March 15, 2010 (CHICAGO) --
In Chicago, everyone likes to pretend he is a little bit Irish on St. Patrick's Day.
So in honor of one of Chicago's favorite holidays, Paddy's on the Square has some festive ideas to make it memorable whether you are Irish or not. Paddy's is the largest supplier in the Midwest of everything Irish. With three locations, they have everything from signed hand knit sweaters, shamrock baseball caps, shillelaghs, Donegal tweed caps, fresh handmade soda bread from the Galway bakers, black pudding and blood sausage and the famous FLAKES candy bars that you thought you could only get in Ireland.
Celebrating this unique Irish-American holiday starts with understanding the origin of St. Patrick's Day. It is observed on March 17 because that is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick was born in 385 AD somewhere along the west coast of Britain, possibly in the Welsh town of Banwen. At age 16, he was captured and sold into slavery to a sheep farmer. He escaped when he was 22 and spent the next 12 years in a monastery. In his 30s he returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary. It is believed that St. Patrick died on March 17 in the year 461 AD. In the past, Saint Patrick's Day was celebrated as a religious holiday. It became a public holiday in Ireland in 1903 and it has become a worldwide celebration of Irish culture and history.
Paddy's on the Square says you can show your Irish pride or celebrate with your Irish-American neighbors with any of these gifts:
St. Paddy's Day Wear: Irish hand knit signed sweaters $150-$250 Reversible beautiful shamrock pashmina (scarf) 19.95 (Maria will wear) Sampling of Donegal Tweed caps (really popular now/fashion trend) $35-$80 Shamrock baseball cap $19.95 Kelly green satin cap with rhinestone IRISH $24.96 Fun Shamrock sun glasses $10
Add something authentic to your St. Paddy's Day breakfast: Fresh baked Soda Bread from the Galway bakers, (Brown Bread too) $4.50 Rashers, thick cut lean bacon $4.95 You can't go wrong with Luck o' the Irish, GREEN hot chocolate, packaged in a cute gold pot. $9.95
Have your home smell like an authentic Irish cottage Irish turf. Packaged in a darling cottage shaped box, lift up the thatched roof and this turf, when you light, it will send the sweet recognizable/comfortable odor throughout your home. For many that smell reminds them of growing up in Ireland. $14.95
Fun for children of all ages is the famous FLAKES and Crunchie Irish candy bars. Acclaimed the world over as the "crumbliest, flakiest milk chocolate!" One of Ireland's top two candy bars, Flakes are rich, creamy chocolate. Hard to find in the States, but loved by all, these delicious candy bars are fun to crunch up and put on ice cream. Under $1.
Shillelagh ($35) In Irish history when Irish workers were attacked by Highwaymen on the long road home, the Shillelagh was used as a defense against cutthroats and thieves. Made of Irish Blackthorn it was named after the Shillelagh forest in County Wicklow. The wood would be smeared with butter and placed up a chimney to cure, giving the Shillelagh its typical black shiny appearance.
Bunbury Boards ($38-$90) Paddy's is the only store in Illinois to carry these fabulous chopping boards, every board tells a story. Each handmade shopping board can be traced on-line back to the original tree it came from on the artist's family farm in Ireland.
Inis is the best selling Irish-made perfume. It's a very popular Unisex fragrance in Ireland starts at $39
Claddagh rings in silver and gold A short history of the Claddagh ring. Long ago a young man was captured and sold into slavery from the fishing village of Claddagh. Many years passed and he wondered if his true love would wait for him. Over the years he stole tiny bits of gold from his master to make her a ring. He fashioned a heart for love, a crown for loyalty and hands as a symbol of friendship. After many years he finally returned home to Claddagh. Upon his return and to his joy he discovered his true love had waited for him. He gave her the ring as a symbol of their love, loyalty and friendship forever known now as the Claddagh. The Claddagh's distinctive design features two hands clasping a heart, and usually surmounted by a crown. The elements of this symbol are often said to correspond to the qualities of love (the heart), friendship (the hands), and loyalty (the crown). The way that a Claddagh ring is worn on the hand is usually intended to convey the wearer's romantic availability. Traditionally, if the Claddagh ring is on the right hand with the heart facing outward and away from the body, this indicates that the person wearing the ring is not in any serious relationship, and may in fact be single and looking for a relationship: "their heart is open." When worn on the right hand but with the heart facing inward toward the body, this indicates the person wearing the ring is in a relationship, or that someone has captured their heart. Price may vary according to Claddagh ring size and precious metal. The Claddagh rings are authenticated and hallmarked by the Irish Assay Office.
Best selling Irish authors (from cookbooks and poetry to fiction and non-fiction) Autographed copy of bestseller Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly (26.99) and An Irish Country Girl ($24.99) by Patrick Taylor who will be in-store for an event on May 15 3:00 to 5:00 to personally sign the books.
Irish CD's Celtic Women new CD Songs from the Heart and Celtic Thunder, It's Entertainment.
Irish Bundles Darling fleece plaid caplets for children $39 Onsies with shamrocks and saying "Party My crib 3:00 am (BYOB) $15
For more information, on products from Ireland, go to: longgroveonline.com or visit one of the following stores:
Paddy's on the Square
228 Robert P. Coffin Rd.
Long Grove, IL 60047
434 Robert Parker Coffin Rd.
Long Grove, IL 60047
Paddy's On the Square
428 Old Mc Henry Road
Lake Zurich, IL 60047-
Phone: (847) 634-0210