St. Patrick's Day Chicago in the day of The Daley's

St. Patrick's Day Chicago in the day of The Daley's
Erin Go Bragh, Mayor

The top of the morning to you and the rest of the day. (Irish saying)

How well I remember Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day.  The Daley Family were the Grand Marshalls of the parade for at least twenty years between Mayor Richard J. Daley and son Mayor Richard M Daley. You could hear the song “When Irish eyes are Smiling” when the Daley Family marched along with thousands of Chicagoans. There were those gaily dressed in outfits as befitted that special day.

Irish Toast: “When we drink, we get drunk. When we get drunk, we fall asleep. When we fall asleep, we commit no sins. When we commit no sin, we go to heaven.”

There was and is the dyeing green of the Chicago River. And the parties truly made it an Irish festival. There was Arnie’s, a landmark restaurant in the 1000 block of N. State St. His restaurant was among the most famous at the time and was known due to its makers and shakers of Chicago patrons. It was also known for its charity work when many fund raising activities were held, in the banquet room.  I was fortunate to know Arnie and held many a fund raising event in the banquet room.

Here’s the fun part. He closed his restaurant on St. Patrick Day and only his special list of friends were invited. And, I was on the list to attend one of the best parties in Chicago. The restaurant was door to door friends talking, eating and, of course, drinking. There was a sumptuous buffet including shrimp, salmon, corned beef and cabbage. My memory can’t remember the rest but I guarantee you couldn’t get enough of the buffet.

And then the spicing on the cake. The Irish bag pipe players walked around the entire restaurant playing the Irish melodies. It made your heart sing.

Irish blessing. “May your pockets be heavy and your heart is light, May good luck pursue you each morning and night”.  Then most people were too happy and their stomach full so they went to their office or to another party.  Arnie Morton as the perfect and gracious host shook every hand during the festivities. (Note: Arnie was the founder of Morton’s Restaurant, one of Chicago’s finest)

Irish blessing: “May the Irish hills caress you. May her lakes and rivers bless you. May the luck of the Irish enfold you. May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.”


Memories light the corners of my mind. And I hope yours too!

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