The patron saint of Ireland,
Died in the fifth century;
On the seventeenth of March,
Is that anniversary.
That day is during Lent,
When the Irish celebrate
With dance and drink and feast,
Of cabbage and bacon they ate.
The first Patty's Day parade
Was held in New York City,
In seventeen sixty-two,
By Irish in the English military.
Over the next thirty-five years,
Immigration and 'Irish Aid' grew,
Where the Societies held parades,
As drums beat and the bagpipes blew.
Up until the Great Potato Famine,
In eighteen forty-five came to pass,
Most immigrants were Protestant,
And came from the middle class.
But then to escape starvation,
A million poor Catholics came here,
Despised by their counterparts,
Because of ignorance and fear.
Though, they soon began to organize,
Saw their great numbers gave them power,
And their voting block, the 'green machine',
Became the swing vote of the hour.
The parades became a show of strength,
Where candidates vied for their vote;
Many attended New York City's,
President Truman, one of note.
Now they celebrate around the world,
To be part of the Irish scene;
Last year one million went to Dublin
For the wearing of the green.
Once just a religious occasion
Of a barely known holiday;
But now, everyone is Irish,
At least, for this one day.