Counter Intelligence: St. Patrick’s Day Myths Busted

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NBC 5 News

St. Patrick's Day malarkey gets a good Irish debunking in our daily list of must-reads that will have you chatting at the lunch counter, over IM or wherever it is that people actually talk these days.

  • St. Patrick didn't compare the Trinity to a shamrock and he didn't rid snakes from Ireland -- hell, the patron saint of the holiday that inspired partying 'round the world today wasn't even Irish. The British-born Patrick spent 30 years converting the Irish from paganism, which some argue helped save Western learning through the Dark Ages.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Guinness is not made from water found in the River Liffey. That's right, the brew often referred to as "Liffey Water" isn't distilled from the turbid river that runs through the heart of Dublin. The water actually comes from a mountain stream.
  • Green was not the original color associated with the holiday. "St Patrick's blue" was the official holiday color and can still be found on ancient flags and on the current uniforms of the Irish special forces. Green became the go-to color after many took the phrase "the wearing of green" literally instead of wearing shamrocks.
  • Leave it to Americans to make St. Patrick's Day the booze-swilling exercise in public drunkenness that has come to be the stereotype today. The Irish considered it to be a small religious holiday until the 1970s and all pubs in there would be closed. The tradition began in the eighteenth century when Irish soldiers fighting with the Brits in the Revolutionary War would march down the streets of U.S. cities to reconnect with their roots.
  • The rumor is true. The Simpons created a St. Patrick's Day special and screened it in Ireland yesterday -- the first time an episode of the cartoon premiered outside the U.S.
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