Does Beer Dilute St. Patrick's Day?
What is an American holiday anyway? Is it July 4th with its watered down brats and German salad, which we've co-opted and renamed coleslaw (from the Dutch koolsla)? Is it Martin Luther King, Jr. Day when we spread quotes from a great man on Facebook?
I think a celebration where Scots and Catholic Irish and Protestant Irish and Vietnamese Texans share copious amounts of beer together is American indeed.
Rollin MacRae is the man to talk to about registering for language classes at the Gaelic League. He said, “My neighbors growing up in San Antonio were Mexican, German, and Czech. So what were we?” Gaeilge, apparently.
The Gaelic League of Austin, which helps host the St. Patrick's Day Austin event, was started by linguistic students at UT in 1993, and UT students hardly need a league to justify drinking beer. “They started the Gaelic League, because the Irish culture had been so pushed to the edge, it could become lost,” explained Rollin. “There isn't any culture we can't learn something from.”
I also asked Rollin about beer. While Guinness is one of the oldest breweries in the world, he explained, Irish historically made mead. Alcohol is always a part of a day off work, but beer is more recent, as in a tradition only a couple centuries old.
Here, Notte, the beer lover, may have a point. Theodore Johnson, an African American at HuffPost Black Voices who is 1/16 Irish every day of the year but only wears a green button on one, found, “As it turns out, porter was first brewed in Ireland in 1776, the same year the Declaration of Independence was signed. That's American enough for me.”