Paddy’s Day Not A Good Day For Snakes!

By Mike Houlihan

March 17, 2024

St. Patrick’s Day scares me a helluva lot more than Halloween. Especially this year, my 75 th St.Patrick’s Day. My wife, the lovely Mary, and I live in Senior Housing. It’s economical and functional with an indoor parking garage that comes in mighty handy for Chicago winters.

We’ve lived here for almost four years and it’s been pretty good; once we got rid of the “Nurse Ratched” building manager. Don’t ask.

But I had quite a scare the other night. Man I was spooked. I live on the top, fifth floor of our building and both elevators conked out. We weren’t counting on doing a lot of “stair work” but we had no choice. And there was a very good chance that we all risked a “grabber” climbing those stairs.

So yeah, I’m scared….I could croak…but even worse. I could miss St. Patrick’s Day fer feck’s sake! And of course THAT is unacceptable.

Oh I’ve survived many Paddy’s Day adventures over the years along my crooked path. In 1967 I was a senior at Mt. Carmel HS and we had Paddy’s Day off. So myself and my old pal Jack Whalen swiped some cassocks from the Christ the King sacristy and jerry-rigged a couple of priest disguises to visit Mother McAuley HS to thank the girls for their mission collections and hopefully hear some confessions of the naughtier girls!

When I was twenty I showed up for work for my janitor gig at the Sanitary District on Paddy’s Day wearing green pants. My boss Jackie Sullivan gave me the rest of the day off to go to the parade downtown, where I proceeded to get quite a load on before hopping the Rock Island home to 95 th Street. My dad woke me up later that afternoon to inform me that Joe Canavan was at our front door asking for me. I met Joe on the front porch where he promptly punched me in the head, “And that’s for what you said to my sister at the parade!”

I like to think that in the last 50 odd years I’ve celebrated this holy day with more reverence and good judgement than I have exhibited in the past. But that’s wishful thinking.

Early in my career I was cast as Captain Brennan in Sean O’Casey’s PLOUGH AND THE STARS. The play takes place during the 1916 Easter Uprising in Ireland and the story of those patriots inspired me as they fought and died during the siege of the GPO. I visited Ireland for the first time in 2009 with my family, saw the Irish Proclamation on display on O’Connell Street in Dublin and stood with my sons in Kilmainham Gaol, where many Irish patriots were executed.

At the Church of the Assumption in the little town of Mt. Collins, in County Limerick, Ireland, we found the church where my grandfather, Denis Cusack, was baptized in 1861. As I plunged my hands into the water of that same baptismal font, the spirit of my ancestors took possession of my soul and I had my first of many Epiphanies in Ireland. Enlightenment had arrived after a lifetime of chasing dreams and my vision instantly became focused on the celebration of Irish and Irish American culture. Blessed with this new outlook, I was granted Irish citizenship, founded Hibernian Media, and set to work celebrating the culture of the Irish Diaspora. Unfortunately Ireland today is not the same, they’ve embraced abortion and other progressive idolatry.

Modernism has usurped Catholicism. You won’t see it on the mainstream news but Ireland is currently under invasion by illegal aliens, mostly men of military age, flooding this tiny country with their own brand of villainy. The Irish politicians are slaves to the woke philosophy of Soros while Taoiseach (Leo the Limp) Varadkar twiddles his effeminate thumbs and calls critics “far-right” zealots.
Sound familiar?

So forget about the leprechauns and the booze and the partying, what the Irish need now is our prayers. Embrace the words in our 1916 Proclamation.

In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.. We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people… we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades in arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations… We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonor it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline, and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.

St. Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland but go to mass next week and remind him there are still a few serpents slithering around the Emerald Isle disguised as politicians.

Up the Ra!

Late breaking news! The Irish people just voted NO to a pair of “woke” referendums that proposed to revise the definition of “family” in the Irish Constitution. Hallelujah, pack your bags Leo the Limp and the rest of your phony cohorts. There is still hope for this nation, once again, to embrace our Proclamation. Glory O, Glory O to the Bold Fenian Men…and Women!

AND my elevators are fixed too! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Known around town as “Houli,” he is former features columnist for The Chicago Sun-Times, Irish American News and currently Chicago correspondent for The Irish Echo. He began his career in 1973 as an apprentice with The American Shakespeare Festival, appearing in the classics there and in regional productions across the nation as well as Off-Broadway, on Broadway, on TV and in major motion pictures. He is a playwright and author of anthologies “Hooliganism Stories” and “More Hooliganism Stories” and the gonzo Mayoral campaign journal “Nothin’s on The Square”. Founder of the Annual Irish American Movie Hooley film festival each Fall at The Wilmette Theatre. He was honored as 2020/2021 “Irishman of the Year” by the Emerald Society, the Irish American Police Association. His Hibernian Radio Hour podcast can be found at and streaming worldwide on Sat. nights from 7-8PM on Global Irish Radio,

His latest book ” Chicago Irish Mythology” is available on Amazon and wherever else you buy your books.

Even more info about Houli is available here, on his latest adventures:

Comments 23

  1. Brilliant, Houli III “. . . pack your bags Leo the Limp and the rest of your phony cohorts. There is still hope for this nation, once again, to embrace our Proclamation. Glory O, Glory O to the Bold Fenian Men…and Women!”

    From your thunderous voice to God’s ears!

  2. I literally LMFAO at the first few paragraphs, Houli!! Sheesh, can’t Joe Canavan take a joke? This is a great column for such an auspicious day! Happy St. Patrick’s Day from a paisan that loved your story! 🍀

  3. Excellent Mike
    Always enjoyed your thoughts and words especially when it comes to our heritage
    My wife Mary McDermott and I were in Ireland last summer and if it was not for the ex green beret cab drive would be victim of the illegal migrants
    Happy St Paddy’s day

  4. “Confessions” at McAuley. Hilarious. Creative thought for sure, no wonder a journalist writer as his future. Made my St Pats day. My family moved into W Beverly in about 1951. Blessed to have lived there til I got married. Great values instilled by family, my friends parents, priests, Nuns in grade school and Brothers in HS. Seven decades+ later I can still return ‘“home” and feel like it did then. Happy St Pats Day. We’ll even let our Greek bretheren partake in the celebration John.

  5. Excellent column. It sucks about those stairs. Thank you for describing your visit to Ireland.
    It was great to hear about your childhood pranks. It’s sad in our times today there is just too much being woke. I hope sooner or later people say enough and push back on this crazy fad.

  6. Mike
    How could any Southside Irishman not appreciate you recalling St.Patrick’s Day past.
    You certainly were the most colorful and fun loving of the Houlihan family and God knows
    that was a mark of high achievement on your part. Thank you. Erin Go Bragh.

  7. Wonderful Column Mr. Hoilihan!

    I have one or two Irish buddies. They too have their hijinks in youth. But I have always found my Irish friends to be serious when needed, the best of friends, and very well-informed.

    However: you forgot to mention the real outcome of those two referendums:
    The marriage referendum got rejected by 68%
    The women’s duties referendum by 94%

    The numbers speak for themselves.

  8. Mr. Houlihan may know a guy Jim Fitzgerald, also contributor to the Irish American news in Chicago. Jim was my outplacement guy back in 2010 but rather than coach me he recited the entire history of the English occupation of Ireland. It would make a Nazi blush. Thanks for this great piece today, and hope Jim is still at it, Fitzgerald my family too. 1850, covered wagon to Denver

  9. Visited back in 2012 with my daughter. Got locked in a pub in Kinsale, which led to a massive hangover the next day. Visited a cafe in Dublin with what looked like a bullet hole in the front window. We asked about it and they said it was done by a junkie with a hammer. Went to the same place for breakfast the next day and there was a sign on the glass pointing at the hole that said: “Junkie with a hammer, NOT a bullet hole.” Gotta love Irishmen.

  10. A fine essay by Mike Houlihan. Thank God my wife Mary and I visited Ireland in 1994 when it was the beautiful land we had imagined. Mary shared a name with the country’s progressive president, but not her politics. We stayed in Dublin at Mrs O’Donahue’s B&B in Ballsbridge before setting out in our right wheel drive rental car to explore as much of Erin as our time allowed. Leaving Dublin, we found that the four-lane carriageways didn’t last very long, morphing into the narrow two-lane roads for which the nation is infamous. Falling prey to the lack of road signs, we were soon lost. I stopped at a pub seeking directions. As normally happens when one enters a tavern, heads turned to see who had come in. They all recognized I was an outlander and listened as I asked the bartender how to get to Athlone, where I planned to pay my respects to the memory of the great tenor John McCormack. “Where are ya from lad?” asked the barkeeper. “Chicago,” I replied. “And ya came all the way from there just to get lost here?” The clientele were greatly amused, but I was set straight on the road to Athlone. We had many happy encounters with the delightful Irish, too many to recount here.

  11. Terrific column! Unfortunately, the drift of Irish politics to the land of woke did not start yesterday. All that “free” money received by joining the EU had a hidden cost which they now must pay.

  12. And what did Houli do when Illinois redefined Family in 2012 and later when Antony Screwball Kennedy joined the girls at the SCOTUS and helped redefine the Family of the entire nation in 2015? And to this end, our nation should blame Ronald Reagan for naming the First Women to the Court, just to please his wife, Nancy.

  13. As usual, a great column, Mike!! Could have used a little more info on how the priest impersonation went. Fascinating idea with great potential at Mother McCauley. Sorry to hear about your country of origin going to hell. It’s insane how the Irish people let all these invaders in who don’t really care a bit about your country. Sounds like their own countries booted them out as undesirables. Nothing good can come of all this.

    Matt Marciniec

    1. And what happened here, in this country? First, the elected goons in California killed Proposition 8 which was voted in by a majority (though only by 53%) of citizens and welcomed in the Gay Unions. Then, before long in 1912 the Illinois assembly narrowly (by 62 Votes by required 60) won to redefine the marriage by bribing and hand twisting the black ministers and their assembly men, from orders from Obama and the then Mayor of Chicago. What happened in Minnesota? The same year they approved same-sex unions. What happened then? Did the people manifest against this curse in D.C. ?
      Long story short, finally the Pope kicked off the Corona Pandemic from the grounds into the world through his Vatican official documentary in the fall of 2019 where he called on the nations around the world to officially recognize the gay unions which he accomplished with the Argentinean government as Cardinal Jorge. The lazy Cardinals without doing any homework, elected him as their Pope since he placed 2nd behind Pope Benedict XVI in the elections 8 years before.

      1. And yes, Pope Francis recently recommended the catholic church recognize the homosexuals since they are also human and immediately Chicago Cardinal Supic, the Politician appointed Politician seconded that motion commenting that the homosexuals also need God’s presence and love. And it hurts to observe the Pope is hailed in every Catholic Church mass as God’s servant. HOPE, Houli or John Kass will write a clolumn about the Politician Pope and his hand pick Cardinal Supic.

  14. I’d like to hear his thoughts on the opinion of the Chicago Sun Times as a credible source of news or intelligent diversity of thought.
    I wandered into the executive offices once on a sakes visit to a VP.
    It was awful, old carpet, stained etc
    To think it was a look into the editorial future ..

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