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Posted at 5:02 PM ET, 03/17/2009

Ronald Reagan and the Unicorn

By Fritz Hahn

Pat Troy, owner of Ireland's Own, on stage in full "Unicorn Song" regalia. (Fritz Hahn/

1:45 p.m.: It wouldn't be St. Patrick's Day in Old Town Alexandria without hearing Pat Troy sing at his pub Ireland's Own. For 29 years, he's been getting a multigenerational crowd to clap along to the chorus of "The Wild Rover" and leading them to impersonate chimpanzees, geese, elephants and alligators during "The Unicorn Song" while wearing a unicorn headdress. At lunch, Ireland's Own adds a heated tent in its rear courtyard and offers meals to 150 people at a time, and every seating is sold out. There's a stage for live music, and when Troy takes the stage, everyone joins in.

Eric Usinger, Bobby Hoelzer, Larry Hoelzer and Bill Mahoney (from left), sporting their Reagan's Corner t-shirts in front of a wall of photos of Ronald Reagan. (Fritz Hahn/

Inside the pub, a group of far-flung friends is getting ready to party. "We always celebrate St. Patrick's Day together," explains Larry Hoelzer, who flew up from Florida for the occasion. "We've been coming here since 2002, and we've had such a good time that we always make this our St. Patrick's Day home." He's joined by brother Bobby Hoelzer, who drove down from New York, Bill Mahoney, who flew to D.C. from Buffalo, and Eric Usinger, who also came down from New York. The group always sits in the same corner of the pub -- Reagan's Corner, named after the former president -- and they're wearing custom-made "Reagan's Corner" to show their spirit.

Speaking of the Gipper, 21 years ago today, he stopped in at Pat Troy's for a lunch of corned beef and cabbage and a pint of Harp. You can read more about the visit on Pat Troy's Web site.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | March 17, 2009; 5:02 PM ET
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Wow. 21 years ago Reagan stopped in at lunch - that's tradition. Had really awful service with attitude here and the unicorn song didn't lighten the wait and bar staff.

Posted by: h123 | March 17, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

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