Why I love St. Patrick’s Day

Patrick J. O’Connor, 40th Ward aldermanI’m 56 years old, and I think I have been in the parade 52 or 53 times. It is a tradition in our family....
Chicago Ald. Patrick O'Connor
By Jennifer Swann

Patrick J. O’Connor, 40th Ward alderman
I’m 56 years old, and I think I have been in the parade 52 or 53 times. It is a tradition in our family. We would march in the Dyeing the River Green and St. Patrick’s Day Downtown Parade, initially with the Gaelic Athletic Association, then with a City of Chicago department, and now with people from the ward I represent. Perhaps my most memorable parade event was the time [we] were behind the police horses, and my 11-year-old foot found something one of the horses left behind. My 13-year-old brother laughed hysterically until I began to laugh as well, because, as it turned out, I was wearing his shoes.

Beth Murphy, owner of Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro
I really do think, in Chicago, part of it’s just that everybody’s had it with winter. St. Patrick’s Day has become a rite of spring. It’s not religious, it’s not Christian, it’s more, you know, everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. At Mrs. Murphy’s, my tradition is to polish lots of glasses. It can be a little raucous, people sometimes sing. We [serve] the world’s best corned beef, don’t forget that.

Kerry Ann Brennan, 2010 St. Patrick’s Day Parade Queen
The parade gives us the opportunity to recognize the many hard-working Irish that have contributed to the growth and development of Chicago. Both the parade and the weeks leading into the parade were filled with some of the most unbelievable memories, including meeting Mayor Daley. The girls in my court and I got to take pictures with Irish Elvis impersonators after the parade. I think they even had big green Elvis wigs on.

Go green at Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro, 3905 N Lincoln Ave (773-248-3905).