Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

So…I forgot about St. Patrick’s Day amid COVID-19 concerns March 18, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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In March 2015, friends posted shamrocks in my yard on St. Patrick’s Day. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


IF LEPRECHAUNS REALLY EXISTED, perhaps we could dispatch them into the U.S. with their lucky charms. Oh, never mind. Travel bans went into effect at midnight March 16 keeping native leprechauns from entering the U.S. in efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

My apologies to all you Irish readers. I forgot yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day. My mind has been elsewhere—on family indirectly affected by the coronavirus, on a work project, on anything but this day that honors St. Patrick.


Irish pride shows on the town water tower.


So here I am, a day late, sharing photos I took in late January while passing through Kilkenny. That would be Minnesota. Not Ireland.


Kilkenny’s gathering spot, Murphy’s Pub.


Kilkenny, a community of around 130 in Le Sueur County, doesn’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Not on March 17 anyway. Rather, they celebrate Half-way to St. Paddy’s Day in September with a parade, car show, “World Famous Toilet Bowl Races” (don’t ask) and more.


A distant view of the Kilkenny, Minnesota water tower.


My recent drive through Kilkenny yielded minimal photos. I focused mostly on the Irish angle—the water tower and the local pub. I expect St. Patrick’s Day in Kilkenny was rather quiet this year given the state-mandated closure of all bars and restaurants by 5 pm Tuesday and continuing until March 27. Those establishments can still deliver and offer take-out, just not dine-in. But it’s not like you can order a mug of green beer or a shot of Irish whiskey and drive or walk away (which is a good thing).


Another view of Murphy’s Pub in Kilkenny.


It’s to the point where I can’t remember all the closures and cancellations that are happening. But, they are countless and, in Minnesota, include movie theaters, museums, craft breweries, bowling alleys and much more. Even the Mall of America has closed. Not that that affects me. I’ve never been there.


There he is. Now I see the leprechaun.


As I wrote this late Tuesday afternoon, the number of positive coronavirus cases in Minnesota stood at 60. None in my county yet. So perhaps a leprechaun did fly into Minnesota prior to the travel ban and passed through Rice County with his lucky charms while en route to Kilkenny.

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


8 Responses to “So…I forgot about St. Patrick’s Day amid COVID-19 concerns”

  1. I am thinking that the leprechaun has a magic gate and comes and goes as they darn please! Luckily people.😊 They a also throw coins that is where the lucky penny poem came from. How do I know so much about them? Well…it is secret.😊
    Looks like a bunch of snow on the ground. I thought you guys got a warm snap.
    Eyes are closing as I am typing the exhaustion has finally hit.
    Stay safe and healthy.

    • Hmmmm, I didn’t know that about lucky coins. Now I’m going to start searching for pennys.

      As far as the snow, yes, most of it is gone. I took these photos nearly two months ago while in Kilkenny.

      Thank you for your wishes.

  2. valeriebollinger Says:

    Wow, I like that water tower. So much happens in a day it’s hard to keep track of them.

  3. Littlesundog Says:

    I can’t even keep up with all of the closings and changes for people in the workforce. I am thankful to be where I am – on the outskirts of town with plenty of country to roam. This morning I made my raw dogfood mix for Lollipop and Oscar, and I’ll go out to the barn in a bit to cleanup the chicken coop a bit before the next onslaught of rain. Keeping busy helps to keep anxiety at bay. I’m not so worried about us here, but I wonder what this will all mean for our country and world. I think of you often… so far away, yet very connected as friends. Be well and keep safe.

  4. Gunny Says:

    Irish in both name and DNA plus many other European groups (Norway, German, Pole, English, Welch, Scots, Scotch-Irish – I am going to run out of ink here soon!). Nothing warms the heart like friends sharing pints of Guinness or shots of Old Bushmills or Jameson’s, wearing o the green (not my favorite color) but Saint Patrick’s color was blue which is my favorite). Happy Saint Patrick’s Day (belated – but better late than never!)

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