A Brief History of St. Patrick’s Day

Let’s face it, we all love St. Patrick’s Day here at The Masons! Who doesn’t love an excuse for a few pints and pretending to be Irish for the day? This year though we thought we’d give a little bit of history about the traditions that surround St. Patrick’s Day and why the 17th of March has embedded itself into Folklore around the world.

Masons Arms St. Patricks Day
St. Patricks Day

St. Patrick’s Day – No Guinness?

Hang on a minute…! No Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day? That’s right. It actually used to be a dry holiday. Between 1903 and 1970, St. Patrick’s Day was officially a religious holiday in Ireland, and pubs were all closed. From 1970 onwards though, the day reverted to a national holiday, meaning pubs could open and the taps could run freely. Don’t worry though, we’ll be open here in Gargrave and of course we have Guinness on draught ready and waiting for you. Nowadays, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest drinking days in the world, with an estimated 13 million pints of the black stuff consumed worldwide, and we reckon our customers account for roughly 50% of that! (only joking!!).

Masons Arms Guinness Pump
Masons Arms Guinness Pump

St. Patrick’s Day – ‘Drowning the shamrock’

Sticking with the beer theme for just a minute. There’s an old tradition in Ireland that on the last drink of the day you have to ‘drown the shamrock’. The shamrock itself actually originates from St. Patrick himself, who used the three-leaf clover to explain the Holy Trinity, with each leaf representing the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In order to drown the shamrock, you have to drop the clover into the last drink of the night. We’ll be keeping our eyes on everyone in The Masons Arms, Gargrave to see that you’re all sticking with tradition!

St. Patrick’s Day – America not Ireland

Contrary to popular belief, the commercialisation of the St. Patricks Day parade actually stems from the US rather than Ireland, beginning in 1792. Irish expat soldiers initiated the parade in New York by marching through the streets while serving in the British Army. New York is now home to one of the largest St. Patricks Day parades in the world, pulling in crowds of more than 150,000 people. On the opposite end of the scale, what has to be one of the shortest pub crawls ever takes place in the Irish village of Dripsey in County Cork. It’s a procession of roughly 25 yards, from one pub to the next! That even makes the village of Gargrave look fairly substantial. We don’t encourage you to do a pub crawl at all though, just stick with us at The Masons Arms!

It wasn’t always Green you know…

St. Patricks Day is often a sea of green, and of course with good reason, with Green being the national colour of Ireland. But you might be surprised to learn that the knights of St Patrick actually wore blue, and other sources say that leprechauns actually sported red jackets. Who would have thought it, we’ve been getting it wrong all these years!

And there we have it, a brief and fun history of St. Patricks Day. We hope to see you all in The Masons Arms, Gargrave on the 17th March for some proper Irish celebrations, cheers!

Thanks for reading,

The Masons Arms Team