Ireland – The Emerald

Pot of Gold

The leprechaun has long been associated with Ireland and is an important figure of Irish folklore. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will always be portrayed in the best of lights elsewhere. Here are some of the famous leprechauns we can learn from:

Lucky the Leprechaun – Lucky Charms

Also known as Sir Charms and L.C. Leprechaun (monikers he invented to avoid creditors who were after his Lucky Charms!), this imp was introduced in the 1960’s, shortly after the cereal hit store shelves. Originally, the breakfast option only contained four different marshmallow shapes, but over time that number grew to eight permanent charms. Lucky was briefly replaced by Waldo the Wizard in 1975, but it wasn’t long before the leprechaun was back with the brand. Some say he bought his way back into the picture with his pot o’ gold riches!

lucky-charms-marshmallows

O’Reilly – The Simpsons

This little hellraiser appears in a number of Simpsons episodes, most notably one of the Treehouse of Horror segments where Homer has drawn the ire of a gypsy and has been cursed. Looking to reverse his fortune, he traps a leprechaun (using Lucky Charms as bait), but O’Reilly just causes havoc in the Simpson home. When Homer takes the leprechaun to battle the gypsy, the two fall in love and are married in a ceremony performed by Yoda of Star Wars fame. O’Reilly is also an imaginary vision for Ralph Wiggum, telling the youngster to burn things.

Braun the Leprechaun – World Championship Wrestling

Leave it to professional wrestling to have a leprechaun running around the ring and causing havoc. Braun briefly appeared with the Dungeon of Doom stable, a group of dark and sometimes mythological characters, including The Yeti (although he was dressed like a mummy… no, seriously) and Loch Ness (a 600-plus pound monster of a man, billed from the Scottish Highlands). Portrayed by the grappler (real name DeWayne Bruce) that would eventually become perennial loser Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, he is most recognized for his work training future stars, particularly Bill Goldberg.

Hornswoggle – World Wrestling Entertainment

Sticking with professional wrestling, years after Braun, another shot was taken at the character, this time using a little person. Originally named Little Bastard, the character soon evolved into Hornswoggle (which means to cheat, swindle, hoodwink, or hoax), helping Irish bruiser Finlay score a number of underhanded victories. Hornswoggle has gone on to become a fan favourite, while enjoying high-profile roles such as joining D-Generation X as their mascot, being the illegitimate son of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, winning the Cruiserweight Title, and holding the position of anonymous General Manager of Monday Night Raw.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish/Boston Celtics Leprechauns

These famous logos and mascots have helped define both squads. For Notre Dame, the team had gone through a number of nicknames (Catholics, Hoosiers, Rockmen, Bulldogs) before settling on the Fighting Irish. This was done because a leprechaun joined the cheerleading squad and has remained on the team’s sideline ever since. As for the Celtics, their mascot Lucky was designed by the brother of legendary coach Red Auerbach. Complete with shillelagh and shamrock-adorned attire, it just doesn’t get much more Irish… although Lucky lacks the red locks we usually associate with leprechauns.

The Leprechaun – Leprechaun Movies

Played by little person Warwick Davis (of Willow and Harry Potter fame), The Leprechaun horror movie franchise has spawned six films and is due for a reboot with the aforementioned Hornswoggle (real name Dylan Postl) taking over the lead role. Falling in line with recent movie trends, the new film will be an origin story. Back to the original series, premises ranged from The Leprechaun tracking down his stolen gold, to searching for a bride, and even rampages through Las Vegas, space, and Compton, California (in the ghetto!). The first installment even featured a young and unknown Jennifer Aniston… she ended up doing pretty well for herself!

leprechaun-back2thahood

Seriously, they did not one, but two Leprechaun films set in “Tha Hood”!

Brian Connors – Darby O’Gill and the Little People

This Disney live action movie features a horde of leprechauns led by Brian Connors, the ‘King of the Leprechauns’. Connors and O’Gill are friendly adversaries, each trying to outsmart the other. O’Gill, an elderly groundskeeper is trying to capture Connors and be granted three wishes, hoping to set his daughter up for a happy life. Conners was played by Jimmy O’Dea, an Irish comedian and songwriter. Sean Connery is also in the film and he even sings! Legend has it that his role as Michael McBride, the daughter’s eventual love interest, led to him being cast as James Bond.

Shado – Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law

Known as Shado the Brain Thief because he possesses telepathic abilities, this leprechaun lawyer uses his powers to mess with opposing counsel and juries and manipulate them for his own gains. If Mrs. Sip (also a lawyer) was capable of telepathy, she’d be even more of a legend than she already is… which is due largely in part to her association with the Sip Advisor. Anyhoo, Shado is voiced by Toby Huss, who provided the dialogue for a number of characters on King of the Hill, including Cotton Hill, Kahn Souphanousinphone, Joe Jack, and M.F. Thatherton.

Ireland: The Emerald

Mar 20

  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with Orange Zest

I hope everyone finds their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow… that is, unless you have to battle a deranged leprechaun to get at your cash money. My advice is to wait until the little guys tucker themselves out before achieving your treasure. Kind of like I do with my desire to high-five monkeys!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This is basically a Manhattan variation and it was decent. Whenever I make a drink with Orange Bitters, I go a little crazy with the dashes and that’s not a bad thing. I thought the Orange Zest bits looked pretty darn good, if I don’t say so myself. Party on!

Ireland – Blarney Stone

Luck of the Irish

Bouncing around Europe to make sure the Sip Advisor ended up in Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day was a must. Of course, the day celebrates the death of and feast for Saint Patrick. But what do we really know about this patron saint of boozing and his namesake holiday? Luckily for you, my little sippers, I’m here to educate!:

Don't Have to be Irish

Saint Patrick has become a symbol of national identity for the Irish, despite being born in England. He is credited with using the shamrock as a teaching tool and figure for the holy trinity (the father, the son, and the holy spirit… had he plucked a four-leaf varietal, would he have had to make up a fourth element for the concept?). Despite common belief, Ireland’s national symbol is actually the harp, not the shamrock. Mmmm, it gets me thinking of Harp Lager, which is my favourite Irish brewing import.

Patrick worked his way across Ireland setting up monasteries, churches, and schools to help with his converting and was arrested many times by the Celtic Druids (a wicked name for a rock band), managing to escape their capture every time. His inclusion of native Irish rituals helped in bringing people over to Christianity. Patrick is credited with creating the Celtic Cross, by adding an image of the sun (an important Irish symbol) to the Christian cross.

As with most saints, Patrick has been recognized for performing a number of miracles during his life. Those phenomenal feats include driving snakes out of the country, although most scientists believe there were never any serpents in Ireland to begin with. The term serpents could have had more to do with converting paganism followers to Christianity and exiling those who did not wish to jump ship. Legends also state that Patrick was able to raise the dead.

Ireland Snakes

While wearing green is a St. Patrick’s Day tradition, Saint Patrick’s garments were actually blue. I have so much more blue in my wardrobe (it accentuates my eyes!), so I kind of wish we would celebrate March 17 with some historical accuracy. Other traditions for the day include kissing the blarney stone, which for Mrs. Sip and I means going to the local pub of that name and getting drunk enough that your face meets the floor.

The leap year tradition of women proposing to men has also been attributed to Patrick. The account states that when Saint Bridget complained of women waiting too long for men to propose (hey, we’re just enjoying what’s left of our freedom!) Patrick made this little alteration to courtship guidelines. Bridget tried to propose to Patrick, but the wise missionary turned her down.

St. Patrick’s Day is known as one of the booziest days of the year and it was no different in Patrick’s time. He is said to have endorsed drinking on his feast day, stating that everyone should have “a drop of the hard stuff.” Along these lines, it is customary to drop the shamrock you’ve worn on St. Patrick’s Day in your last drink of the evening, thereby ‘drowning the shamrock’.

st-patricks-day-dd

Everyone seems to get in on the St. Patrick’s Day act from the Chicago River in the United States being died green (although that might just be all the people expelling their green beverages) to the Canadian province of Newfoundland celebrating a provincial holiday… I really wish that this would spread across the entire country, rather than the French language. The day is also celebrated in Argentina, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, and other locales around the globe.

And earth’s atmosphere apparently can’t contain the festiveness. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have been known to commemorate St. Patrick’s Day, including American Catherine Coleman playing instruments belonging to Irish musicians The Chieftains and Canadian Chris Hadfield taking photos of Ireland while in orbit and donning green for a rendition of Danny Boy.

File this under the ‘say it ain’t so’ category: From 1903 to 1970, St. Patrick’s Day was a religious observation, which equated to all pubs being shut down each year on March 17. When that law was overturned and the day was recognized as a national holiday, the booze was back. Thank god (or Saint Patrick) we remedied that!

Ireland: Blarney Stone

Blarney Stone Drink Recipe

  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

So, raise your glass (whatever it is, it better be green) and join me in reciting this great toast: “May your glass be ever full. May the roof over your head be always strong. And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead!”

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink is great. It combines three of my favourite ingredients: Whiskey, Ginger Ale, and Lime Juice. The taste is light and refreshing and thanks to the two ounces of booze, you can get pretty trashed just like Saint Patrick would have wanted!

March 15 – Shamrocked

Kiss Me, I’m Irish

Around this time of year, we all want to be a little bit Irish… at least for the kisses! Therefore, I’ve taken it upon myself to name the top five greatest Irish citizens, invoking the 1/8th Irish within me. This is a hard list to breakdown, so I decided to take one member from each of the following worlds: literary, music, sports, business, and acting. I could have probably done an entire article about the greatest Irish drinkers, but that seems an even more difficult topic to tackle. Let’s get started, shall we!?:

#5: Bram Stoker

For turning Vlad the Impaler into the blood-sucking, eternal living, ghoul that has come to be the inspiration for countless movies, TV shows, plays, comics, and so much more media, Bram Stoker may be Ireland’s most famed writer, among a sea of other talented scribes. Including fictionalized diary entries, letters, and newspaper clippings, Stoker added an aura of realism to the story of Dracula, as the bloodthirsty count battled Professor Abraham Van Helsing and others. Sadly, Stoker could also be blamed for such vampire awfulness as Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

Bram-Stoker

#4: Padraig Harrington

One of golf’s most successful players, Harrington has won two British Opens, as well as one PGA Championship. His 2008 season was exemplary, as the Dubliner won both of the aforementioned tournaments that season and was named European Tour and PGA Tour Player of the Year. Of the two golf majors he hasn’t won, his best performances were in the top five. Harrington is also heavily involved in charity work and is a global ambassador for the Special Olympics, hosting clinics for both players and coaches. Golfer John Daly may better exemplify the true Irish spirit with his personal trials, but we’ll take Harrington here.

#3: Bono

While I’d rather write about Enya and her moody, spiritual tracks, or Van Morrison and his classic rock, even I’d have to admit that Bono is a larger than life superstar. U2 (including fellow Irishman and buddy The Edge) are one of the most successful music acts of all-time. Their discography is full of hits, including Sunday Bloody Sunday, Vertigo, and With or Without You. The front man has received mixed reviews for his various causes with many critiquing him for being too preachy. If Bono doesn’t stop, I’ll reveal to the world that his real name is Paul Hewson… oops, too late! What’s so great about the name Bono anyway?

bono-looking

#2: Daniel Day-Lewis

This fine actor has wowed audiences with his portrayal of characters like Bill the Butcher (Gangs of New York), Daniel Plainview (There Will Be Blood), and even Abraham Lincoln (Lincoln). Day-Lewis is extremely devoted to his craft, researching his roles vigorously. For The Last of the Mohicans, he learned to live off the forest land, much like his character did. Later, for the period piece The Age of Innocence, he wore 1870’s aristocratic clothing (cane, cape, and top hat) out and about New York for two months. For Gangs of New York, he even apprenticed as a butcher. And here I refuse to even learn how to be a proper writer!

#1: Arthur Guinness

Ever notice that if you rearrange the letters in Guinness and tell a couple of them to screw off Irish style, you can spell genius!? Well, that’s what Arthur Guinness was. Sure, a Guinness stout is like a full meal and isn’t the easiest of beers to enjoy, but those who truly love a good pint will tell you until their blue in the face that Guinness should be held on its own pedestal. As far as Irish entrepreneurs go, I also have to toss some credit to Tony Ryan, the creator of Ryanair, which has helped Mrs. Sip and I cheaply traverse parts of Europe. Here’s a Guinness in honour of both gentlemen!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Shamrocked

Shamrocked Shooter

  • 0.5 Irish Whiskey
  • 0.5 Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Midori
  • Garnish with a Shamrock

For more Ireland coverage, check back later this week, as the Emerald Isle is out next stop for Around the World. It just so happens to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day, which I hope all my little sippers out there are able to celebrate safely and happily!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This shot was pretty decent with the ingredients mixing together pretty well and creating a creamy melon taste. Luckily, I had bought Mrs. Sip a Shamrock necklace when I was in Ireland all those years ago and it was the perfect accent to the shooter.