Lá fhéile Pádraig sona duit

Guinness Chips (crisps)

As St. Patrick's Day approaches this weekend, you will not see pithy Irish proverbs or spangly green plastic leprechaun hats in the windows of the Mercantile. Are we not getting in the spirit of things? May I remind you that the proprietor of our store is one Shannon Doyle. We have nothing to prove. The Mercantile is a shamrock-free zone!

The feast celebrating the patron saint of Ireland goes back - officially speaking - to the early 17th century. And as Irish emigrants moved around the world, the holiday took on all kinds of local variations. Most people in Ireland would look at you funny for suggesting the "traditional" St. Paddy's fare of corned beef and cabbage because that is an Irish-AMERICAN invention. And green beer? Talk about amateur hour!

If you wanted to treat the day not as the stereotype-reinforcing frat-party it's become but rather with some nod to genuine Irish culture and tradition, we'd recommend a brief reading of Beckett, a dinner of lamb stew and colcannon and a shot or two of Writer's Tears Irish Whisky as you watch the 48th staging of the All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship on a very obscure satellite sports channel. The only problem is, we have none of the ingredients for any of those things in our store. What we do have are Guinness and Guinness Toasted Cheddar flavoured potato chips from Burts Crisps - one bag for each half of the hurling match should see you through!

May the road rise... never mind.

Oh, and if you're reading this on Friday, Happy St. Urho's Day! Now there is a holiday with one incredible story behind it!

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