St. Patrick's Day 2010: It was about church, not Guinness
Guinness sells 10 million glasses of beer daily (but no green beer) and far more on St. Patrick's Day. That's a new phenomenon. Not long ago, all pubs in Ireland closed on St Patrick's Day.
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According to a government briefing, the festival was created to "offer a national festival that ranks amongst all of the greatest celebration in the world" and also to "project, internationally, an accurate image of Ireland as a creative, professional and sophisticated country with wide appeal, as we approach the new Millennium."Skip to next paragraph
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Does St. Patrick's Day boost Ireland's image as a professional and sophisticated country?
Regardless, today Ireland is nearly synonymous with St. Patrick's Day and shamrocks and corned beef. And many Celts are cashing in.
Guinness's St. James's Gate Brewery has certainly benefited from the repackaging of the saint's day. It has become the country's largest tourist attraction, generating more than 1 million visitors in 2009 (just ahead of the Dublin Zoo). Hundreds will pay about $30 apiece to attend a party today at the Guinness Hop Store in Dublin with live music and free drinks for anyone named Patrick, Patricia, or Pat.
"Ireland has an amazing St. Patrick’s Day festivity. Fantastic parades," says McGovern, explaining that the parades and festivities have grown every year. And he says, "For a lot of people, that involves drinking a pint of Guinness."
McCaffrey and others who remember further back, however, will remind us to the contrary.
"The public houses and bars just did not open in Ireland on St. Patrick's Day. It seems that nobody in the United States ever really believed this. And to be honest, why should anyone have believed it? They saw the Irish in America, disrupting traffic in major cities across the country, painting green lines down the middle of main boulevards, drinking their skulls off."
And now, it's the same in Dublin.