SOMETIMES I WISH I WAS IRISH. DONT GET ME WRONG, I AM 100% PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN OF ITALIAN DESCENT. IT'S JUST SOMETIMES I THINK TO MYSELF IF I HAD TO COME BACK AND DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN, MAYBE IT WOULD BE AS AN IRISHMAN. I EVEN TRIED TO JOIN THE LOCAL EMERALD SOCIETY WHEN I WAS IN THE FIRE ACADEMY BY "CHANGING" MY LAST NAME, BUT THATS A STORY FOR ANOTHER DAY. THERE IS JUST SOMETHING ABOUT THE BEAUTY OF THE COUNTRY, FOOD, DRINK AND THE CAMARADERIE AMONG THE IRISH FIREFIGHTERS. THE HISTORY OF THE IRISH AND CIVIL SERVICE GOES BACK A LONG WAYS, AND WITH ST. PATRICK'S DAY JUST AROUND THE CORNER LET'S TAKE A LOOK INTO SOME OF THEIR TRADITIONS....
The Great Potato Famine of the 1800's resulted in a massive immigration of Irish to America. When they arrived to this land of opportunity, they were met with a great deal of discrimination. Many of the factories and shops had signs that read "NINA", or"No Irish Need Apply". With no other choice, they took the jobs that were both dangerous and dirty. Thus the tradition of the Irish in the fire service and police force was born.
The Irish brought with them many traditions when they immigrated to America, including the pipes and drums. It was not uncommon to lose several firefighters at one job and at their funerals the pipes would play. The sound is known to bring grown men to tears and soon non-Irish were requesting them at their loved ones funerals.
The Irish also started Emerald Societies amongst firefighters and police officers, the first one organized was in New York City in 1953 with the NYPD. These societies, named after the Emerald Isle (Ireland), were formed to promote and preserve the values and traditions of the Irish. It is an organization which not only serves as a reminder of the hardships their ancestors overcame, but raises money for charities and is deeply involved with the community. Many people believe we have the Irish to thank for organized fire and police departments. So to all my Irish brothers and sisters, Slainte!
The 555 Fitness crew also knows the importance and history of the Irish in the fire service and designed a limited edition St. Patrick's Day t shirt to commemorate them. All proceeds from the sale of this shirt go towards the mission of Firefighter Wellness Nationwide. Head over to the 555 Fitness page, and hurry up because they are almost sold out!