While many people associate St. Patty’s with heavy drinking and pub crawls, in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a historically solemn and sober holy day for Roman Catholics. Believe it. Until the 1970s, pubs were actually legally required to close up shop for the day.

In those days, families would go to church and perhaps share a meal with friends.

And today? According to Discover Ireland, Dublin will play host to 4,000 performers, along with celebrations in Wexford, Galway, Limerick and elsewhere.

In the 90s, the holiday was turned into a cultural event by the government, who called for a Saint Patrick’s Festival, now a week-long celebration of Irish Culture, located annually in Dublin. The drunken revelry commonly associated with St. Patrick’s Day in the US can certainly be found during the festivities, but it’s a relatively new part of the holiday brought by the government as an effort to boost tourism. And now the Guinness flows as freely in Dublin as it does in Chicago.

[Photo by Flickr user William Murphy]

- Contributed by Cole Stryker

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