Food & Drink

10 Surprising Facts About St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick Credits:
St. Patrick's Grave in Downpatrick, Co. Down Credits: John Mooney

According to WalletHub, more than 52% of Americans plan some type of celebration of St. Patrick's Day, and more than 82% of celebrants will wear green. Overall, $4.6 billion will be spent on dining, flags, clothing, and, of course, beer. Guinness estimates that more 13 million pints of its stout will  be consumed. While those facts might not be surprising, the following likely are:

1) March 17 is not St. Patrick's birthday; it's the day he died
He was born in 385 AD on an unknown date. After spending most of his adult life converting the pagans of Ireland to Christianity, St. Patrick died on March 17, 461 AD. (Source:
2) St. Patrick was not born in Ireland
His parents were Roman citizens living in England. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders who took him away and sold him as a slave. He spent several years in Ireland herding sheep and learning about the people there. At the age of 22, he escaped and made his way to a monastery in England. He returned to Ireland and converted the people to Christianity. (Source:
3) The church never canonized Patrick as a saint
Patrick died in 461 AD. The Catholic church's canonization process was not formalized until the Middle Ages. By then, he was widely recognized as a saint already. (Source:
4) Legend says St. Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland, but it is unlikely 
There is little evidence that snakes ever existed in Ireland. The climate is too cool for them to live there. Scholars suggest that the term "snakes" may have been a metaphor for pagan religious beliefs. (Source:
5) Patrick's color is blue
The original color associated with St. Patrick was blue, not green. Early artworks depicted St. Patrick wearing blue vestments. (Source:
6) Construction of New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral was halted by the Civil War
Although work began in 1858, the construction was disrupted by the Civil War. At the time, the area now known as Midtown was actually far north of most of the population of Manhattan. (Source: Wikipedia)
7) New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade pre-dates America's founding
The New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade is the country’s oldest and largest parade. The Irish tradition began 14 years before the Declaration of Independence on March 17, 1762. (Source:
8) More than 34 million Americans claim Irish ancestry
Irish ranks second to German among nationalities of Americans with European ancestry. (The number of Irish Americans includes people of mixed ancestry today. By contrast, 4.2 million people live in Ireland.)
The "Irish Diaspora" was a result of the country's troubled economic history, notably the Potato Famine, which wiped out about one-third of Ireland's population in the mid 19th century. Waves of people came thereafter, and during the Civil War entire regiments of troops were comprised exclusively of Irish immigrants. Later, Annie Moore -- followed by millions of others -- was the first immigrant processed through Ellis Island until the facility closed in 1954. Irish immigrants continue to come to the U.S. today, but not in the great numbers of the past. (Source:
9) Corned beef and cabbage is not an Irish dish
It is an Irish-American meal. In the late 1800s, many Irish immigrants were poor and could not afford to eat meat very often. They bought the least expensive cut of meat – brisket – which they would soak in a brine to make tender, and the least expensive vegetable: cabbage. (Source:
10) Alcohol was not served on St. Patrick's Day in Ireland until 1970
For many decades, St. Patrick's Day was a religious observance in Ireland during which all pubs were closed. In 1970, St. Patrick's Day was reclassified as a national holiday, thus allowing the taps to flow freely. (Source:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Warren Township to Collect Winter Storm Quinn Tree Debris

March 15, 2018

WARREN, NJ - The Department of Public Works of Warren Township will be collecting tree and brush debris from all Warren Township residents in the aftermath of Winter Storm Quinn.

Due to the intense effects of Storm Quinn that impacted Warren Township on March 7, the Township Committee has authorized and directed the DPW to. begin the collection process ...

Somerset County Opens Emergency Shelter for Storm Victims at RVCC

BRANCHBURG, NJ – Due to the extended power outages in Somerset County as a result of Winter Storm Quinn and the expected cold temperatures over the next few days, the Somerset County Office of Emergency Management has partnered with the American Red Cross to open a shelter for county residents at Raritan Valley Community College.

The shelter opened as of 5:30 p.m. Saturday, ...

Update from Warren Office of Emergency Management on Saturday, Mar. 10

WARREN, NJ - The Warren Township Office of Emergency Management has provided a timeline and Jane Asch at Warren’s Office of Emergency Management has updated storm recovery information as of 1 p.m. Saturday, March 10 with the following:



The most pressing issue is restoration of power. It may be helpful to understand the triage system both JCP&L and ...

Storm Watch: Closings, Cancellations and Postponements

WARREN, NJ - The snow has started to fall. The National Weather Service is forecasting as much as 8 to 12 inches of snow to accumulate across the northern half of New Jersey and Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency.

The Warren Township Municipal Building and the Warren Library are closed today, Wednesday, Mar. 7 due to the storm. Watchung Borough offices and ...

Mount Carmel Breakfast with the Easter Bunny, Sunday, March 25

March 19, 2018

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Mount Carmel Society is hosting a Breakfast with the Easter Bunny on Sunday, March 25 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 56 River Road in Berkeley Heights with an Easter Egg Hunt at 11 a.m. (weather permitting).

The all you can eat buffet includes pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, bagels, donuts and muffins and a cash bar will serve Mimosas and Bloody ...

North Plainfield High School Alumni Association 2018 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Set for April 21,

The North Plainfield High School Alumni Association is holding its 2018 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday April 21, 2018 at North Plainfield High School from 2:00-5:00 p.m.

The 2018 Hall of Fame inductees include:

• Frederick Sheeler, Class of ’63 – Community Service

• Robert Kirchberger, Class of ’65 – ...


South Plainfield – Joanne Gallo, 68, of Palm Beach Gardens, FL and Warren, NJ, passed away ...
Read more

AAA Cautions: Daylight Saving Could Affect Daily Commute

March 10, 2018

WARREN, NJ - AAA is reminding drivers that the change to Daylight Saving Time may create distractions on the roadway and challenges for drivers who lost an hour of sleep. Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday at 2 a.m.

“As we spring forward, drivers should be aware that the time change will also mean changes to driving habits,” said Robert Sinclair, Manager of Media ...

Suspended HS Athletic Director Charged with Theft

March 19, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Suspended Hillsborough High School Athletic Director Michael Fanizzi has been arrested and charged with the theft of $10,704 in athletic event receipts over a four-year period from 2013-2017, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

Fanizzi, 53, a resident of Conover Way in Hillsborough who had been athletics director for 14 years, had been ...

Fairytale Marriage Proposal Takes Center Stage at St. Patrick’s Day Parade

SOMERVILLE, NJ – A surprise engagement took center stage at last weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Somerville. In the midst of the March 11 festivities, Piscataway resident Steven Verardi boarded a float and popped the question to his girlfriend Elise Latona, marking the first known engagement to take place at the parade in 27 years.

Since opening The Beauty Bar ...

Somerset County Student Escorted from School; Loaded Gun Found in Backpack

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ - A 17-year-old high school student was escorted from school yesterday by police who found a loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol in his back pack along with narcotics, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

Robertson said the initial investigation by law enforcement revealed that there were no known threats to the students or faculty; he commended the ...

Somerville: Students Make a Statement about School Safety and Eulogize Florida Shooting Victims

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Hundreds of Somerville High School students participated in the National School Walkout Wednesday morning to pay their respects to the 17 victims of last month’s mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. and to draw attention to the issue of students' safety while in school.

The students gathered outdoors on the track in front ...

Local Travel Ideas for St. Patrick’s Day - Calm Family Events to Drinking Shots from...Nevermind

March 17, 2018

St. Patrick’s Day is coming upon us even faster than St. Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland.  Here are some of the areas great events to celebrate Irish pride.

March 17 Events

Hoboken - The Nerds at Willie McBride’s (see poster up in the slide show)

Newton - Sober St. Patrick’s Day Gathering

Newton (parade) - Sussex County St. Patrick's Day ...

After a Couple Painful Travel Days the New York City Area Airports Are Returning to Normal

After a couple of difficult travel days, the local airports are returning to normal.  The FAA is reportin only 10 to 15 minute delays.  Allow extra times for the commute to the airport and you should be fine.

Just keep these ideas and links fresh in mind for future travels.  You may even want to bookmark the page for future reference.

Most Airlines now offer ...

Air Travel Disruptions - Newark and Laguardia Airports Are Reporting Delays of 1 to 2 Hours.

The weather continues to play havoc on local air travel.  Newark is reporting average delays of 1 hour 41 minutes and LaGuardia is experiencing 59 minute delays.

Most Airlines now offer APP, text, or email updates to flight delays.  Make sure to sign up for them.  That will be your fastest way to get notifications. Also, make sure to ...

St. Patrick’s Day Sobriety Check in Belmar/Neptune Area on Tap by State Police

March 17, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — Giving no details on location and time, New Jersey State Police plans to conduct a sobriety checkpoint on Saturday, March 17 in the area of Belmar and Neptune Township,

The state police made the announcement on its Facebook page, alerting motorists that state troopers will be pulling over vehicles at this undisclosed location and time  “looking for signs of ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...