As March 17th is just around the corner, it is appropriate to focus this lesson on St. Patrick’s Day, the most important national holiday for people of Irish heritage worldwide. From Dublin to Dubai, Cork to Chicago and Limerick to Lima, the Irish and their diaspora will be decked out in green and hitting the streets and bars for a loud and boisterous celebration of Irish music, culture and dance.
With a population of less than 6 million on the island itself, the sheer scale of the Irish diaspora is something of a surprise for many non-Irish people. However, Irish citizens have had a long history of migration, stretching back to Medieval times and peaking during and after the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1849. By 1891 40% of Irish born people lived abroad!
Over 33 million Americans report Irish ancestry and it is estimated that as many as six million people living in the UK have at least one Irish grandparent. This goes some way towards explaining the sea of green that will be cheering enthusiastically at parades worldwide this Mach 17th.
The links on today’s post run explain some of the traditions related to St. Patrick’s Day and show some footage from the big day in Dublin along with some music from the Dropkick Murphy’s, an Irish-American folk-rock group.
Diaspora > People who come from a particular nation, or whose ancestors came from it, but who now live in many different parts of the world are sometimes referred to as the diaspora.
The Irish diaspora can be found all over the world.
Be decked out > to be decorated with something, or dressed in something special
Peter decked out the bar in green and white ribbons for St. Paddy’s Day.
James was decked out in a new suit for the wedding.
Boisterous > (of a person, event, or behaviour) noisy, energetic, and cheerful; rowdy.
After 6 or 7 drinks Mary was feeling boisterous.
The boisterous crowd screamed at the band to play one more song.
Migration > the movement of people often to different country, in order to find work and a better life
The mass migration of people from one country to another can cause a lot of tension
Sea of (something) > a lot of something
The actor looked at a sea of expectant faces.
Dublin is a sea of green on St. Patrick´s Day.
Enthusiasm > intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval.
Shane was an enthusiastic student. He was in class 10 minutes before the bell each morning.
The crowd clapped enthusiastically when Messi walked on the pitch.
What is the national day of your country? How do you celebrate it?
Does your country have a large diaspora? What are the reasons for this?