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What NOT to drink on St. Patrick’s Day: What’s In A Name…

March 3, 2015

St Patrick’s Day here in the US is, as we all know, is a HUGE day for drinking and celebrating the Irish culture.  It is one of my favorites actually, being of Irish heritage.  It is however very unfortunate how certain “traditions” and associations get attached to the way we celebrate.  In fact, some are downright insulting, if not racist.

Yes, the Irish fancy a drink.  Who doesn’t?  But some of the drinks we associate with the celebration of St. Paddy’s Day (yes it’s ‘Paddy’ not ‘Patty’)* are actually very degrading to the culture.  Let’s take a look at some of them:

BTBlack & Tans
Yes, black and tan are the colors that you see when you layer Guinness with Harp or Bass Ale (depending on your preference), but that is not where the name came from.  Originally this combination of beer was called a Half & Half, and is a wonderful way to consume a pint.  So, why is this insulting? During the Irish War of Independence, Winston Churchill recruited temporary constables to help maintain control and fight in Northern Ireland. Their uniforms were khaki pants and a dark shirt, and they became known as The Black & Tans. Sadly, their methods for “maintaining control” were brutal at best, using their position and power is ways that make what’s been happening here in the U.S. recently look like a playground fight. They were notorious for public murders, property destruction and brutal beatings of civilians.
In the British pubs, The Half & Half beer was jokingly renamed The Black & Tan as a scoff toward the Irish people.

360_omagh_bombing_0608Irish Car Bomb
I despise this drink. 

First of all, that is what the basic design of the drink is going to get you…bombed.  It is drinking to get drunk:not drinking for the enjoyment of the drink. Now, I have done my share of  Boilermaker type drinks in the past, and yes I did enjoy the moment.  But this drink ‘s name i the absolute worst thing ever!

For years during The Troubles 1969-2010),  3568 people were killed, of which 1879 were civilians with the Irish Republican Army able to claim responsibility fo 1696 of those deaths.  One of the IRA’s favorite tactics…..Car Bombs.

But we Americans don’t look at history and etymology sometimes and realize what we are saying.  To the Irish, especially those from Northern Ireland, family and friends were killed by car bombs.  For perspective’s sake, imagine someone asking you if you wanted to do a 9/11 Al Queda  Plane Bomb….how would you feel?

45464_10200609037530562_1813935733_nSo what should we drink?

Have a pint of Guinness, harp, or Smithwick’s, sip some Jameson, Tullamore DEW, Bushmills Black, or if you’re daring Power’s.  Toast a great land and great people each filled with joy and hospitality.  Sing, laugh and cheer on to all the great contributions the Irish have given to the U.S. Smile and celebrate the way you would want another culture celebrating America.


*Paddy” is the proper short name of Patrick, even though Patrick is spelled with a ‘t”.  “Patty” is short of Patricia. So Paddy is a boy, and Patty is a girl.  Got it?


Rainbow at the Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare

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