Cotillion, 360 Creekside Rd. in Palatine on Friday.

Both restaurants will be serving five-course meals at noon, to be followed by the entertainment. Tickets are $18.50, excluding transportation. Call 312-787-8810.



Why is Saint Patrick so important? ›

St. Patrick is one of the most famous patron saints of Ireland: According to the legend, he brought Christianity to the island, made the shamrock fashionable and freed Ireland from snakes. The holiday marks St. Patrick's death and has been observed as a religious holiday in Ireland for over 1500 years.

Why do people get pinched if they're not wearing green on St. Patrick's Day? ›

Patrick's Day tradition. While Ireland has plenty of folklore and mythology, Americans are also thought to have come up with the idea that green makes you invisible to leprechauns. According to the tradition, if you are not wearing green and therefore visible to the leprechauns, a leprechaun may wind up pinching you.

Who was Saint Patrick and what did he do? ›

St. Patrick was a 5th-century missionary to Ireland and later served as bishop there. He is credited with bringing Christianity to parts of Ireland and was probably partly responsible for the Christianization of the Picts and Anglo-Saxons. He is one of the patron saints of Ireland.

What color do they wear in Ireland on St. Patrick's Day? ›

Irish Catholic tradition is associated with the color green, as we mentioned earlier, but Irish Protestant tradition is associated with orange. This stems from William of Orange, the Protestant king who overthrew the Roman Catholic King James II.

What are three important facts about St. Patrick? ›

11 Interesting Facts About St. Patrick
  • He wasn't actually Irish. ...
  • Patrick was not his original name. ...
  • He was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave. ...
  • He studied a lot about Christianity in Europe. ...
  • He claimed to have seen visions and heard voices. ...
  • Green was not the colour he actually wore. ...
  • He wrote two short works.
Jan 19, 2022

What did St. Patrick want to do? ›

During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian. (It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.)

What does the orange mean on St Patrick's Day? ›

What does orange mean on St. Patrick's Day? The colour orange in the Irish flag represents Ireland's Protestant community. Some people may choose to wear orange on March 17th to celebrate both St. Patrick and their heritage.

Is it bad luck to wear green on St Patricks Day? ›

In 2019, people are a lot less superstitious than people in the 15th century. People wear green on this lucky day to keep themselves for being attacked by leprechauns. Legend has it that is you wear green, they can't see you. People pinch you to remind you of all of the trouble you can cause by not wearing green.

Do people actually wear green on St Patrick's Day? ›

Dressing in green on St. Patrick's can trace its roots to leprechaun legends, as well as a sign of Irish defiance. Each year on St. Patrick's Day, tens of thousands of Americans add green to their outfits, even if they can't trace their ancestry back to the Emerald Isle.

What are 10 interesting facts about St. Patrick? ›

10 St. Patrick's Day Facts You Never Knew Before
  • Saint Patrick was actually British.
  • His real name was Maewyn Succat.
  • March 17 is not Saint Patrick's birthday.
  • The first St. ...
  • St. ...
  • It used to be a dry holiday.
  • Everyone should be wearing blue, not green.
  • The shamrock was NOT originally used as a teaching tool.
Mar 7, 2024

What happened to St. Patrick when he was 16? ›

At the age of sixteen, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family's estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity.

What did St. Patrick do after slavery? ›

Saint Patrick was an enslaved worker in Ireland for six years and eventually returned to his homeland, entering the clergy. He then returned as a missionary in Ireland in 432. In St. Patrick's telling in the Confessio, he almost died after his escape from slavery.

What is Ireland's nickname? ›

Ireland is known for its wide expanses of lush, green fields. In fact, its nickname is the Emerald Isle.

Where is St. Patrick buried? ›

Down Cathedral is a Church of Ireland cathedral. It stands on the site of a Benedictine Monastery, built in 1183. Saint Patrick's remains are buried on the site. Magnificent stain glass windows, box pews and beautiful organ case enhances this interesting building.

Why was St. Patrick blue? ›

The earliest known depiction of the saint — found in a 13th-century French manuscript — shows him clad in a blue robe, and he was often associated with the cool hue. The color blue was also used to represent Ireland itself, starting with the actions of King Henry VIII in 1541.

Why is St. Patrick important to Catholics? ›

According to tradition dating from the early Middle Ages, Patrick was the first bishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland, and is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland, converting a pagan society in the process. He has been generally so regarded ever since, despite evidence of some earlier Christian presence.

Why is St. Patrick celebrated in us? ›

Patrick's Day evolved in America. Apart from politics, St. Patrick's Day parades and other forms of celebration in the U.S. helped Irish Americans think of their homeland while in their new home. "It was a great way of connecting for those who had never visited Ireland, but knew they were of Irish heritage," Stack said ...

What is the famous prayer of St. Patrick? ›

I arise today, through God's strength to pilot me, God's might to uphold me, God's wisdom to guide me, God's eye to look before me, God's ear to hear me, God's word to speak for me, God's hand to guard me, God's shield to protect me, God's host to save me From snares of devils, From temptation of vices, From everyone ...

Why was St. Patrick successful? ›

So, how did St Patrick succeed at converting so many Irish people to Christianity? Patrick, through his experience of living in Ireland as a slave for some six years, had insight into the existing culture. This knowledge helped him greatly when he came to live here as a missionary.


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