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The Wearing of the Green: A History of St Patrick's Day Hardcover – December 28, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0415180047 ISBN-10: 041518004X
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The authors, both historians (Cronin wrote A History of Ireland), trace the annual March 17 festivities back to the fifth century when St. Patrick converted the pagan Irish to Christianity in this dry, lifeless account of the origins and development of the holiday in Ireland, America, Australia, Canada and Britain. Originally a day of commemoration for the saint (believed to have died on the 17th), St. Patrick's Day began in America with, surprisingly,Protestants. The 18th-century American celebrants included Irish officers in the British army, and their festivities revolved around feasting and dancing. It wasn't until the 19th century, with its vast influx of Irish Catholics fleeing the great famine, that parades became popular. Among the Irish diaspora, St. Patrick's Day parades became a means for the Irish to announce their growing influence in the host countries. Later, the parades became both politicized and commercialized. While the well-known parades in New York, Boston and Melbourne display Irish pride, they also have their darker sides: "The modern St Patrick's Day," the authors contend, "appears as an annual homage to hedonistic celebration and alcohol" and has tended to be an occasion for trotting out unpleasant stereotypes of the Irish as loud, drunken and pugnacious. The parade in Dublin, however, has long been used to promote tourism and Irish industries (especially Guinness). Though the authors insist that St. Patrick's Day is an important lens for viewing Irish history, their claim simply doesn't hold up, nor will those interested in the subject find anything particularly new or interesting here.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

...an inventive, delightful, and percipient book which uses the national feast day as a means to examine the texture and drama of the history of the Irish wherever they might find themselves..
–Thomas Keneally author of The Great Shame and Schindler's List

Glorious Saint Patrick! This most interesting work of scholarship chronicles the history of his feast day, March 17 from its medieval origins, shrouded in folklore, to green ribbons arranged as simple crosses on men's lapels or shamrogue worn as large clumps on the hatbands of both sexes.... A great detail packed book..
Ireland of the Welcomes

Mike Cronin and Daryl Adair's History of Saint Patrick's Day is not just the most complete history we are ever likely to have of that event, but gives a careful and thought-provoking look at so much more besides. Using the celebration as a window through which to gaze upon the complex, the surreal, the moving and the always fascinating story of the Irish diaspora, they have produced a work of popular history that is readable, entertaining, challenging, provocative, well-written and thoroughly researched..
–Joseph O'Connor, author of Yeats is Dead
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (December 28, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 041518004X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415180047
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,750,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "craicqueen" on August 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Seems surprising that an Englishman and an Australian have written the first history of Ireland's national day! No offence guys - I really like your book. Cronin and Adair are academics, so this is a serious and wide-ranging study. It looks at the rise of the legend of St Patrick, commemoration of the 17th of March in Ireland, and its export with Irish migrants to England, USA, Canada, and Australia. The book raises important questions about the politics of celebrating "Irishness", particularly at key moments of tension in Irish history, such as the 1916 rebellion and the 1970s Troubles. But it is also a tale of mirth and joy, for St Patrick's Day has always been an occasion for merriment and good cheer. Some of the stories will leave you laughing and scratching your head. For example, an Arab troupe once marched in a Montreal parade and won first prize for best entrant. Today the St Pat's festival in Dublin is a HUGE event, which, as Cronin and Adair explain, emerged directly out of Dublin Tourism. St Patrick is still there somewhere, midst the craic and booze. This is a big book, but it has sections about St Pat's Day in different parts of the world at different times. So you can either read the whole thing or pick and choose the bits you fancy. As for me, this book has helped me to understand why St Pat's Day is such a big deal. And it has helped me to appreciate the history of the Irish wherever they have migrated.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By tom o'kelly on February 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I was sent this as a gift ready for St Patrick's Day, and to be honest wasn't sure that there was much to know about 17th March. But wait, this book rocks. It's great, full of anicdotes, reads really well, and kept me full of stories for my Irish friends for days. If you do nothing else this St Patrick's Day, grab a Guinness, put your feet up and read this book. Once you've read this you'll realise that, sure, it's a darlin day to be Irish!
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