Legend has it that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland (although actually, scientists say Ireland was always snake-free). But in today’s Ireland, the slithery devils are back. As The New York Times reports, the crap economy is the culprit:

During the Celtic Tiger boom, snakes became a popular pet among the Irish nouveaux riches, status symbols in a country famous for its lack of indigenous serpents. But after the bubble burst, many snake owners could no longer afford the cost of food, heating and shelter, or they left the country for work elsewhere. Some left their snakes behind or turned them loose in the countryside, leading to some startling encounters.

Read the rest of the article for more. In honor of the day, here’s one of the best protest songs that has ever been written, by the great and unjustly neglected (in the U.S., at least) Irish punk band, Stiff Little Fingers (lyrics here). This ought to wake you up!

Kathleen Geier

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee