The History of St. Patrick’s Day and How Museums Are Celebrating

March 10, 2022

While we celebrate women during the month of March, we also celebrate Irish heritage on the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. It was once known as a religious holiday, the feast day of the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick. The origins of St. Patrick are varied according to Thomas O’Loughlin’s article “St. Patrick: The Legend and the Bishop” in History Ireland. O’Loughlin investigated the accounts of St. Patrick, and while some details are varied it is agreed that St. Patrick was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave, then escaped and returned sometime later to convert Ireland to Christianity. There were many legends that emerged about St. Patrick including he drove the snakes out of Ireland and used the shamrock to explain the Trinity (in Christianity, Trinity refers to the Father-God, Son-Jesus, and the Holy Spirit/Ghost). Emigrants, specifically to the United States, transformed St. Patrick’s Day into a secular holiday to celebrate all things Irish which led to the holiday we know today. To learn more about St. Patrick’s Day, I included a link below the list.

The following list is a random selection of events and places to visit especially during the holiday. St. Patrick’s Day takes place on a Thursday this year, and while we are still going through a pandemic some of the events that are occurring to honor and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day are virtual.

  1. Tenement Museum’s Virtual Tour: The Moore Family

The Tenement Museum is located in New York City. They are having a virtual tour that is honoring both Women’s History and Irish American History Month by exploring the story of an Irish immigrant family, Joseph and Bridget Moore and their children, who lived at 97 Orchard Street in the 1860s. Visitors will learn how Irish immigrants navigated the diverse city, maintained pride, and built a community in Lower Manhattan. To sign up, click on the link here: https://www.tenement.org/events/special-virtual-tour-the-moore-family/

2. Visit the Irish Hunger Memorial https://www.nyc-arts.org/organizations/2436/irish-hunger-memorial

   Another place to visit in New York City especially during St. Patrick’s Day is the Irish Hunger Memorial that was commissioned by the Battery Park City Authority to raise public awareness of the events that led to the Irish famine of 1845 to 1852, and to encourage efforts to address both current and future hunger worldwide. The memorial represents a rural Irish landscape with an abandoned stone cottage, stone walls, fallow potato fields, and the flora on the north Connacht wetlands. It contains stones from each of Ireland’s 32 counties, and is elevated on a limestone plinth.

3. Boston Irish Tourism Association https://irishboston.org/march.php

     If you are in the Boston area, check out the Boston Irish Tourism Association’s website for events throughout the month of March and St. Patrick’s Day Parade dates and times in New England and Dublin, Ireland.

4. Long Island Children’s Museum

At the Long Island Children’s Museum, there is a program known as stART (Story + Art) that combines reading both children’s classics and new stories and creating book-inspired crafts. On St. Patrick’s Day, they will be reading Joan Holub’s “Hooray for St. Patrick’s Day”, learning about the ways to celebrate the holiday, and creating leprechaun hats to wear home. To learn more and sign up for the class (space is limited), check out the link here: https://www.licm.org/calendar/event/start-story-art-3-17-22/

5. Children’s Museum of Manhattan

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan has a couple of events on St. Patrick’s Day. The first one is the opportunity to contribute to a mural in the CMOM Mural Wall: Colors of the Emerald Isle. Then there is a crafts activity where kids can create shamrock wreaths using recycled paper. More information can be found here: https://cmom.org/cmom-programs/

6. Garde Arts Center, New London, CT https://gardearts.org/events/the-high-kings-2/

On March 20th, there is a performance by the group The High Kings hosted by Garde Arts Center and co-presented with the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. The High Kings return to the Garde to celebrate over a decade of sell-out shows and topping the Irish Album and World Music Charts. To find out more, visit the Garde Arts Center event page.

7. Museum of Early Trades & Crafts, Madison, NJ https://metc.org/event/st-patricks-day-celebration/

This museum has a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on March 12th that includes live music, dancing, and singing. Also, there is an interactive game for kids to “find the pot of gold” using QR codes in the museum’s exhibits.

8. Festival Quater at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks https://www.irishcentral.com/events/st-patricks-festival-launch-schedule

     In Dublin, there is a day-to-night festival called Festival Quarter at the National Museum of Ireland for all ages. There are family-friendly adventures including but not limited to performance, theatre, film screenings, interactive games, and science shows. At night, adults can enjoy a food village, bars, and hangout areas with some events including but not limited to Irish contemporary and traditional music, performance, comedy, literature, and dance.

9. Medici Museum of Art, Ohio

The Medici Museum of Art has an adult St. Patrick’s Day Sip & Paint on March 15th in which adults can paint a St. Patrick’s Day inspired artwork as well as sip drinks and eat snacks. If you are interested in this program, take a look at the link here: https://www.medicimuseum.art/upcomingevents/adult-st-patricks-day

There is a kids version and tickets can be found here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kids-st-patricks-day-sip-paint-tickets-256298554877?aff=efbeventtix

10. The Heritage Museum & Cultural Center, St. Joseph, MI https://www.eventbrite.com/e/celebrate-st-patricks-day-at-the-heritage-with-kennedys-kitchen-tickets-271148832457

      At the Heritage Museum & Cultural Center, they collaborated with the Lake Michigan Music Concert Series to welcome the group Kennedy’s Kitchen. There is a cash bar that features Guiness, Bell’s Two-Hearted, Jameson, Bailey’s, wine, and snacks.

       Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Resources for St. Patrick’s Day history:

O’Loughlin, Thomas, “St. Patrick: The Legend and the Bishop”, History Ireland, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Jan. – Feb., 2006), pp. 16-19.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Saint-Patricks-Day

       

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