Even though St. Patrick’s Day in America is primarily a day for brewery companies to celebrate because of the immense amount of beer they sell during this time, Glendora High School teacher Kelley Hoolihan spends the holiday finding entertaining ways to celebrate and connect with her Irish heritage.
St. Patrick's Day is a religious and cultural celebration where people celebrate the life and death of St. Patrick, a former slave and patron saint that first brought and preached Christianity in Ireland.
Hoolihan has always been very interested in learning about her Irish culture and ancestry and enjoys making her culture very apparent to her students and the people around her.
Hoolihan states, “ I have already purchased my cheap green shirt from Walmart that says, 'I’m Irish,' on the front and will probably fall apart after two washes.”
Wearing green is just one of the very small aspects of Hoolihan's usual St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Most years she will celebrate by going to a local pub in LA or Orange county due to Glendora’s absents of a pubs.
Even though pubs are largely thought of as simply a place to purchase alcohol, they are much more. In Ireland, pubs are the “public house”, a place where everyone in the town including little kids will often visit to eat, drink, and share gossip. The Pubs Hoolihan tends to visit typically have live music during St. Patrick’s Day, along with many traditional Irish dishes such as corn beef and cabbage, shepherds pie, soda bread, and fish and chips.
Hoolihan states, “Sometimes I will go to an Irish variety show which is similar to a talent show. There are usually many dancing competitions and people doing traditional Irish step dances.”
Another way she has celebrated in the past was by going to the Irish fair held at the Pomona fairplex; however, this event dose not always correspond with St. Patrick’s Day. At the fair she has seen dogs herd sheep, played historical Irish and Scottish games, and met people who speak Gaelic, the traditional and dying language of Ireland.
Sadly it has been many years since Hoolihan has been able to visit Ireland but until she is able to go back, she will continue to express her love for Ireland every March 17th.