Are Irish eyes smiling or frowning on the way Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day? ​Brian O'Donovan, host of A Celtic Sojourn, joined Boston Public Radio to dish on the difference.

Originally a religious holiday celebrated with mass (often in Gaelic) and traditional music, St. Patrick's Day took on a life of its own after the Irish diaspora in the United States.

"As is often the case with cultural holidays of various ethnicities, they're often celebrated more energetically outside of the country of origin for good reason than they would be in the country itself," O'Donovan said. 

And how about green beer, leprechaun hats, and chocolate gold coins—where did those come from? 

"Like anything in America, they glommed on to it and made it commercial," Brian explained.

"The Americans started having fun with it, as Americans do," he continued. "The Irish looked across—this is even after I left Ireland, I don't think the two things are related—started looking across to the U.S. and saying 'Man, they're having such fun with this holiday. What the heck is wrong with us? Let's import back into Ireland some of the fun American shave with St. Patrick's Day," he said.

Unexpectedly, some of these "Irish" traditions—which began in the United States—have made it back across the Atlantic.

"Today, even in small towns where there were never parades before, there were never shamrock decorations in the gaudy way Americans have created the shamrock image, green hats, the fake leprechaun hats," O'Donovan said. "Now you see that!"

To hear more from Brian O'Donovan, tune in to his full interview on Boston Public Radio above.