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Tucson really goes “green” for St. Paddy’s

Posted on March 5, 2013

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and you might not think that it would get much notice in Tucson, right? After all, this is a town that lets its schools out for the annual rodeo! But the Irish influence is steeped in Tucson’s history. The man who is called the “Father of Tucson,” Hugo O’Conor, was an Irishman raised in Spain who became a military governor in Mexico. As governor, he established Presidio San Agustín in what is downtown Tucson as part of a trade route for the Spanish.

Ireland’s link to Mexico was solidified when a band of Catholic immigrants – many of them Irish and led by Irishman John Reilly – formed the famed St. Patrick’s Battalion to fight for Mexico against the U.S. in the Mexican-American War in 1847. The Mexicans called the soldiers “Los Colorados” (The Reds) because many were redheads whose fair skins burned in the desert sun. The 1999 movie “One Man’s Hero,” starring tom Berenger, chronicled the exploits of the St. Patrick’s Battalion.

Tucson has a thriving St. Patrick’s Day celebration each year, including a beloved parade. This year’s theme is paired with the Emerald Isle’s own “The Gathering” event meant to unite the Irish around the world. For more information, go to www.tucsonstpatricksday.com.

The Lookout Bar & Grille has all-day food and drink specials March 16-17 to mark St. Patrick’s Day at the Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa. Enjoy corned beef and cabbage with roasted red potatoes and soda bread for $16. Toast St. Patrick and “Don Hugo” with $4 Guinness Stout and Irish shots (Jameson or Bushmills whiskey or Bailey’s) and $4.50 premium draft beer.

The Chain of Fools Blues Band will entertain Saturday, March 16, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. There is no cover charge.

Wherever you are on St. Patrick’s Day, may the road rise up to meet you!