My shallow knowledge of Irish history suggests that a day of mourning on March 17 would be more appropriate than a celebration. The old saying "luck of the Irish" was ironic because it meant "the BAD luck of the Irish." For one thing, they got conquered a lot. They were certainly vulnerable on their little island, and I don't guess they could go far or fast in their little skin-boats.
The Romans, via St. Patrick, conquered Ireland for Catholicism, and many a vocal ex-Catholic (I know a few) will tell you that was the first "Celtic Curse."
The Vikings may well have introduced the genetic mutation for hemochromatosis (also known as the "Celtic Curse") into the population. I'm one of the unlucky patients whose body has suffered the consequences of that disease, which causes iron to accumulate to toxic levels in the body.
The English saw agricultural opportunity for themselves in Ireland. They also introduced the potato--a foreign food from the Western Hemisphere--to feed the native population. Then came the potato blight, the Great Hunger, and the flight--the great diaspora to England, America, Australia. I've seen a vintage editorial cartoon in which Irish immigrants were depicted and described as "white chimpanzees." (Being poor and ignorant always seems to invite ridicule.)
Despite my Irish given and maiden names, I've never exactly taken anything like "pride" in my Irish heritage (hence the "cracked" shamrock in the blog title). It's always been rather depressing to hear of my drunken great-great-grandfather being hauled home in a wagon, of sick relations being refused entry to the US and presumably being buried at sea, or about my teenage great-grandfather's desperate departure from his homeland, his dangerous work building railroad bridges in America, his disappointment in two of his sons who became drunks, and his death from ruptured gastric varices and liver cancer. (He was a teetotaler whose liver disease, like his daughter's, surely arose from hemochromatosis, as mine did.)
On St. Patrick's Day, I will not raise a glass of green beer to my ancestors or eat a heme-heavy New England corned beef dinner. I'll just peel some potatoes for a pot of spud soup and raise a (half-empty!) mug of it in memory of those hungry people. And while doing so, maybe my spouse will say once again that HIS ethnic group, of whom he IS proud, had it so much worse than the Irish, who, he says, lorded it over his people in the USA. All this ethnic one-upmanship would leave a bad taste in my mouth--if it weren't for my anosmia!