To the Ryans of Ryan’s Hope, there were but two things that were sacrosanct: family and Saint Patrick’s Day. The former was celebrated daily (even when vehement disagreements sometimes kept the relations from seeing eye-to-eye) and the latter every March 17.
Ryan’s Hope: Saint Patrick’s Days Past
If there was one thing that you can’t count on, aside from Johnny and Maeve Ryan putting out a prized spread and putting on one heck of a show, it was that the holiday would never be dull.
1976: Ryan’s Hope’s first onscreen observance of Saint Patrick’s Day begins with Maeve Ryan and co. dancing a traditional Irish jig (accompanied by Kathleen Ryan on the violin) and ends with Jack Fenelli tearing out of the public house after yet another set-to with his lady love’s father. In between, Frank Ryan goes out of his way to emotionally wound Delia Ryan, who in turn arranges a romantic rendezvous for herself and Roger Coleridge.
1977: This Day of Days is marred by Pat Ryan’s decision to forgo marrying Faith Coleridge and instead wed a pregnant Delia. Elsewhere a chagrined Jack learns that he can’t have his marriage to a heavily pregnant Mary annulled without statements from two witnesses who heard him expressing his desire not to have a child prior to the wedding.
At Ryan’s Bar, Frank recounts the exploits of snake expeller extraordinaire Saint Patrick, and Maeve is hoisted onto the bar top so that she may sing ‘Danny Boy.” And just like that, a (nearly annual) tradition is born.
1978: The more things change, the more they stay the same. This year it’s Rae Woodard rather than Delia playing spoiler for Frank and Jillian Coleridge…though Dee is still up to her scheming best. This Saint Patrick’s Day, she’s faking blindness to play on Pat’s sympathies.
1979: Horror of horrors, green beer isn’t on tap at Ryan’s Bar and Maeve – who barely makes it home from the airport in time to greet the revelers – doesn’t croon ‘Danny Boy.’
Ryan’s Hope: Latter-Day Saint Patrick’s Celebrations
1980: There’s drama aplenty at the Ryan family’s shamrock decorated shindig – courtesy of a fit to be tied Kimberly Harris – and over at the upscale Crystal Palace restaurant where Delia is menaced by an escaped gorilla. As per usual, Maeve serenades the guests…including absentee son Pat who’s phoned home, especially for the marque moment.
1981: It’s all here. The corned beef, the streamers, Maeve singing, and lots and lots of unrest. Jack is dead set on believing the worst of Siobhan’s husband, Joe Novak, and discontented Little John does a runner.
1982: More of the same, made notable for serving as the TV debut of future China Beach and CSI star Marg Helgenberger; she’s the third actress to play Siobhan Ryan Novak on Ryan’s Hope.
1983: While ‘Danny Boy’ is warbled and Delia thieves a wad of cash from Jillian’s purse – with the intention of framing Little John who’s been displaying delinquent behaviors – Joe visits with Mafioso Mr. Brahm (special guest star Jerry Orbach).
1984: Ryan’s Bar may be a bombed-out shell, but that doesn’t prevent the residents of Riverside from rallying together and staging the establishment’s traditional Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. In a rousing display of neighborly affection, Johnny and Maeve are presented with $40,000 with which they’re encouraged to, “rebuild, remodel, and renew.”
The Final Saint Patrick’s Day Celebrations
1987: Brigit of Kildare, Saint Patrick’s similar exalted contemporary is given lip service when (no longer so little) John gifts his lady love her namesake cross. Old standard ‘Danny Boy’ gets its due, but another Irish song is belted at top decibel to drown out the marital squabbles of Ryan Fenelli and Rick Hyde. Siobhan, Joe, and their son, Sean, take their leave of Riverside; their exits will be short-lived.
1988: In an egregious example of blasphemy, Joseph Hardy, Ryan’s Hope executive producer allows a fadeout mid-‘Danny Boy.’ Luckily, an encore performance is had when Maeve visits an ailing Johnny at Riverside Hospital.