Fun Facts About St. Patrick's Day

March Is Irish-American Heritage Month

St. Patrick's Day Facts You Can Use to Quiz Your Co-Workers
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How many St. Patrick's Day facts do you know? Probably that it falls on March 17 and honors the Catholic saint who legendarily chased snakes from Ireland. Well, if that's all you know here are some fun facts you can share with your co-workers in green next St. Patrick's Day.

How St. Patrick's Day Originated

St. Patrick's Day began as a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century.

The first parade for the holiday occurred in New York City on March 17, 1762. It featured Irish soldiers who served in the English military. In 1948, President Harry S. Truman attended the parade.

In 1991, Congress proclaimed March to be Irish-American Heritage Month to honor  the achievements and contributions of Irish immigrants and their descendants who are living in the United States today.

What the Irish in America Have Accomplished

33.1 million, or 10.4% is the number and percentage of U.S. residents claiming Irish ancestry in 2014, more than seven times the 4 million-plus population of Ireland itself. The only ancestry reported more often was German.

Two states in 2014 claimed more than 20 percent Irish residency and those were Massachusetts at 21.5 percent and New Hampshire at 20.9 percent.  

Those with Irish heritage were more likely to have higher household income, own their own homes and earn educational degrees.

Specifically:

  • 35.6 percent of Irish-Americans older than 25 held at least a bachelor's degree and 93.7 percent held at least a high school diploma, compared with 30.1 percent and 86.9 percent for the entire U.S.
  • Households headed by an Irish-American received a median income of $62,141 in 2014 compared with $53,657 for all households.
  • 68.3 percent of those Irish-headed homes were owned, compared with 63.1 percent for all households. The remainder rented.

St. Patrick's Day Celebrations with Corned Beef and Cabbage

If you're a working mom who doesn't want to cook on March 17th you are in luck!  You can find a healthy meal of corned beef and cabbage at almost any restaurant!  In 2014 235.701 restaurants celebrated St. Patrick's Day (as did 41,582 drinking places).  

Those making corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day should find ample supplies in grocery stories. U.S. farmers produced 40.3 billion pounds of beef and 2.2 billion pounds of cabbage in 2014.

If you're a working mom who doesn't want to spend the cash at a restaurant, there's an easy way to make this St. Patrick's Day feast.  Break out your crock pot and squeeze in the corned beef, potatoes cut into quarters, parsnip and turnips.  Fill the crock post with water and add the corned beef seasoning which could come with the beef or in March you can find pickling spice in your grocery stores seasoning section.

 Set the crock post to cook all day while you're at work.  

When you come home your house will smell heavenly. Since the cabbage is rather large you can cut this the night before, put it in water overnight, set it on the stove in the morning, then as soon as you get home put the stove on while you unpack and get dinner cut up.

Irish-Themed Places You Could Visit

There are 6 towns in the U.S. named after a shamrock, the emblem of Ireland (in Oklahoma, Texas [two], Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska).  16 places are named after Dublin, the capital of Ireland. The most populous are in California and Ohio.

More whimsical Irish-themed towns include Emerald Isle, N.C., and the township of Irishtown, Ill. Townships named Clover exist in South Carolina, Illinois, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. Minnesota is also home to Cloverleaf.

Source: The Census Bureau

Updated by Elizabeth McGrory