More green for St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick's Day is traditionally held on March 17. This year, the Vatican ordered it to be moved to March 15 because an early Easter causes March 17 to fall in Holy Week, according to Noreen Kinney, president, Academy of the Culinary Arts. No liturgical feast may take place during Holy Week, so St Patrick had to give way. The last time St. Patrick was 'bumped' was 1940; the next time he faces ecclesiastical eviction from March 17 won't be until 2160. Still, most people will celebrate on March 17. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 34.7 million U.S. residents claim Irish Ancestry, almost nine times the population of Ireland itself (4.2 million). No one celebrates like Americans who have a way of putting their own stamp on even those holidays that originated in other countries. From parades -- Boston's is the oldest, New York's the biggest, and Hot Springs, Arkansas' the shortest -- to the green rivers in Chicago and San Antonio, green beer in every pub and green hair on the truly enthusiastic, it's always a day to remember. Working on the assumption that everyone's a little bit Irish on St. Patrick's Day, Tullamore Dew, the quintessential Irish whiskey, tracks the cost of a truly fine St. Patrick's Day for all to enjoy. This year, the list of key items for a top-notch celebration shows that the party will cost a little more in 2008, with prices up 4 percent, more than a point over the national CPI for 2007 of 2.85 percent. (Costs were calculated for a day in New York City. Feel free to make your own hometown substitutions.)                                                             2007            2008 Lucky Charms Cereal            3.92             4.99 Classic Irish Fry Up Breakfast       15.00           15.00 (Fitzpatrick Hotel) to start the day Kiss Me, I'm Irish Button                   1.99             1.99 Green Dura Felt Derby                       5.98            5.98 St. Patrick's Day Parade Fifth Avenue                                                  Free            Free                             U-2's Greatest Hits                           24.98            24.98 Irish Coffee Glasses, each                    1.95            1.95 Corned Beef & Cabbage Dinner         11.70           13.50 price from 10 Irish pubs in New York Green M&M's printed "Erin Go Bragh"   11.50       11.50 (Per 7 oz. bag, minimum four bags per order) Slainte T-Shirt (Gaelic for "Cheers")   17.99           17.99 Taxi home from the pub                         6.00            6.12      (Base Fare: $2.50+ .40 per mile) Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey- SRP   20.00          21.99      Celebrating with all the trimmings in New York will set you back almost $126.00, up 4.11 percent over last year's $121.00. Wherever the celebration -- at home, by the side of a Kelly green river or in a local pub -- a mellow glass of Irish whiskey or an authentic Irish Coffee is certain to make the day complete. To wit, a final recipe suggestion:   Original Irish Coffee     Fill an Irish coffee glass with very hot water to pre-heat then empty.     Pour hot coffee into hot glass until it is about 3/4 full.     Drop in 2 cocktail sugar cubes; stir until sugar is thoroughly dissolved.     Add full jigger of Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey for proper taste and body.     Top with a collar of lightly whipped cream by pouring gently over a spoon.     Enjoy it while piping hot. Slainte and a very happy St. Patrick's Day!