St. Patrick's Day celebrated in St. Clair County

Amelia Flood Mar. 17, 2011, 8:40am

Green spilled out of the St. Clair County Courthouse Thursday morning as those honoring their Irish heritage gathered to celebrate.

Thursday marked the annual St. Patrick's Day celebrations at the courthouse with a bagpiper playing tunes like "The Minstral Boy," and "Danny Boy," a blessing by Rev. Clyde Grogan, and raising of the flag of the Republic of Ireland.

On hand for the annual celebrations were St. Clair County Chairman Mark Kern, State's Attorney Brendan Kelly, St. Clair County Chief Judge John Baricevic, judges Lloyd Cueto, Robert Haida, Andrew Gleeson, Michael Cook, and other St. Clair County officials.

"Top of the Morning to You!" Kern proclaimed.

Those on hand were joined by Brother Andy Lawlor, a native of County Offaly in Ireland. Lawlor greeted those celebrating in Irish Gaelic - Ireland's native language - and blessed them as a stand-in for the day's saint.

Irish is the second most-claimed ancestry in the United States, according to the United States Census Bureau.

In 2009, 36.9 million people in the U.S. claimed Irish heritage.

St. Patrick was a Roman missionary to Ireland who is credited with coverting the country to Christianity and for driving snakes out of the nation.

His feast day has been honored in the U.S. since 1762, according to the Census Bureau. Congress proclaimed this month Irish-American Heritage Month in 1995.

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