What Blarney! Facts o’ the Irish in NYC

March 14, 2012 at 4:00 am

Saturday is St. Patrick's Day -- are you ready for some pints at McSorley's? There are 13 million pints of Guinness consumed on St. Paddy’s Day worldwide, up from the 5.5 million on a regular day. MetroFocus/Karan Brazell

Amid the smartly dressed leprechauns hoarding their gold from our greedy grabs, the green felt hats, striped stockings and battery-operated blinking necklaces, there is both legend and lore when it come to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in New York.

A little knowledge will last a lot longer than the glittery shamrock lashes you will have glued to your eyelids, whether you are headed to McSorley’s or the best spot in town to hear the pipers and drums during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade (we hear it’s 66th Street and Fifth Avenue). Here are a few facts to keep you chatting over a coupla pints of Guinness:

The Irish play traditional songs on uilleann pipes. flickr/Whistling in the Dark

  • New York City hosted the first St. Paddy’s Day parade when a contingent of Irish soldiers, homesick for their native coast, marched through the city in 1762.
  • Since then, New York has hosted one of the world’s biggest parades to commemorate the day Ireland’s patron saint, Patrick, died. He is purported to have used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity.
  • Francis X. Comerford, a Brooklyn native, is the 251st parade Grand Marshal this year. Visit the parade’s page for times and tips on the best viewing spots.

Even the Empire State building gets dressed up for the holiday. flickr/prendio2

  • Got an uncle Pat on Staten Island? One in 161 Americans is named Patrick — nearly 2 million times the population of Dublin.
  • The Irish tradition for St. Patrick’s Day is to celebrate the work of Saint Patrick, and to take a day off from fasting for Lent. The renowned American propensity for excess transformed the holiday into party central in the Tri-State area, leading Hoboken, N.J., to cancel their 2012 parade in favor of a tamer pub crawl.
  • There are 13 million pints of Guinness consumed on St. Paddy’s world-wide, up from the 5.5 mil on a regular day. That’s one billion calories and 85,000,000 carbohydrates. Want to stop shaking things up at the bar? An Irish Car Bomb is one Guinness with a shot of whiskey. Drop in a shot of Bailey’s and drink fast!
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