On March 17th, everyone is Irish! Tomorrow we will celebrate the annual tradition of St. Patrick’s Day and our Irish heritage by wearing green, drinking green beer, and eating corned beef and cabbage. But where did this all come from? The traditional Irish St. Patrick’s day feast consisted of pork and potatoes. However, in the mid-1800’s when Irish immigration exploded, pork and potatoes where too expensive here in America for the new settlers. Therefore, a cheaper alternative of corned beef and cabbage came to be a new Irish-American tradition!
Why green? Traditionally, the color was blue and was known as St. Patrick’s blue. This changed when green became more associated with Ireland and became known as Emerald Isle for its luscious green landscapes. The shamrock also contributes to green culture, as this is what St. Patrick used to explain the Holy Trinity. Nowadays, here in the U.S. we wear our green to represent solidarity with Ireland and our Irish culture, cheers!
Alpena Irish History- The Owens Block in downtown Alpena was owned and operated by Irish immigrant Peter Owens. What you now know of as the banquet room adjacent to John A. Lau Saloon, used to be a funeral parlor and furniture business where Peter made and sold picture frames along with various other items made of wood. The Owens block continues to provide for local businesses 131 years later, thanks to an Irish immigrant with the dream of becoming a business owner.
Alpena Irish Traditions- There are many events going on and many restaurants in the Alpena area serving traditional Irish meals Saturday and Sunday to celebrate St. Patrick. Take your pick and finish the night off with a green beer at one of our local pubs!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Alpena!
A very special thanks to the Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library, Special Collections, for their contribution!