March 14, 2006 11:17 am at 11:17 am #72293March 16, 2006 1:05 pm at 1:05 pm #108658
Festivals bring out the Irish in everybody
St. PatrickÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Day inspires celebrations Downtown, in Dublin
Thursday, March 16, 2006
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Break out the blarney and the shamrocks.
The biggest Irish-American celebration of the year, St. PatrickÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Day, is back and bigger than ever.
As it should be: Not only do Americans who claim Irish descent (more than 30 million) far outnumber the citizens of Ireland (4 million), but the celebration of the green has a longer history here than back in the old sod.
Boston, New York and Philadelphia conducted their first parades in the 1700s, while Ireland initiated them only in the late 1800s.
True, Ireland long viewed the day as a holy occasion more appropriate for churchgoing than singing, dancing, drinking and parading Ã¢â‚¬â€ but even the more secular Ireland of modern times has been slow to get in step.
The St. PatrickÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Festival in Dublin, Ireland, for instance, began in 1996, a year after the Blarney Bash in Dublin, Ohio.
So, in a funny (and, yes, nonreligious) way, Americans seeking the most “authentic” St. PatrickÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Day festivities need look no farther than their own backyard.
The Shamrock Club, founded in 1936 to organize and sponsor the Columbus parade, will continue with the tradition on Friday, gathering Downtown before walking to Mass at Holy Cross Church.
The parade will depart from the church about 11:45 a.m., wind its way to E. Broad Street and continue to Veterans Memorial for the annual Irish Reunion.
The opening ceremony at the reunion will include the color guard from the Marine CorpsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Lima Company, based in Columbus. (Alcoholic beverages canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be taken into the hall but will be available for purchase.)
Festivities will conclude Friday evening at the Shamrock Club.
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