Okay. It’s true that in spite of my last name I am only part Irish. If you look at my ancestry I’m probably more Scots and English than Irish. At this point, nine generations in Canada on my dad’s (O’Hanley) side and seven generations in Canada on my mom’s side, I am Canadian, not really Irish at all.
But having O’Hanley as a last name has meant for years I’ve had people in Quebec confuse my last name with that of the chocolate bar “O’Henry,” which isn’t even an Irish name, and I’ve often heard, “your last name is Irish, are you Irish?” So I’ve sort of embraced this Irish heritage and learned a bit about Irish culture and the community here.
Here are a few mistakes I see every year around parade time that for whatever reason drive me nuts:
Happy St. Patty’s Day!
I saw this written on the side of a float in yesterday’s Hudson’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The problem? It’s St. Paddy, not St. Patty! St. Paddy is a reference to Patrick, also spelled Pádraig. St. Patty would be St. Patricia. So the slogan on the side of the float should have said Happy St. Paddy’s Day!
The danger in getting it wrong? You could be mocked by the Irish in Ireland. There’s even a guy who’s been writing about this for years (check out Marcus Campbell’s “modest proposal” for Paddy, not Patty here). He even has a Twitter account where he posts such errors. Besides, mixing up Patty and Paddy makes people here look like ignorant Americans.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
While this is the correct name for Hudson’s annual parade, it’s not the correct name for Montreal’s parade. Technically Montreal’s parade is called the St. Patrick’s Parade, not the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It usually doesn’t take place on the day itself (March 17), so the official name of the parade does not reference it. But the United Irish Societies of Montreal aren’t helping the media get the name right when the site description for their own website mentions the St. Patrick’s Day Parade! If you read the text on the site carefully you’ll see the event is officially called the St. Patrick’s Parade. But how many media outlets get it right? At this point they should probably change the name to match what it’s almost always called, Montréal’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
United Irish Society or United Irish Society of Montreal
It’s been getting better over the years but you usually see at least one media outlet get the parade organizer’s name wrong. I suppose the reason the name of this community organization is plural is because there were several societies involved in putting the parade together in 1928 when they took over running the parade. So it’s United Irish Societies of Montreal, and not United Irish Society or United Irish Society of Montreal.
I suppose I’m being nitpicky. I make mistakes all the time. We joke in our family that whenever you feel stubborn or critical it’s the O’Hanley coming out. This is our Coat of Arms so what do you expect?
Happy belated St. Paddy’s! I hope you’ve enjoyed at least one parade this weekend!