Discover Irish History, Wildlife & Culture on Saint Patrick’s Day

On March 17th we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day!

In honor of Ireland’s patron saint who helped spread Christianity to the Irish people, Saint Patrick’s Day was observed as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years on the date of his death. Since 1903, it has been an official national holiday of Ireland and grown in popularity across the globe as Irish immigrants introduced Saint Patrick’s day to other countries. Now a global celebration of Irish culture and heritage, Americans from all backgrounds join in each year, from dyeing the city’s river green in Chicago to New York City’s annual parade, enjoying traditional Irish foods, music and dancing, and by wearing the color green!

Learn more about Saint Patrick’s Day and Irish history and culture with the resources, videos, and crafts below. Then check out our line up of Watch & Wonder programs exploring the wind-swept countryside of the Emerald Isle.

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Learn About Irish History and Culture

KidVision | Irish Dance Academy

Grades PreK-K
Bring Irish Dancing right into your classroom. The Breffni Irish Dance Academy World Team performs just for us! And their coach teaches Miss Penny and the KidVision Pre-K Kids an Irish jig.

Immigration: The Irish | New York: A Documentary Film

Grades 6-8
Learn more about Irish immigration in the mid-nineteenth century in this video from New York: A Documentary Film. Using video and supporting materials, students explore how Irish immigration forever impacted New York City, and the conditions and challenges the Irish people experienced before, and after, immigrating to the United States.

Ireland: Celtic Born/Celtic Inspired | Music Arts Toolkit

Grades 6-12
Galloglas, an ensemble of Irish and Scots descent, performs an a capella duet “My Johnny Was a Shoemaker,” followed by instrumental versions of traditional reels, and concluding with “Turning Colors,” a contemporary original composition inspired by traditional Celtic music. Instruments featured include the guitar, recorder, fiddle, and boghrán (frame drum).

The Castlegregory Dunes | Ireland’s Wild Coast

Grades 6-12
Ireland is home to just one toad—the Natterjack Toad. The Natterjack lives in small pockets of south Ireland, and breeds in the Castlegregory sand dunes. Males and Females gather together in shallow ponds to lay their eggs. Careful observation – listening and watching—reveals that male Natterjack Toads make a loud and deep sound to attract females. This unique sound has become an important part of Irish tradition.

Activities, Books & More

Sweet Glazed Corned Beef and Cabbage

All Ages
This recipe is easy to make, but cooks slowly, so it’s best to make it on the weekend or a day you’ll be around the house — or leave all the work to your slow-cooker! Serve corned beef and cabbage with boiled new or red potatoes and wash it all down with a glass of milk.

Make a Shamrock Shaker Craft

Grades PreK-3
Make a fun (and musical) shamrock shaker out of paper plates for St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day Books

Grades PreK-5
Today is your lucky day! Let your little leprechauns flip through these green reads while you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Easy Shamrock Jewelry DIY

Grades K-5
Make some shamrock jewelry and get festive this St. Patrick’s Day.

Watch & Wonder Programming

Check out the Mountain Lake PBS Watch & Wonder block, weekdays from 1-3pm! Join us this month as we explore the rich history, arts, and natural wonders of Ireland.

Thursday, March 14

1 PM: The Burren: Heart of Stone | Symphony of Life

In the countryside of County Clare, Ireland, is the Burren, a mysterious place unlike anywhere else, with deep caves, a stony landscape, and ancient dolmens, ring forts, and castles. The two-part documentary series The Burren: Heart of Stone, narrated by award-winning Irish actor Brendan Gleeson, unveils the secrets hidden in the stones of this dramatic wind-swept countryside. In episode one, see Celtic rainforests, underground caverns, mysterious lakes, and wildlife of the Burren.

2 PM: The Burren: Heart of Stone | Song of our Ancestors

Episode two unravels the secrets of the Burren’s mysterious landscape and those who lived on it. What did Ireland look like when the nomadic hunters arrived? Who lived in Ireland in prehistoric times? Did prehistoric farmers irreversibly alter the landscape? And is modern Irish society descended from those who lived there more than 10,000 years ago?