It’s Not Patty, It’s Paddy — St. Patrick if You’re Nasty

Why Irish Car Bombs are offensive, and other ways to avoid trouble this weekend.

irish-car-bombIn the name of all that is good and holy in this world, please do not order an Irish Car Bomb this weekend.

For the uninitiated, an Irish Car Bomb is a drink made up of Guinness Stout, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Jameson’s Whiskey. The whiskey and cream are poured into a shot glass, then dropped (liked a bomb) into the pint glass of Stout.


It must be chugged quickly, otherwise the concoction will curdle. It tastes the same coming back up your throat as it does going down, so it’s like getting two drinks (or six) for the price of one. It’s very popular with the post-collegiate Erin Express crowd, right around this time of year. They also like to scream after each drink like it was their first drink, ever.

The drink itself may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s the name itself that others, particularly people from Ireland, find offensive. They compare it to having a drink named after the Oklahoma City Bombing, after eating a 9/11 sandwich, then having a dessert named after Auschwitz. The name invokes death. It’s horrible, and insulting to the Irish. It’s like syphilis.

“Irish Car Bomb isn’t a cute name for a drink or a cupcake,” posted one of the most legitimate Irishmen in Philadelphia, Fergus Carey. “If you’re pushing shite like this, cut it out. People that lived their lives punctuated by (real) car bombs aren’t amused. 25-year-old Ronan Kerr was murdered… by an Irish Car Bomb. He can’t join you for a drink.”

Carey refuses to serve the drink in his landmark Sansom Street establishment, Fergie’s Pub.

Other Irish bartenders did not want to be identified, because this time of year the green, unwashed crowds that enjoy the car bombs can be such a windfall financially after a slow winter. This one weekend can pay for a trip back home to see family and friends.

“It’s like they vomit golden eggs,” said a barman from County Meath, who asked not to be identified. “And it’s my job to mop it up each year.”

But they expressed similar contempt for the name of the drink and the clientele it draws.

“It’s amateur hour, worse than New Year’s Eve,” said a man from Belfast. “Where I come from, the only good use for a car bomb was an excuse to be late for school.”

Not everyone has a problem with the drink. Tony McReynolds works at Smith’s on 19th Street. He also comes from a distinguished family of barmen (and women) from Dungiven, County Derry.

“I personally don’t find it offensive and I’m from the north. I grew up in a troubled time, and I see it as just a name for just another drink.” He also added, “I’m partial to the odd one myself.”

Like a lot of things this time of year, the original reason for the holiday gets lost in the commerce and in the loutish behavior.

In 2007, students at Penn State, in their infinite wisdom, decided that March 17 wasn’t convenient for their drinking habits, so they started celebrating earlier in the month and calling it “State Patty’s Day.” The “infamous crime-ridden holiday” has grown, and this year was held on February 28.

This is wrong for so many reasons.

The University, perhaps trying to shed its image as the Holy Land for binge drinkers and public urinators, wants nothing to do with the event and has resorted to bribing bars to not be open.

But more importantly, any Irishmen will tell you that the short form of Patrick is Paddy, not Patty. Patty is feminine, short for Patricia. Paddy’s is man’s name, like the whiskey. Yet, media outlets continue to publish information about “Patty’s Day” events.

“No one in Ireland named Patrick, Padraig or Pat is ever called Patty. In Ireland it is Paddy’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day,” said Carey.

Or as Siobhán Lyons from Dublin said, “Patty is a girl’s name, or a hamburger.”

“No Patty. That’s just total timber plank, mate. It’s Paddy’s or Patrick’s,” said Declan Duggan from Claregalway, County Galway. “We need to put that one to bed. It’s nauseating when you see it as a Patty.”

A meme has circulated, purported to originate directly from Dublin Airport, which puts it this way:


So if you must celebrate publicly this year, please limit your drinks to one or two ingredients, and get the name of the patron saint straight.

Tim McCloskey previously wrote about Jimmy Fallon.