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Irish Icon Alternatives to Replace the Shamrock

As a proud second generation half-Irish American, I get very offended every year when St. Patrick’s Day comes around. It sickens me that everyone tries to take advantage of their diluted Irish heritage just to get kisses, that imbeciles think “Patty” and “Paddy” are interchangeable, and worst of all, that the Kelly green shamrock is trotted out in all the tackiest ways possible as the official mascot of all things Erin Go Bragh. I’m not anti-shamrock, but if I had been in on the meeting in which it was decided that a tiny little clover, that could easily be confused for marijuana if you squint your eyes, was going to represent me and my ginger ancestors, I would’ve voted nay. Irish people are about so much more than little plants! We’re hard workers! We have a rich culture! We could claim Niall Horan of One Direction as one of our own if we wanted to (which we don’t)!

It’s from my Irish pride and desire to preserve our culture that I propose we oust shamrocks and adopt a new icon to represent all of us Irish people out there. Here are a few suggestions:


Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 4.39.31 AM

A girl without freckles may be like a night without stars, but for most of us Irish folks, where there are freckles there will also soon be a searing third-degree sunburn, complete with unsightly peeling for which even whiskey couldn’t compensate (just kidding, whiskey always compensates). Irish people are known for their near-translucent, vampiresque skin, and I think it’s about time we celebrate the fact we’re the honored demographic that scoffs at all the shelves filled with pathetic bottles of Coppertone SPF 30. Let’s end SPF shame this St. Patrick’s Day!

…But if that doesn’t work out, I guess we could always just stay inside.


Because drinking a Shamrock Shake out of this won't require the forfeiture of any dignity.

Because drinking a Shamrock Shake out of this won’t require the forfeiture of any dignity.

Who the blarney is Uncle O’Grimacey? Why, he’s the former stereotypical Irish mascot of McDonald’s Shamrock Shake, of course! Because in the 80s, brazenly counting down to Sham(e)rock Shake season wasn’t degrading enough. Unlike his un-Irish purple counterpart, regular Grimace, Uncle O’Grimacey wears a green vest and hat, and even has good ol’ fashioned shillelagh (or cudgel). I think it’s time we bring good ol’ Uncle O’Grimacey back from the dead and give him the status (and collector’s cup!) he truly deserves.




When your ancestors endured a potato famine, eating meat soaked in hot water, cabbage, and the plainest bread ever baked doesn’t seem so bad. We Irish should celebrate the bland foods we’re willing to endure, because unlike those damn Italians, we don’t need any fancy flavor in our food!



If you’re Irish and you haven’t seen Boondock Saints, you may have to forfeit that Claddagh ring you’re wearing. Boondock Saints, perhaps more than any other film (including Leprechaun), truly encapsulates the breadth of Irish culture and heritage. Beyond the fact that Willem Dafoe is in it—wait, he was born in Wisconsin? Well, anyway, it has drinking, an epic bar fight, that token Irish levity (“Get your fuckin’ rope, then!” Classic Irish adage.), profanity, brotherly love, justice, and religion. I think the Blu-ray movie cover would look much better on a lanyard than a bunch of stupid (fuckin’) shamrocks.


Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 4.37.03 AM

Have you eaten Lucky Charms? Toasted oat pieces and marshmallow-flavored shapes do not belong together in a box, let alone submerged in milk. I find it offensive that such a sordid cereal is represented by the leprechaun, a mythical creature with deeper ties to the Irish community than John F. Kennedy. I recommend we give Lucky the Leprechaun a promotion to Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Golden Grahams mascot. (He might miss his red balloons at first, but once he sees the pension package, he’ll get on board.) I know there aren’t any rainbows in those cereals, but who needs rainbows when Irish eyes are smiling at a breakfast that doesn’t taste like a homeless man’s s’more?

By the way, for all you tattoo-loving Irish people out there, I hear Wrecking Balm is a successful tattoo removal system; I know 80% of you have a shamrock tattoo somewhere on your body (often in addition to a Celtic cross).



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About Katie (16 Articles)
Katie Hoffman is a writer living in the suburbs of Chicago. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @bykatiehoffman.

43 Comments on Irish Icon Alternatives to Replace the Shamrock

  1. NotAPunkRocker // March 14, 2014 at 7:13 am //

    Even though I am technically a redhead and NOT Irish, I can totally support the SPF 100 cause.

    Now, I wonder if I can get a Shamrock Shake this early in the morning…


    • Every year I do that thing where I think to myself, “I’ll only stay out for 20 minutes! I’ll be fine with SPF 30!” The ratio doesn’t work.


  2. Irish here as well… had to miss St. Patrck’s in Boston because of this damn shoulder.


  3. Being Danish, I can totally relate! (Ok, not really. I’m just jumping on board because no one celebrates our heritage, unless there’s a pastry involved.)


  4. Now I want to visit Dublin again.


  5. If I Had 100 Dollars // March 14, 2014 at 8:48 am //

    Ha, this is awesome! I studied in Ireland for 6 months and just got back last week from a vacation. Irish and proud – also corned beef is basically the best beef dish there is, duh 🙂


  6. As a fellow Irish-blooded American, my vote would be corned beef. Not a sandwich of it, but the corned beef itself, immediately served and in the middle of a plate. If frisky is what we’re going for, stick a miniature Irish flag in the top of it.


  7. I’m half German, half Italian, but I could still go for some corned beef.


  8. Corned beef and cabbage all the way!!! 😀


  9. Reblogged this on Capt Jills Journeys and commented:
    I’m definitely with her on the sunscreen! I’m only half Irish (other half Italian) but red-headed with freckles and I ALWAYS get sunburned. 😦


    • Thanks for the reblog! I feel your pain (literally) about the sunburns. I can’t go a summer without peeling. (Sorry if that was TMI.)


      • 🙂
        Yeah, I’m about to start peeling soon, I went out sailing Saturday. I thought I had covered up pretty good but forgot a hat (again), my whole face is red as a beet!


  10. SPF and O’Grimacey yay! But please, please not corned beef and cabbage. For the love of Conan…


    • I’d rather eat a giant pile of boiled potatoes. (And I don’t mean that as a comparably disgusting alternative–I love boiled potatoes.)


  11. Wow that food looks so good. I can’t imagine why I’ve been eating pizza all these years. Irish I had a good reason.


  12. I may have to go into hiding. I’m guilty of indulging in a lot of the of the above.


  13. You know, it scares me that I haven’t considered that all the McDonaldland characters were Irish. Of course, they are.


  14. I think we might need to beat O’Grimmacey with his shillelah. It seems a little too O’Ffensive (see what I did there?). But, if you want to eat some corned beef cabbage and watch a little Boondock Saints, then I’m all in!


  15. Hahahahaaaaaaa……………Too funny! Despite Irish-less roots, I definitely have to check out that movie. Also, in the land of my parents (Nova Scotia) Corned Beef and Cabbage dinners are also known as Boiled Supper, and they are delish!! Now, I’m going to make like a tree….


  16. Ha! Very good. Although there’s nothing wrong with the shamrock. It’s used because St Patrick used it to symbolise the Christian trinity, or something. The shamrock is used by Northern Ireland as well, and everyone else in the UK has a symbolic plant. England has the rose, Scotland has the thistle and Wales has the daffodil.


    • I didn’t know that about the symbolic plants. That’s interesting. Now I’m wondering what plant would represent the U.S…


  17. You’re one fine bonnie lass, Katie!


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