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On This Day in 1780: St. Patrick’s Day Granted

On March 16, 1793, George Washington’s General Order to his troops granted St. Patrick’s Day to be a holiday.

According to John C. Fitzpatrick who edited “The Writings of George Washington,” the General Order was prompted by an action of the Irish Parliament, which “had petitioned Great Britain for the removal of trade restrictions,” to which “Lord North had announced in the British Parliament that the petition would most likely receive favorable consideration.”

St. Patrick’s Day was not just celebrated in the army — a reference exists to one Irish indentured servant celebrating it at Mount Vernon as well. A weekly work report from March 20, 1790, for Mount Vernon’s joiners and carpenters records an absence “By Thomas Mahony keeping St. Patricks [sic] day, and 3 days absent on his own Acct [account].”

Whether Mahoney was sleeping off St. Patrick’s Day during the proceeding “3 days absent” we may never know …

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5 Responses to “On This Day in 1780: St. Patrick’s Day Granted”

  1. Jawaad Gadhia Says:

    Saint Patricks day was established by george washington to keep his troops spirits alive during the harsh face of winter. This is probably why Saint Patricks day is such a big traditioin in the US.

  2. Angel Garcia Says:

    St. Patrick’s day is a good holiday because the history behind it.

  3. Norma Montenegro Says:

    I think St.Patrik’s was a good holiday for the people that were in the army. his troops spirits alive during the harsh face of winter

  4. Jim Mulhern Says:

    Some 51% of Washington’s army were Irish and remained very loyal to him throughout the long war. It certainly wasn’t the pay which when it did come came very late. His French troops were also, Catholic and the French and Spanish Kings supported America. Washington also reviewed a Jesuit manual that taught edicate and social manors that served him well. George Washington always improved himself through out his life. He freed his slaves before he died and provided them an education. He was a tremendous example of leadership and his Irish army loved him dearly, like General O’Sullivan. Washington’s original sponser to the Continental Congress was Thomas Lynch, Sr. from SC. Lynch was the richest man in the country and secretly bought (6) Privater ships for his friend Washington to chase Gen. Gage out of Boston.

  5. CXitizen69 Says:

    The vast majority of George Washington’s Irish troops were not Catholic but Scots-Irish Presbyterians.

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Portraits in Schools

Kids holding George Washington Portrait

Mount Vernon recently invited K-12 schools nationwide to request framed portraits of George Washington to display in a respectful, prominent place.

The response was overwhelming: thousands of schools submitted letters! Along with the portrait, schools received curriculum materials to help explore our first president’s contributions.

Where has George Washington gone back to school? Click here to see!

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