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 Est. 1998

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Quotations for Saint Patrick's Day

The anniversary of St. Patrick's day: and may the Shamrock be green for ever. ~Irish Toasts by Shane Na Gael, 1908

Oh, it's little that we hold
Of dominion or of gold
In the blessid isle that saw us first a nation,
But we made all lands our own
As we spread from zone to zone;
So, come all o' ye! an' share our jubilation.
Oh, the music in the air!
An' the joy that's ivrywhere—
Shure, the whole blue vault o' heaven is wan grand triumphal arch,
An' the earth below is gay,
Wid its tender green th'-day,
Fur the whole world is Irish on the Seventeenth o' March!
~T. A. Daly, "The Day We Celebrate," Carmina, 1906

Do you suppose it's true, that St. Patrick was a parselmouth, and his muggle friends never knew? ~David J. Beard (1947–2016), @Raqhun, tweet, 2012

Wandered from the Antrim hills,
Wandered from Killala's rills,
Patrick heard upon the breeze
Voices from the Irish seas...
"Hasten with the flower of truth,
Walk among us, holy youth!"
~Edwin Markham, "Saint Patrick," The Shoes of Happiness and Other Poems, 1913

Oh! St. Patrick was a gentleman
Who came of decent people;
He built a church in Dublin town,
And on it put a steeple.
~Henry Bennett & Mr. Tolleken of Cork, c.1814

St. Patrick was a gentleman
Who, through strategy and stealth,
Drove all the snakes from Ireland;
Here's a bumper to his health.
But not too many bumpers,
Lest we lose ourselves, and then—
Forget the good St. Patrick
And see the snakes again.
~Author unknown, c.1900

What colour will they wear?...
What colour should be seen
Where our Fathers' homes have been,
But their own immortal Green?...
~"The Poor Old Woman," c.1797

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 St. Patrick behold you.
~Irish blessing

You know, America celebrating for Washington — a man who was so truthful — seems kinder sacrilegious. A lot of lying Americans get together and celebrate. Americans celebrating a truthful man's birthday always reminds me of a snake charmer celebrating St. Patrick's Day. ~Will Rogers

Success to bold St. Patrick's fist,
He was a saint so clever,
He gave the snakes and toads a twist,
And banished them for ever!
~Irish Toasts by Shane Na Gael, 1908  [Slightly modified version from a mid-1800s Irish song. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

O Paddy dear, and did you hear the news that's going round?
The shamrock is forbid by law to grow on Irish ground;
St. Patrick's day no more we'll keep, his colours can't be seen,
For there's a bloody law agin the wearing of the green...
Then if the colour we must wear be England's cruel red,
Let it remind us of the blood that Ireland has shed.
You may take the shamrock from your hat and cast it on the sod,
But 'twill take root and flourish there, though under foot 'tis trod.
When law can stop the blades of grass from growing as they grow,
And when the leaves in summer-time their verdure dare not show,
Then I will change the colour that I wear in my caubeen,
But 'till that day, please God, I'll stick to wearing of the green.
~"The Wearing of the Green," an Irish ballad from Arrah-na-Pogue

      A great, lonely and beautiful figure in history is St. Patrick... Wonderful men have been produced by the Celtic race. Great geniuses have come out of Ireland... actors, artists, painters, writers, preachers, fighters all over the globe. But none, perhaps, was as great, and certainly none was greater than St. Patrick, a man who had the courage of his race, the deep, religious feeling of his race, the honesty and the devotion.
      Every Irishman honors the man whose birthday comes on the seventeenth of March. And every man honors himself in honoring St. Patrick... He was a terror to any snake that came in his path, whether it was the cold, slimy reptile sliding along the ground or the more dangerous snake that oppresses men through false teachings. And he drove the snakes out of the minds of men, snakes of superstition and brutality and cruelty...
      St. Patrick was a teacher, and a truly brave man, telling the truth regardless of the consequences. He will live through long centuries, in the memory of men. He represents the Irish race in the minds of men, and a great man is the most precious possession of any people. The Irish who have fought steadily through hundreds of years and who are fighting now, have been inspired from the first by the memory and example of the man whom they look upon as their greatest leader and their patron saint. ~Arthur Brisbane, "St. Patrick," c.1915  [a little altered —tg]

All ye who love the Springtime — and who but loves it well
When the little birds do sing, and the buds begin to swell!—
Think not ye ken its beauty or know its face so dear,
Till ye look upon old Ireland, in the dawning o' the year!...
When the dancing wind slips down through the leaves of the boreen,
And all the world rejoices in the wearing o' the green.
For 't is green, green, green, where the ruined towers are gray,
And it's green, green, green, all the happy night and day;
Green of leaf and green of sod, green of ivy on the wall,
And the blessed Irish shamrock with the fairest green of all...
~Mary Elizabeth Blake, "The Dawning o' the Year," Verses Along the Way, 1890  [a little altered —tg]

Over the Isle his spirit went
Like fire across the firmament...
With the frost he kindled fire;
Drove the snakes from brake and briar,
Hurling out the writhing brood
With the lightning of his rood...
~Edwin Markham, "Saint Patrick," The Shoes of Happiness and Other Poems, 1913

Fable, legend, all are true:
More than these did Patrick do!
For he cleared the serpent den,
Hiding in the hearts of men;
Letting Love's bright fountain spring
Into sweetest murmuring.
Yes, the wise, heroic breed
Bring us miracle indeed.
On the dark he left God's smile,
Lighting up Ierne's Isle;
And forever lives his name
As the rose upon her fame.
~Edwin Markham, "Saint Patrick," The Shoes of Happiness and Other Poems, 1913

Away with tears and sordid fears, no trouble will we borrow, but shed our woes like winter clothes — it's Patrick's day tomorrow. With clubs and rakes we'll chase the snakes, and send the toads a-flying, and we'll be seen with ribbons green, all other hues decrying. In grass-green duds we'll plant the spuds, where they can do no growing; with flat and sharp we'll play the harp, and keep the music going. Then let us yell, for all is well, the world's devoid of sorrow; the toads are snared, the snakes are scared, it's Patrick's day tomorrow. ~Walt Mason (1862–1939), "St. Patrick's Day"

You've heard, I suppose, long ago,
How the snakes in a manner most antic,
He march'd to the county Mayo,
And trundled them into th' Atlantic.
Hence not to use water for drink
The people of Ireland determine;
With mighty good reason, I think,
Since St. Patrick has fill'd it with vermin,
And vipers, and other such stuff.
~Morty Macnamara Mulligan, "Saint Patrick," 1820

No wonder that we Irish lads should be so free and frisky,
Since St. Patrick taught us first the knack of drinking of good whiskey;
'Twas he that brew'd the best of malt, and understood distilling,
For his mother she kept a shebeen shop in the town of Inniskillen!
~Irish Toasts by Shane Na Gael, 1908  [Modified from an Irish song, circa early 1800s. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Anyone acquainted with Ireland knows that the morning of St. Patrick's Day consists of the night of the seventeenth of March flavored strongly with the morning of the eighteenth. ~Author unknown

It's a great day for the Shamrock, for the flags in full array
And as we go a-swinging, ev'ry Irish heart is singing:
It's a great, great day...
~Roger Edens, "It's a Great Day for the Irish," Little Nellie Kelly, 1940

For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way —
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.
~Irish blessing

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
~Irish blessing

If you're enough lucky to be Irish, you're lucky enough! ~Saying

St. Patrick's Day Special:  Fill a round disher with vanilla ice cream and one with pistachio ice cream. Remove and cut each in half, placing a half of each flavor together on a sundae dish. Pour over this a ladleful of mint syrup and top with marshmallow and a cream de menthe cherry and arrange pecan halves around the base of the cream. ~Jacques Fontaine, "Chocolate — an Acknowledged Leading Flavor at All Soda Fountains," in Confectioners Journal, 1923

Ireland was contented when
All could use the sword and pen,
And when Tara rose so high
That her turrets split the sky,
And about her courts were seen
Liveried angels robed in green,
Wearing, by St. Patrick's bounty,
Emeralds big as half the county.
~W. S. Landor, "Ireland Never Was Contented"

Ireland, little Ireland!
The soft sky is there,
And friendly brooks make talk to you,
And grass is everywhere.
Oh, while a man may dream awake
On gentle Irish ground,
'Tis Paradise without the snake—
That's easy to be found.
Rail at her or sigh for her,
Call her right or wrong,
The most are proud to die for her,
Before they've known her long.
~Frederick Langbridge

O, the red rose may be fair,
And the lily statelier;
But my shamrock, one in three,
Takes the very heart of me!...
~Katharine Tynan, "Shamrock Song"

Gazeth through a night of June
To her sister-saint, the moon;
With the stars communeth long
Of the angels and their song.
But when Summer died last year
Rose and lily died with her;
Shamrock stayeth every day,
Be the winds or gold or grey.
~Katharine Tynan, "Shamrock Song"

O, the red rose shineth rare,
And the lily saintly fair;
But my shamrock, one in three,
Takes the inmost heart of me!
~Katharine Tynan, "Shamrock Song"

I wear a shamrock in my heart.
Three in one, one in three—
Truth and love and faith,
Tears and pain and death:
O sweet my shamrock is to me!...
~Rosa Mulholland, "Shamrocks"

There's a dear little plant that grows in our isle,
'Twas St. Patrick himself sure that set it;
And the sun on his labour with pleasure did smile,
And with dew from his eye often wet it.
It thrives through the bog, through the brake, and the mireland;
And he called it the dear little shamrock of Ireland—
The sweet little shamrock, the dear little shamrock,
The sweet little, green little, shamrock of Ireland!
~Andrew Cherry, "The Green Little Shamrock of Ireland"

When after the Winter alarmin',
The Spring steps in so charmin',
So fresh and arch
In the middle of March,
Wid her hand St. Patrick's arm on,
Let us all, let us all be goin',
Agra, to assist at your sowin',
The girls to spread
Your iligant bed,
And the boys to set the hoe in...
~Alfred Perceval Graves, "The Potato Blossom: The Song of the Pratee," 1872

May luck be our companion
May friends stand by our side
May history remind us all
Of Ireland's faith and pride.
May God bless us with happiness
May love and faith abide.
~Irish blessing

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light,
May good luck pursue you each morning and night.
~Irish blessing

The list of Irish saints is past counting; but in it all no other figure is so human, friendly, and lovable as St. Patrick — who was an Irishman only by adoption, but whom all Irishmen, Protestant or Catholic, claim as their own; indeed good Protestants are very anxious to prove that he had nothing at all to do with Rome. Anyhow, all keep Patrick's Day... ~Stephen Gwynn, Ireland, 1928

Along the way, the St. Patrick's Day parade, once a defiant show of strength against Protestant power, gradually declined into a pointless annual march of aging suburbanites and drunken collegians staggering along in funny hats. The good news is that efforts are under way to reconnect the Irish and their parades with their roots in famine, poverty, and despised immigrant status. Commemorations of the famine, both here and in Ireland, have become fundraisers to combat famine in Africa and Asia. ~John Leo, "Of famine and green beer," U.S. News & World Report, 1997

An Irishman is never drunk as long as he can hold on to one blade of grass and not fall off the face of the earth. ~Irish saying, as quoted in House & Garden, 1970

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published 2003 Mar 21
revised 2018, 2021
last saved 2022 Jun 10