Cover image for The wearing of the green : a history of St. Patrick's Day
The wearing of the green : a history of St. Patrick's Day
Cronin, Mike.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London ; New York : Routledge, 2002.
Physical Description:
xxix, 328 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
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Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
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GT4995.P3 C76 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Holiday

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The full history of St. Patrick's day is captured here for the first time in The Wearing of the Green.

Illustrated with photos, the book spans the medieval origins, steeped in folklore and myth, through its turbulent and troubled times when it acted as fuel for fierce political argument, and tells the fascinating story of how the celebration of 17th March was transformed from a stuffy dinner for Ireland's elite to one of the world's most public festivals.

Looking at more general Irish traditions and Irish communities throughout the world, Mike Cronin and Daryl Adairnbsp;follow the history of this widely celebrated event,nbsp;examining how the day has been exploited both politically and commercially, and they explore the shared heritage of the Irish through the development of this unique patriotic holiday.

Highly informative for students of history, cultural studies and sociology, and an absolute delight for anyone interested in the fascinating and unique culture of Ireland.

Author Notes

Mike Cronin graduated with a Ph.D. in history from Oxford University in 1994. He is currentlynbsp;Accademic Directornbsp;for Centre of Irish Programmes at Boston College, Dublin.nbsp;Cronin has a particular interest in the study of twentieth-century Irish history, as well as the politics of sport in Irish history. He is author of The Blueshirts and Irish Politics (1997), Sport and Nationalism in Ireland (1999) and A History of Ireland (2001).
Daryl Adair graduated with a Ph.D. in history from the Flinders University of South Australia in 1995. He is currently Lecturer in Sports Humanities in the Centre for Sports Studies, University of Canberra, Australia. Adair has a background in Australian history, with a keen interest in public spectacles. He is author of Sport in Australian History (1997, with Wray Vamplew), and editor of Sport Tourism (2002, with Brent Ritchie).

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (Mar. 17) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

St. Patrick's Day (March 17) is celebrated in more countries around the world than any other national holiday. Cronin (history, De Montfort Univ.) and Adair (Univ. of Canberra) chronicle the changes (societal, political, denominational) that caused the shift in its celebration from a religious one to the present-day secular, commercial, and hedonistic event. In illuminating detail they trace its development in Ireland and the Irish diaspora (US, Canada, Britain, Australia), using it to examine Irish and diaspora history. They do not claim to be comprehensive or conclusive, but seek instead a "wide-ranging, general overview." About half the text deals with the period before 1914, the other half since. The diaspora treatment has an urban bias, and for the US and Canada, the focus is on East Coast locations. An overly lengthy treatment of Australia is apparent (especially in the 20th century, dictated, perhaps, by one coauthor's domicile there and the concomitant access to archives), compared to Canada, where the Irish population is larger and of greater longevity. (No Canadian archival institution is listed in the bibliography). The authors pioneer the study of St. Patrick's Day as a subject of serious academic inquiry and have rescued the topic from historiographical obscurity. All levels and collections. T. P. Power Trinity and Wycliffe Colleges, University of Toronto

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 Evolution of St Patrick's Day
3 Famine and Exodus
4 Visualising Ireland: Nationalism and Diaspora
5 Contesting Ireland: Republicanism and Militarism
6 Proclaiming Ireland: Independence and Empire
7 Modern Times, Troubled Times
8 Reinventing St Patrick's Day
9 Conclusion