The 25th Anniversary of Peterson's St. Patrick's Day Pipe

Savinelli New Tobacco Pipes for 2023

Peterson's St. Patrick's Day 2023 pipes will be available beginning Tuesday, January 31st at 6:00 p.m. EST.

All kinds of pirates rampaged around the British Isles in the fifth century. The Roman Empire was disintegrating, and Roman rule had all but evaporated, leaving only roads and dilapidated structures behind. Marauders became a common threat, raiding homes and estates in different lands for anything of value, including people. Slavery was profitable.

Peterson's St. Patrick's Day 2023

Some of the fiercest pirates were Irish, which is a strange fact for us in modern times when we most often associate piracy with the Spanish Main and the waters of the Caribbean, and the Irish with gracious hospitality and convivial comradery. It's hard for us to imagine the ancestors of the friendly people we now know attacking settlements and ships, crying in pre-English Proto-Goidelic, "Top o' the mornin' to you, lads, now kindly empty your pockets and walk the plank." However, the Danes are also wonderful people, and their history contains Vikings, so it happens. A climb through anyone's family tree will reveal some rough bark and twisted branches.

St. Patrick's Kidnapping and Return

In approximately 402 AD, Ireland's King Niall of the Nine Hostages dispatched a raiding party to sail to the western coast of the British Isles and plunder what they could. The Irish had been conducting such raids for over a century, and they had experience. They sailed into a small cove in the night and crept to an estate in the village of Bannavem Taburniae, finding little resistance in the servants or the one 16-year-old resident, whose parents were elsewhere that night.

The boy, named Maewyn Succat, was taken along with others and a cache of stolen loot, loaded into the hull of the ship, and transported to Ireland, where he spent the next six years as a slave before escaping and returning to his home. His parents were astonished and gratified to see him alive. He had relied on his Christian faith to sustain him through the ordeal. In a dream, he was delivered a letter, and as he read, he heard the cries of the Irish people beseeching him to return and walk among them. He left his family once again in 432 or 433 AD, traveling to Gaul, where he became an ordained bishop, and returned to the land of his imprisonment as the missionary Patrick.

He would become one of three patron saints of Ireland. He tirelessly traveled the country, championing the rights of women and slaves and preaching the gospel. "So I live among barbarous tribes," he wrote in one of two surviving letters, "a stranger and exile for the love of God." It's said that he famously employed the Irish shamrock, with three leaves springing from a single stalk, in describing the Holy Trinity. The Irish people were already familiar with tripartite deities, having worshipped the goddess Brigid, who manifested as three sisters representing productivity, healing, and creativity, and Patrick's visual device helped people understand the workings of the Christian faith in a recognizable way.

Patrick's Saintly Work in Ireland

Peterson's St. Patrick's Day 2023

It was not easy work, as Patrick himself describes in one of his letters: "Daily I expect to be murdered or betrayed or reduced to slavery if the occasion arises. But I fear nothing, because of the promises of heaven." Patrick is credited with driving all the snakes from Ireland. However, Ireland never had snakes. It's an island — snakes can't get there, and there are no snakes in the fossil record of Ireland. Previously, during the last ice age, the region was covered in glaciers, and snakes don't much like the cold so they didn't visit. What Patrick drove from Ireland is a different kind of snake, according to contemporary views. It's thought that the story is a metaphor for Patrick having dispensed with the Druidic faith that had previously dominated Ireland and for popularizing Christianity throughout the land.

Patrick founded monasteries and churches throughout Ireland and initiated a spiritual change. He established early shifts in Ireland's identity, helping to transform it into the delightful Emerald Isle that we know today. St. Patrick has become an international figure, and he is celebrated throughout the western world, in the U.S. almost as much as in Ireland. The first St. Patrick's Day parade ever held took place in the U.S., in St. Augustine, Florida, on March 17, 1601. Then, in 1737, Irish soldiers serving in the British military staged another parade in New York City. Parades and celebrations have marked St. Patrick's Day for over 400 years.

St. Patrick has captured the imaginations and affection of millions — second only, perhaps, to St. Nicholas. St. Patrick is a powerful symbol of Ireland, and when the oldest continuously operating pipe factory in the world decided to release an annual series emblematic of its own Irish culture, St. Patrick's Day was a natural attraction.

Peterson's 2023 St. Patrick's Day Pipes

It has been 25 years since the first Peterson St. Patrick's Day pipe was completed, boxed, and sent to find its happy owner. Often in the past, green stains have illuminated the series, as green is associated with Ireland through its flag, its shamrocks, and its reputation as the Emerald Isle. This year brings more variety.

Produced in three classic Peterson finishes and available in a healthy number of Peterson's most popular shapes, this year's St. Patrick's Day pipe is accented exactly as the first in the series 25 years ago, with an acrylic ring in the colors of the Irish flag: Green, White, and Orange.

Savinelli New Tobacco Pipes for 2023

The return to the original tricolor accent was Glen Whelan's idea. Glen is the Director of Sales at Peterson; he started with the company almost twenty years ago, when he was 16, and his father worked for Peterson for 50 years, many of them as Factory Manager.

"I wanted to mark the occasion this year," says Glen. "It's 25 years since the first release of the St. Patrick's Day pipe, and when I look at Peterson collectors on social media or Mark Irwin's blog, the one release of St. Patrick's Day they all go back to and they all want to have in their collection is the first year with the tricolored acrylic ring. I thought the anniversary might be the most fitting time to revisit where we started. I've wanted to do a tricolored ring for quite a few years now, but I didn't want to use it except for a special occasion." The three bands of colored acrylic are bordered by brass, adding an understated, traditional tone, and together they provide elegant contrast against the briar, as well as easy recognizability.

"To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the series, we wanted to expand the selection to include smooths and sandblasts," says Sykes Wilford, CEO of Laudisi Enterprises, the parent company of Peterson." The majority of the series will be rusticated and unnumbered, but the smooth-finished pipes and the sandblasts are serialized out of 1,200. The total number is around 3200; however, it is a limited edition and they will not return.

"The unifying theme," says Sykes, "is the tricolor ring on the shank. The stems are black — acrylic for the rustications and ebonite for the blasts and smooths, so the color style matches the first year. Peterson did a shape specific to the series that year, but we're doing a variety of shapes."

Premium Pipe Bags of Irish Tweed

The 1,200 serialized pipes include pipe socks made of genuine Irish tweed. "Just to elevate the smooths and sandblasts," says Glen, "we've added the Donegal tweed pouches with the St. Patrick's Day 2023-motif leather patch. We couldn't include them with the rustic pipes without excessively increasing the price, but for the blasts and the smooths, they're something special."

Peterson's St. Patrick's Day 2023

A leather patch on the bag heralds the Peterson pipe inside. "On the patch," says Glen, "is Peterson of Dublin, and it's stamped with the St. Patrick's Day 2023 logo, the same as on the pipe. It isn't a universal pouch like we typically use."

Ireland is famous for tweeds. The weavers of Donegal have employed local wool for centuries and built a global reputation for quality. "I think there are a lot of similarities between pipe production and tweed production," says Glen. "They're using machines probably of the same era as ours." Just as at Peterson, Donegal weavers use traditional techniques and tools. "It makes a nice connection between Peterson pipe manufacturing and tweed manufacturing, beyond just both being Irish. We sourced the tweed from Kerry Woolen Mills, a 260-year-old Irish manufacturer of fabrics, one of just a handful of textile mills left in Ireland. We began sharing stories and comparing production. They have staff that started after high school and are almost ready to retire — it's a job for life for many, just like here at Peterson. I think those bags are a nice addition to the series, and that people will enjoy that connection as well."

Quality and Selection

"Originally," says Sykes, "we were going to do all rustics. But we started experimenting — making samples, applying other finishes — just to see what would work and what wouldn't and what we liked and didn't, because we have fun jobs and can do that stuff. We can make and smoke our ideas, which is even cooler than it sounds. That's how the idea for the 25th anniversary of the St. Patrick's Day special series came together: asking the guys in the factory to work out some finishes and choosing the best."

There was considerable experimentation with sandblasts and a few different smooth colors. "We settled on this exceptional terracotta stain, and that's when things really came together." The presentation doesn't stop with the pipe, though. Sykes is particularly pleased with the tweed pipe bags. "Normally, bags are an afterthought to pipe smokers, and they require little thought from us, but it's exciting to use another handcrafted item from another small, venerable old Irish company to house these pipes for the 25th anniversary of St. Patrick's Day."

The Series in Context

Josh Burgess, Managing Director of Peterson, says that the design departure of this year's St. Patrick's Day pipe represents the opportunity inherent in special series. "I think that different sorts of releases are different in important ways. The Pipe of the Year is a premium product. It features the very best that we can do, and it usually hearkens back to a classical Peterson shape, something from the patent era or early 20th century.

Peterson's St. Patrick's Day 2023

"We think about St. Patrick's Day differently. Peterson, in most ways, is a very traditional pipe. And that's great; I love that about Peterson: you can see one across the room and instantly recognize it. But I think on St. Patrick's Day, we get to have a little more fun and step outside the traditional box. It's a real celebration of Irishness, and we feel a lot of creativity around that release. You may have seen that showcased in recent years with things like the green sandblasted pipes, or with green stems, which we wouldn't do for other releases, with the possible exception of Halloween, which offers similar creative opportunities."

"Peterson's aesthetic is very old," says Sykes, "and we've been very careful to not go poking too hard at it, like doing too much with weird stem or bowl colors. We don't think that fits what Peterson is. But we give ourselves one or two big exceptions to that rule."

This year's St. Patrick's Day pipe is more conservative than past iterations. "When I think about my own pipe collecting," says Josh, "there are certain seasonal releases that I want to get every year, and sometimes those are things like St. Patrick's Day, and sometimes they're things like Pipe of the Year. I can see the same collector liking both. I know that for many people, the St. Patrick's Day pipe is a really special commemorative event that they pursue every year."

The St. Patrick's Day pipe, says Sykes, "has been the biggest limited edition series for Peterson for many, many years. It's something like seven or eight percent of Peterson's annual production. Also, Peterson has for a long time very much played with its Irish heritage, and of course St. Patrick's Day fits nicely with that."

What particularly appeals to the staff at Peterson is the opportunity presented by this series to flex their creativity and extend their performance. "We really get to experiment and play with St. Patrick's Day," says Sykes. "It's one of the places where Peterson can frolic outside of the boundaries of what we normally think is appropriate for Peterson. We're usually very conservative with Peterson's aesthetic, making sure that the pipes are consistent with what was experienced 100 years ago since we think that's very important to Peterson's identity. But St. Patrick's Day: we just get to play."

Savinelli New Tobacco Pipes for 2023

Peterson's St. Patrick's Day 2023 pipes will be available beginning Tuesday, January 31st at 6:00 p.m. EST.

Available Finishes: Rusticated • Smooth • Sandblasted

Available Shapes: XL17 • B42• 608 • 86 • XL02 • 6 • 68 • 85 • XL90 • X105 • 264 • 268 • 406 • 80s • 701 • 230 • 150 • XL14 • XL13 • 103 • 53 • 65 • X220 • 338 • 999 • 69 • 120 • 408 • 107 • 124 • 05 • 606 • 15 • 221 • 304 • 03 • D20 • 01 • 127 • XL11


  • History St Patrick: Kidnapped by Pirates and Enslaved at 16
  • World History Encyclopedia Saint Patrick
  • Category:   Pipe Line
    Tagged in:   Peterson


      • Rob Guttridge on January 27, 2023
      • Well now. A pipe bag made of real Irish tweed is a nice thing indeed. I'll be looking forward to that! thank you for the alert, Chuck.

      • Stephen on January 29, 2023
      • Thanks, Chuck, for yor St. Pat's story. He is also the patron saint of engineers and probably inspired Charles Peterson to invent the P-lip. Will any of his namesake pipes have the P-lip?

      • Toby on January 29, 2023
      • Well written, informative and excellent research into the patron Saint Patrick. I wish all of those well who attempt to obtain one of these gorgeous pipes. I love the retro styling and band choice. Keep up the good work sir.

      • Doug on January 29, 2023
      • What is that wonderful shape in the top of the image with the smooth finish?

      • cjmckay1 on January 29, 2023
      • Where can I get a 2023 Peterson Saint Patrick’s day pipe

      • Rick on January 29, 2023
      • When and where will the 2023 St Patrick’s pipe be available?

      • Andy Wike on January 30, 2023
      • @Cjmckay1 & @Rick Peterson's St. Patrick's Day 2023 pipes will be available at beginning Tuesday, January 31st at 6:00 p.m. EST.

      • BoK on January 30, 2023
      • Will it be available on the .eu site at the same date/time ?

      • David L Morgan on February 2, 2023
      • It took me from 6pm until 8:30 pm est to access the web site! Then all the smooth finishes were sold out.It’s 2023, time to update your server if you’re going to continue with these nonsensical marketing ploy -drops-

      • Ambush on February 2, 2023
      • Chuck,I’m trying to figure out how many Peterson SPD 2023 sandblast and smooth pipes were made? Is it 1200 combined, or 1200 of each sandblast and smooth?

      • Johnny Chapman on April 2, 2023
      • I desired to purchase a smooth and sandblast finish when they were available….could not access the web page…when I could none available except rustic finish 🤮…didn’t even get to see what they look like….I guess I’m SOL. !!….make more SPD 2023 pipes. !!

      • John Schantz on April 2, 2023
      • Johnny Chapman,Smoking Pipes had a few smooth pipes left.

      • John Schantz on April 2, 2023
      • Just don’t pick the ones I’m looking at😉

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