The Bay Area Irish population skyrockets on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) weekend as fun-loving Irish and Hibernophiles (those fond of all things Irish) celebrate Ireland’s patron saint, revered as the architect of the Christian faith in Ireland.
The rest of the year, Santa Clara’s population of 127,647 is 4.2% of Irish ancestry according to the 2020 U.S. Census, and Sunnyvale’s population of 155,805 is 4.5% Irish.
Michael James Fallon, one of Santa Clara’s Irish, wrote a timeless guide for planning Irish gatherings—“The Definitive St. Patrick’s Day Festivity Book”—to “enhance the celebration of the Irish in us all.”
Fallon’s fun-to-read book compactly compiles the wit and wisdom of St. Patrick’s Day culture and lore—history, songs, recipes, jokes, blessings and toasts, poetry, skits and games—to inspire Irish-flavored activities.
It tells all: Limericks originated in Limerick, Ireland. The number of eyes on a potato determines your fortune. What butter and whiskey will not cure, there’s no cure for. St. Patrick was kidnapped from Scotland, enslaved in Ireland, and escaped after six years. Home again in Scotland, he became a Catholic priest and returned to Ireland as a missionary, dying there decades later on March 17, circa 465 A.D.
An Ohio native, Fallon and his sisters researched St. Patrick’s Day at their local library in 1976—before Internet searches—to plan a family party honoring their Irish heritage. Later, teaching in California, Fallon added activities for students, eventually compiling his treasure trove of resources as a book.
You can contact Fallon to buy his book at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not partying on St. Patrick’s Day weekend? Read Good Housekeeping’s online guide to The 45 Best Irish Movies of All-Time. Helpfully, this list includes a link to the official trailer for each movie.
Two 2022 Irish movies were nominated for Oscars this year: “The Banshees of Inisherin” in English and “An Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Girl),” makes history as the first Irish-language feature film ever nominated.
The Irish-made, live-action short film “An Irish Goodbye” won an Oscar. And in the movie business, being awarded a solid bronze, 24-karat-gold-plated statuette is as good as finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow—a legend originating in Ireland.
Prefer a night out? Enjoy a plate of corned beef and cabbage and a pint of Guinness at an Irish (and even an English) pub—or two if you have a designated driver. You’ll find music and Irish step dancing performances by Irish dance schools.
Michael Fallon’s favorite Irish pub is O’Flaherty’s in San Pedro Square, San Jose. Sunnyvale’s Murphy Avenue boasts two Irish pubs: Fibbar MaGees and Murphy’s Law. Santana Row (San Jose) has an Irish pub in Rosie McCann’s. In Cupertino Village at 10801 N. Wolfe Rd., The Duke of Edinburgh has dance performances starting at 7 p.m. Friday.
Just as Christ is sometimes overlooked amidst Christmas festivities, so, too, St. Patrick the man and saint by popular acclaim (he was never canonized by the Catholic church) is sometimes overlooked amidst St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
So, toast if you do, to St. Patrick as well as to your seasonally-Irish friends this weekend.
“May we all be alive and well and together this time next year!”
“Erin go Bragh! Ireland forever!”