While I didn't grow up in a strictly Irish or even Catholic family, being Irish was always around, something to explain my red hair or to provide some conversation starter.
But today everybody's Irish. While the green beer is nice, I've always wondered if St. Patrick's Day was actually a good thing for those of us who call ourselves Irish. I suppose emulation is the best flattery, but I still think the green beads, feathers, and kiss me t-shirts are a little cheesy and over done. That is, if anyone's asking. There's more to being Irish than that.
It's great to look at Chicago though, full of green water, with Irish dancers on the local news shows, parades, and a party like the real ones on that little island across the ocean. Looks pretty fun to me.