Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I know I’m a little early, but for most St. Louisans, this is the weekend they will head downtown for the 51st annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade to celebrate. On this day, everyone is Irish, which, to some, means that they wear anything and everything green, drink until they can’t stand up, and sing “Danny Boy.” Well, they don’t really sing the song because the only words they know are, “Oh Danny boy!” You will not find me at a parade or a party; my very Irish family did not celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Oh, maybe my mom made corned beef and cabbage, but that was just part of the regular rotation of meals like fried chicken or beef stew. My dad always said the day was for amateurs. He believed, “If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough.” So, for you non-Irish, I would like to help dispel some of the falsehoods you may hold about us.

Why do the Irish drink so much alcohol? Well, that is a myth. Did you know Ireland is not even in the top 10 countries with the most alcohol consumption per capita? In first place is Moldova! I know nothing about Moldova, but I do know a little something about Ireland. A visit there isn’t complete unless you go to the Jameson Distillery Bow St. where you realize Jack and Johnnie simply aren’t even close. But every pub in every little town has such a wide selection of locally brewed beer that it’s hard not to believe everyone is in the brewery business. And the pubs in Ireland are different. Anywhere else, I naturally give off a vibe of, “Danger, Will Robinson! If you approach this woman, she will do you great harm.” But in Ireland, I routinely was grabbed from my barstool and made to dance with complete strangers, and I enjoyed it! I think their love of life is mistaken for drunkenness.

Why do so many Irish people have red hair? Actually, they don’t. Only about 10% of the population in Ireland has red hair. That’s in comparison to 1% across the globe, so sure, if you visit Ireland, it would appear redheads are everywhere. Now, let’s clear up a few myths about redheads. First, if they stare at you too long, they will not suck out your soul. Second, redheads do not have fiery tempers unless their first name is Patricia. Second, don’t ever call a child red, carrot head or ginger. They already know they stand out.

Is St. Patrick just a thin Santa Claus? They sure look alike in books, but they are two different people. St. Patrick is credited with bringing Catholicism to Ireland. He spent several years as a slave and six years in contemplation before joining the priesthood. Some say he drove the snakes from Ireland, but the truth is, with Ireland’s climate, there aren’t any snakes. And as far as Santa, well, I will discuss his life in a column this December.