An Easy, Green Feeling

Son, you outgrew my lap, but never my heart.  ~Author Unknown

My son (AKA Domer) made his way downtown this weekend to visit friends, and one of their destinations was the annual dyeing of the Chicago River emerald green for St. Paddy’s Day.

Now the dyeing of the river is a tradition more than 50 years old. I’ve wanted to see it for ages, and one day I will, but for now, I prevailed upon Best Son Ever to capture it in photos so I could share it with y’all here.

The process began at 9 o’clock Saturday when the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers — laden with about 40 pounds of ORANGE powder — took to the Chicago River via boat. As they sifted the top-secret formula into the murky water, a leprechaun magically turned the river Kelly green, the color of the Emerald Isle:


Here’s another view (and when I asked Domer what this guy had to do with it, he replied, ‘Nothing. He’s just a dude with his dog on a board!’):


Several hours after the dyeing of the River, the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicked off, featuring a huge contingent of politicians (and wannabes, since Tuesday is primary voting day), Irish step dancers, bagpipes, and more green and shamrocks than you could shake a stick at.

Domer et. al. didn’t make it to the parade. He said it was too far out of the way (and officials were advising “tourists” not to even try driving to the location because there wouldn’t be parking). So for anyone wanting to see pictures that Domer didn’t get, here’s a link.

Back to Domer’s shots of the green river:


Did you know 33 million Americans claim Irish heritage? That’s more than 7 times the population of Ireland!

And Irish is this nation’s second most reported ancestry, behind German.

One more of Domer’s photos. He said this one might be his favorite (I have no clue why!):


40 thoughts on “An Easy, Green Feeling

    • I was a bit surprised at that statistic, too, FF. I mean, I wonder if those immigrants were just adventurous, or if things were so bad where they were that even something unknown was seen as better! At any rate, we’re definitely a nation of immigrants, most of whom have contributed positively and acclimated smoothly.

  1. The parade and river greening use to happen on St. Pats day when I worked downtown. A wasted work day but a lot of fun. I was a bit sad when it moved to the weekend before–but I guess more people can attend these days. I’m glad Domer enjoyed the day. His pictures are all wonderful—with the exception of one. I was taking some downtown shots recently and posted them on the Facebook but deleted the name off one tower. Chicago made me very proud on Friday. Corned Beef here we come!

    • Domer definitely has a sense of humor! Maybe he just liked “the one’s” glass and the reflection of other buildings on it. From that angle, the river does look more like a sea of grass than water! He was rather amused at all the antics on Saturday, though. He said lots of people were loud, obviously drunk, and climbing on stuff they had no business climbing on. He said the police seemed to turn a blind eye to anything less than major violations, too. Perhaps folks got the rage out of their systems the evening before??!

    • Brave man, John. I don’t think I could live in Chicago…much too large for my tastes, though it’s nice being close enough to visit and take advantage of the variety of things to do there!

  2. Debbie, I had always heard about Chicago doing this every St. Patrick’s Day, but never knew how they did it or even seen a picture. That is so cool! Also, I’ve never been to Chicago but would like to visit one day because everyone I’ve ever met who has visited or lived there said it’s a wonderful city! I’ve seen many movies that were shot in Chicago and it looks beautiful!

    And speaking of St. Patrick’s Day, Philly had their parade today as well. Our city gets very festive on St. Patty’s Day because we have a large Irish population. We’ve got a lot of Irish pubs too!

    Thanks for sharing, my friend. Enjoyed! Have a terrific week!

    P.S. Tell Domer I said, “GREAT photos!”

    • Domer said the Irish pubs were jam-packed, so he and his friends opted for something else. I noticed a lot of folks carrying their drinks in the photos, so I guess the officials relaxed public drinking rules for the occasion. Kind of sad that some people equate the Irish with intoxication (which we, of course, know isn’t necessarily true, right?)

      Glad you got to enjoy Chicago’s festivities through Domer’s photos, Ron, and I hope you got to enjoy Philly’s as well. Have a super week! xo

  3. Hey — I think that last photo’s perfect. After all, the river is the color of money! 🙂

    I think they dye the river in San Antonio, too. For all I know, they may dye Buffalo Bayou, here in Houston. Let me go check…. Well, it seems that they used to, but don’t any more. The last dyeing I could find was in 2012. No matter. There will be events all around the city, and people having a pint or two in memory of the good saint.

    • Good point, Linda. And since Domer’s a finance grad, perhaps that was on his mind, ha!

      Ooh, they dye the river in San Antonio? Now that must be a sight! And thanks for the info. March weather is iffy at best here, so if there’s a warmer place to catch this tradition, I need to know about it. Although I can’t imagine Irish is the number one lineage in San Antonio!!

    • Ha, green with envy! Love it, Janna! I kind of was, too, because I really wanted to go this year. And the weather was mild — no snow — so we couldn’t have asked for better.

  4. Wow it looks stunning! St Patrick’s Day is a fairly big deal over here too, although it seems to be just an excuse for people to get hideously, ridiculously drunk.

    • Why do people feel they need an excuse to tank up, Lucy?! Personally, I’m not one of the drunks on St. Pat’s Day, but how I love all the green and the celebrations! I can only imagine how cool it would be being across the Pond on St. Pat’s Day — best add that to my bucket list!

      • In the UK, people rarely need an excuse, but on certain occasions they feel more justified than others! Maybe one day you can spend St Pat’s Day in Cambridge and see it first hand, with my good self as your own private tour guide, of course!

        • Oh, I would LOVE that! Don’t worry…I won’t invade you without notice, but yes, seeing Cambridge would be such a treat!! What a lovely thought!

        • Then if you ever visit the UK I insist you let me show you one of the most historic and quirky cities we have to offer. It would be a delight, I assure you.

        • Same offer goes from here, my friend! Of course, we’re smack-dab in the middle of America’s breadbasket (meaning lots of fields for crops and such), but we’re close enough for quick side trips to big cities, too!

  5. Great pictures! My maiden name is Mckelvin. My great great great grandmother was Irish. Me and my kids have always celebrated St. Patties day. In fact every year my 30 year old son and his friends attends Long Island’s big St. Patties day celebration every year. Only 2 black people were there including my son. I do believe many people have some Irish heritage. I sure do!

    • You, too, Tanya? That doesn’t surprise me, you know. If Irish is second only to German in lineage in the U.S., there’s bound to be lots of folks we might not expect to be Irish who really are. We’re all so interconnected — just knowing how many “strangers” are now “friends,” thanks to blogging, amazes me!

    • Love that comment, Dawn — I’ll have to have Domer take more photos when he does something interesting downtown. I imagine people are tired of looking at downstate’s corn and soybeans — of course, we do feed the world, so there’s that!

  6. I love the green river, the sudden. I might’ve taken a swim, I think. The dude with the dog–now that is awesome. Trump! I’d go mess around there, I think. *nods* Give him a lollipop or something.

  7. My son lives in Indiana about an hour from Chicago. His friends went in to see the river and posted pics online. Pretty cool!

    • How wonderful, Suzi! Our sons have never met, but imagine them living in such close proximity. Now, if you ever make it over this way, you must give me a call!

      • We planned to be out that way late summer or early fall, but now we’re thinking of going out West and just flying them in over the Holidays.

  8. I took the Chicago Architectural tour on the river with my sister a few years ago and we loved it! Loved that city. Loved the people. How fun that they dye the river. I’m “green” with envy that you got to enjoy this – but tickled pink for you.

    • Thank you, Barb. One of these days, I’ll make Domer take me so I can see it all for myself. Pictures are great, but as you indicated, being there is more than half the fun (and being surrounded by all that Irishness would delight me to no end!!)

  9. Beautiful. I’ve been to Chicago many times and I’ve never seen this sight. Happy St. Patrick’s Day. You should spend it by seeing the film, “Brooklyn,” if you haven’t already seen it. You’ll enjoy the Irish landscapes. Plus, it’s a great story.

    • It’s on my list, Monica — thanks for the recommendation! Did your daughter get to partake any of the St. Paddy’s traditions? She’s still in the Windy City, right?

      • Yes, she’s still in Chicago. I’m not sure if she saw the river turn green. She’s been so busy getting read for her trip to Europe which is imminent. She’s going to Scotland, among other places, to see the land of her favorite book and TV series, Outlander.
        By the way, are you still getting notifications of my blog postings?

        • Sounds like an outstanding adventure for her!! Don’t you wish you could tag along?!! No, I don’t think I am getting notifications. I usually just have your site bookmarked so I can stop by regularly. Did I do something wrong??

    • Christy!! ‘Tis great seeing you here, my friend! Glad the dude with the dog brought a smile to your face — Happy St. Pat’s Day right back atcha!!

  10. We’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, aren’t we? Great pictures from Domer! Thank you for sharing. I think it’s great that we can take a break from the seriousness of life and do something celebratory like DYEING AN ENTIRE RIVER GREEN!

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