Luck of the Irish Passing Through

Well, rain was predicted all day this past Saturday, and with the luck of the Irish on the side of Atlanta it held off! We are all glad it did because what would Atlanta be without the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade? Atlanta’s strong Irish community and The Hibernian Benevolent Society puts on a marvelous show. As it is one of the oldest St Patrick’s Day Parades in the country we expect no less. This year was no different. The 127th annual parade started at the corner of Peachtree St and Ralph McGill, and the 1.1 mile long parade headed south through Underground Atlanta stopping at MLK Blvd.

The Hibernian Benevolent Society was started in 1858 by Father Thomas O’Reilly along with a few business men to help their fellow countrymen find work in the city. During the mid 19th century there was a surge of Irish moving to Atlanta to escape the slums and discrimination of New York and Boston. Atlanta was a frontier at the time, expanding the railways. With the help of The Hibernian Benevolent, Irish men found work and settled easily. Atlanta has a strong proud Irish heritage. One can easily see, with a tour of Oakland Cemetery, just how deep the Irish roots run in Atlanta.

St Patrick’s Day celebrations have been a part of this country for years and started as political protest against discrimination of the Irish. In Ireland the celebrations didn’t become national until 1996; however since then growing to over 1 million attendees last year with in the now 5 daylong celebration. St Patrick’s Day has been celebrated since the early 1600’s in Ireland as the one break between lent. Hence the reason for the drinking associated with it. St Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland was actually born in Brittan. He was then kidnapped by an Irish man and forced into slavery. It’s been said that god told him to escape, and return to Brittan to be ordained and then return to Ireland to do god’s work. He spent over 30 years in Ireland helping to free the Irish. The clover is what he used to explain the Holy Trinity and why it is imbedded into St Patrick’s Day celebrations. Since Irish soldiers on March 17th 1798 started wearing all green to represent the clover, green has been considered lucky on St Patrick’s Day. Before this St Patrick’s Day’s official color was blue.

We here at the Inn at the Peachtrees encourage you, Irish by birth or Irish for one day a year, to enjoy the festivities of St Patrick’s Day this year, as we will be.