Fr. Donnelly Division


Irish Tidbits

Irish Symbols

To emphasize the importance of the shamrock and its three leaves, which symbolize the Holy Trinity, an old tradition was to pin shamrocks to one’s coat on St. Patrick’s Day. “Drowning the Shamrock” became the phrase for dropping the pinned shamrock into a glass at the end of the day’s celebrations and covering it with whiskey as a final toast to the saint.

Enduring since the sixth century, when it emerged as a motif on metal work, crosses, and architectural elements, the Trinity Knot, like the shamrock, represents the intertwined connections of the Holy Trinity and symbolizes faith and devotion. It often adorns Celtic wedding and engagement rings.

Irish Proverbs

  • Don't break your shin on a stool that is not in your way.
  • Never bolt the door with a boiled carrot.

Irish Food and Drink

Members of the Irish working class in New York City frequented Jewish delis, where they tasted corned beef. Cured and cooked much like Irish bacon, it was tasty and cheaper than pork, and cabbage was a cost-effective replacement for potatoes. Cooked in the same pot, the spiced, salty beef flavored the plain cabbage, creating a simple, hearty dish. Due to its popularity in the Irish immigrant community, the meal soon became connected to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. However, the popularity of corned beef and cabbage never crossed to Ireland.

The white potato, one of the major starch sources worldwide, is not native to Ireland, but originated in South America. Because of its popularity in Ireland, the tuber was called an Irish potato by earlier American generations to distinguish it from sweet potatoes, and because the potato was so closely associated with the Irish diet after the Great Potato Famine.

Irish History

From 1689 to 1690, the deposed Catholic King James II fled England to Ireland, where he fought against the armies of the Protestant King William III in the Battle of the Boyne (a river north of Dublin). The defeat of James II’s forces ultimately ensured the continuation of English and Protestant supremacy in Ireland.

Irish Words

Hibernia is a name for Ireland, either stemming from the Latin word “hibernus”, meaning ‘wintry’, or the mythological Latin name for Ireland “Ivernia.”