Financial records of St. Patrick’s Day 1939 and St. Patrick’s Day 2008 from the Peter McManus Café in Chelsea (the bar is operated by Peter’s grandson, “Jamo”; great-grandson Justin recently represented the McManuses in a corned beef cook-off at the Armory). Says Holy Cross history professor Edward T. O’Donnell, author of Land of Promise: The Story of the Irish in America: “St. Patrick’s Day has never been bigger—it’s marketing, but also the Irish-culture renaissance that started in the seventies, a ‘white people have roots too’ thing.”
In 1939, St. Patrick’s Day was a nonevent. Bar receipts for March 17 (a Friday) totaled $112.25—$6.55 less than the previous Sunday.
The bar earned $3,338.75 in credit-card receipts—and more than $10,000 total—last Monday. The holiday is the McManuses’ most profitable day of the year.