What It Means To Be Irish In The ‘burgh

Erin Go Braugh

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

When I was younger, being Irish in the ‘burgh meant watching my aunts and uncles gather at my grandparents’ home to drink Guinness and chablis. Yes, I said chablis (and by the gallon) and ate my grandma Mimi’s authentic homemade Irish soda bread. Nobody made it better! She always made it in a cast-iron skillet and stuffed it with plump black juicy raisins then melted mounds of gooey and crisp sugar on top! How did she do that with the sugar? Oh my gosh, how good that was to eat while stealing sips of Irish beer. Since my Grandparents are from Ireland, I always figured that’s how they did it back home. If so, the Irish really have a secret that needs to be shared. My wife Karen tries to make it but it’s just not quite the same. But don’t tell her that!! She recently purchased a cast iron skillet as the last secret ingredient in the recipe.

As I grew older, that is to a more respectable drinking age, my Uncle Mike always asked me, “Hey Kevin, come and march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade with me” like it was some kind of right of passage to my Irishdom, is that even a thing? Or was it just an early version of the DD? Hmmm… I always thought it was clever to march down Pittsburgh streets while having a beer, get into bars for free, and make new drinking buddies. After all, the Irish never lack a friend with whom to hoist a pint of Smithwicks…hmmm, maybe my Uncle Mike is the cool uncle?

Now as I get older and continue to celebrate St. Patrick’s day, I’ve come to understand that it’s about family, friends, and comradery. It’s not really just about drinking St. Patrick’s green beer, Irish beers like Guinness and Harp, and Irish coffee in my wife’s case. It’s about celebrating family, heritage, and friends. The things that bind you and yours together in life. A unifying commonality in our lives.

So on this special day, call your cool uncle, aunt, cousin, brother, or long-lost friend and invite them out for a pint, to just shoot the breeze and catch up. I bet it’s been far too long since you’ve done that! You can never spend too much time together laughing, arguing, and eating Grandma Mimi’s Irish soda bread. Hell, have two pints. They are small after all!

So, on St. Patrick’s Day 2022, be like the Irish and hoist a pint of your favorite Irish beer. We will be hoisting a pint to you and yours. Here’s an Irish toast for you: 

May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you! May the Irish hills caress you. May her lakes and rivers bless you. May the luck of the Irish enfold you. May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.

By: Kevin