When Angel left Sunnydale for the mean streets of Los Angeles, one of the perks he encountered was meeting up with fellow Irishman Allen Francis Doyle. Half human, half Brachen demon, Doyle was Angel’s connection to The Powers The Be. Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1970, Doyle received prophetic visions, usually of people in peril. His half-Brachen demon physiology grants him the ability to shift from normal human to demonic appearance (red eyes and green skin adorned with blue spikes), in which he has heightened sense of smell and superior strength. First seen in the Angel premier, “City of…” Doyle’s character was short lived when he heroically died to save other half-demons in the season one episode, “Hero.”
Though their time together was short, what might these Irishmen have done to celebrate one of the titular holidays of the Irish, St Patrick’s Day? Drinking would have definitely been on the agenda. Imbibing alcohol came from an old Irish legend. According to history, when in a local tavern, St. Patrick was served a cup of whiskey that was considerably less than full. Taking the opportunity to teach the town’s folk a lesson in generosity, he told the tavern owner that a monstrous devil was living in his cellar. That devil fed on the dishonesty of the owner. If the barkeep wanted to live, he had to change his ways. When he later returned to the tavern, he observed that the demon was all shriveled because of the owner’s generosity, as he filled his patrons’ glasses to over flowing. St. Patrick banished the demon and declared that everyone should have a drink on St. Patrick’s day, commemorating the demise of the creature. This custom is known as Pota Phadraig or Patrick’s Pot. The custom is known as “drowning the shamrock” because it is customary to float a leaf of the plant in the whiskey before downing the shot.
St. Patrick’s day wasn’t honored in America until 1737, when the first celebrated in Boston, Massachusetts, well before Angel would have come to American soil. The disgruntled son of a wealthy Irish merchant, Liam was turned into a vampire by Darla in 1753, adopting the name Angelus apparently when he went to kill his family, and his sister Katherine declared her brother an “angel” returned to her from death. After gypsies returned his soul in 1898, Angelus floundered between wanting his easy soulless existence and being tortured by the memories of the horrible things he’d done. After a brief encounter with Darla during the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900, Angelus left behind his soulless life forever and adopted the name Angel, signifying a new life.
Angel came to American in the early 20th century. We know from the series that he hadn’t spent much time with his fellow Irishmen until meeting Doyle more than a century later. It is not a stretch to think that the pair may have “drowned the shamrock” a time or two before Doyle’s death. While St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Ireland have a much stronger religious overtone, in America it is much more of a festive occasion, and it is unlikely that Angel – given his immortal and vampire nature – would have celebrated the occasion with any sort of religious fervor. But its possible that Angel donned the traditional green, in that we did see that he had dark green shirts in his wardrobe, as seen in S1’s “Eternity.” Traditionally, wearing green is a symbol of Ireland’s lush green farmlands.
After being seperated from his homeland for more than a century, I like to think that Angel enjoyed the short time he had with fellow Irishman Allen Francis Doyle, and that on occassion, they raised a pint or two to their homeland.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!