Shamrock Entertainments: 1910, 1916

A St. Patrick's Day postcard, courtesy of The Graphics Fairy.

A St. Patrick’s Day postcard, courtesy of The Graphics Fairy.


From green cardboard or green paper cut out cards about the size and shape of playing cards, or, if you have a printing-press or a typewriter, you can use paper cut like handbills, and write or print on them the following form:

Grand Irish Expedition Covering Every Feature of Life in the Emerald Isle— Its Geographical, Industrial, Legendary, and Literary Interests—Will be Opened on March 17th. Doors Open at 8 P. M. Possession of this Ticket Admits Bearer Free of Charge. Children Not Admitted.

Decorate the parlor with Irish flags, large shamrocks cut out of cardboard, pots of growing clovers or of shamrocks, if you can get them, and other appropriate insignia. If possible, arrange the exhibit in a room adjoining that where guests are welcomed, or in a portion of the parlor or hall which is curtained off for the purpose. However, this is not absolutely necessary.

The Comic Catalogues

Now from paper, preferably green, make the catalogues. These are little folders or leaflets folded once, the outside to be decorated with gold-paper shamrocks, or with the funny Irish faces clipped from comic papers and mounted with library paste and appropriate pen-and-ink decoration on the green. Letter in “Catalogue of the Exhibits” on each cover, and inside write out the various titles and the numbers by which they can be identified around the room.

Here are the exhibits, with the explanations in parentheses. In each is a laugh—”merely this and nothing more.”

  1. A View of Cork. (A little house built of corks, or simply one or more corks placed together.)
  2. A Bird’s-eye View of Three Irish Counties. (A limerick, an ulster, and a cork laid together.) Others, such as Wicklow, a candle with the wick cut down, might be added if desired.
  3. Home Rule for Ireland! (A yardstick tied with green ribbon.)
  4. “Rory O’More.” By Samuel Lover. (Picture, clipped from an advertisement or an illustration, of a shrieking infant.)
  5. The Bells of Shandon. (Pictures of pretty girls of Irish type.)
  6. The Blarney Stone. (Small stone with a smiling Hibernian phiz painted or pasted upon it in green ink or paint.)
  7. “Patrick’s Day in the Mornin’.” (A salt fish and a baked potato upon a breakfast-plate.)
  8. “The Last Rose of Summer.” Thomas Moore. (A faded millinery rose and a picture of the great poet of Ireland.)
  9. “The Wearin’ o’ the Green.” (Little Irishman from the favor shop, with a bow of green ribbon of disproportionate size decorating him.)
  10. What Ireland Does Not Know. Toy snake from the Oriental Store.)
An Irish boy and his colleen dancing with a pig, c. 1917

An Irish boy and his colleen dancing with a pig, c. 1917

Special Irish Dishes

Here is a suggestion for the menu which the individual entertainer can minimize or increase. The Shamrock Chicken is delicious Chicken Newburg decorated plentifully with green, which may take the form of parsley or of shamrocks cut from slices of green sweet pepper. The Irish Cabin is mashed potatoes quickly molded upon the platter with a knife to suggest a cunning little cabin, such as the traveler sees in Irish country, while popovers or other very light biscuit served with the first course are called “fairy bread,” because as soon as you look upon them, so to speak, they vanish. The Erin Go Bragh Salad consists of a few leaves or sprigs of all available green things in the way of lettuces, with green mayonnaise. The Shillalahs are cheese straws. “Blarney” is macaroon fluff, a delicious dainty, to be served in green glasses. Mavourneens are cream-cakes iced in green. The Hibernian Sugar served with the tea is green rock candy. [described further on as “Grane Tay” Irish Sugar.]

The entertainment may consist of a story called “Inthroducin’ Pat,” where blanks in the narrative are left to be filled in by the cleverness of the competitor with words beginning with the syllable “pat.”

The story is written on cards or sheets of paper, and half an hour or more should be allowed for working it out. Here is the tale:

“My friend Pat is, I believe, a native of (Patagonia). He is a fond and devoted father whose (paternal) side is one of his most attractive characteristics. His wife is called (Patricia). Mrs. Pat is a famous cook, one of her specialties being (patties), indulgence in which has inclined Pat to be rather (patulous). Owing to his foreign birthplace Pat talks with a slight dialect (patois). His work is on the force as a (patrol), but he is never so happy as when playing (pat a cake) with his children and listening to the (patter) of their little feet. From his father he inherited a modest (patrimony), which makes the family independent of small necessities, and in addition to his salary Pat ambitiously endeavors to add to his income by (patents) registered at Washington. His wife is a good needlewoman and makes her own costumes as well as those of the children, using a good (pattern). Her one extravagance is a fondness for (patchouli). Altogether a happy and lucky man is this (paterfamilias), honest, thrifty and (patriotic).

* * * *

Other games: see how many words you can make out of the word “shamrock,” and “Evergreen Questions.”  Mrs Daffodil will give just a sampling:


  1. Green and real estate form a northern country. Greenland.
  2. A city and green form something dangerous. Paris green.
  3. One of the Presidents and green form the cloth worn by woodmen in Merrie England of olden time. Lincoln green.
  4. Green and a British general of Revolutionary fame give a delicious fruit. Green Gage.
  5. One rough green is obtained from the skin of fish. Shagreen.

The Mary Dawson Game Book: A Manual of Original Games and Guessing Contests, Mary Dawson, 1916

One imagines that the persons actually labouring to free themselves from the tyranny of the English would not have found the “funny Irish faces,” mangled dialect, or the  “home rule for Ireland” terribly amusing. This next author is even more dismissive of the Irish, except as a party theme.


Mrs. J.M. Henderson

No day in the year lends itself to absolute fun and jollity like St. Patrick’s Day. There is no sentiment attached to it. Ireland’s patron saint, who established the religion on that beautiful isle is never considered or thought of on this merry day. Outside of the church calendar St. Patrick’s Day is simply a name, but its decorations, its favors, and its emblems are so different from those used at any other time that the merry hostess simply gives full scope to her fancy and the merry dance goes on.

"The Wearing of the Green," postcard, courtesy of The Graphics Fairy.

“The Wearing of the Green,” postcard, courtesy of The Graphics Fairy.

In sending out your invitations for a St. Patrick’s Day entertainment ask the guests to honor the saint, the day and the nation by their dress. These costumes need not be elaborate. Green ties for the men, big green covered buttons—if they so elect— for their waistcoats, and, of course, a sprig of shamrock for their buttonhole. The women may wear wreaths of shamrock in their hair and corsages, real or artificial.

Pewter Ice-cream moulds including a shamrock and Irish pipe.

Pewter Ice-cream moulds including a shamrock and Irish pipe.

In decorating the house for such an event, green should predominate. Strings of paper shamrock leaves on green cord carried from the corners of the table to the chandelier above the centerpiece would be effective. Glass candlesticks, with green shades or green electric bulbs could be used. A large cardboard harp, gilded and placed in a conspicious position, labelling it, “The harp that once through Tara’s Hall,” is another suggestion. During the evening let some member of the company standing by the harp read or sing the poem. Let Irish guests sing Irish melodies and invite all present to-repeat some Irish joke, giving a prize for the best. [One shudders at the thought of these jokes…]

1912 St Patrick's Day novelties

1912 St Patrick’s Day novelties

Have a big punch bowl in a corner draped with Irish flags and labelled, “Cruiskeen lawn.” [An Irish song, “The Little Brimming Jug.”] This may be a temperance beverage, but should be colored green. Have near the entrance a real marble block or stone wrapped in moss, green paper or silk, and notify each guest that he is expected to kiss the “Blarney Stone.”

Favors for the dances and table decorations are unusually varied this year, many of them being extremely dainty. There are large and small pots of growing shamrocks, little pots with make believe shamrocks, full sized clay pipes, with several shamrocks tied around the bowl with green ribbon; shiny black or green top hats in all sizes, each with a little white pipe tied to its stem. There are small green snakes, irridescent and quivering; frogs tied to rubber jumper cords and many banners, harps, pigs and “pratie” conceits.

A clever idea for St Patrick’s entertainment is a big Jack Horner pie that can be purchased ready made or constructed at home from a big round hat box. It should be covered with moss or green paper and filled with St. Patrick favors, each wrapped in green tissue paper and attached to emerald ribbons used to draw them from the box.

American Housekeeper: New series, Volume 23, Issues 141-146, 1910

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil hopes that her readers will spend St Patrick’s Day in a more edifying fashion than those college students who wear shirts inviting onlookers to, “Kiss Me, I’m Irish,” and consume multiple green beers—an abomination to any right-thinking lover of Irish stout.

However, Mrs Daffodil is not convinced that these hints on celebrating St Patrick’s Day from a time when the Irish were often stereotyped as credulous, stupid, and lazy offer much in the way of an improvement. Mrs Daffodil has omitted some suggested entertainments for the young people, which included attempts at side-splittingly humorous Irish dialect. Cook also has put her foot down at making “cunning little cabins” out of potatoes.

That greenish person over at Haunted Ohio has posted previously on a different sort of shamrock entertainment at a séance.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.



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