A taste of magic

The Shamrock Shake is here to stay.

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Rusty Blazenhoff

The shamrock shake, created in 1967, sold only in Connecticut until its national debut in 1970.

Gianna Piroso, Staff Writer

Walking into the local McDonald’s as a bright-eyed six-year-old felt like a dream come true. I was immediately captivated by the sparkling—yet somewhat creepy—smiles of Ronald McDonald and his friends framed on the walls, and I studied each Happy Meal toy in the display case.

I would watch the workers rhythmically fill little boxes with fries as I waited for my mom to place our order. After what felt like an eternity for an impatient and eager child, our number was finally called, and I was handed a cup. A bright green milkshake with glowing, golden arches on the front: my first Shamrock Shake.

The beloved milkshake was first spun in 1967 by a McDonald’s owner, Hal Rosen. This Saint Patrick’s Day treat quickly became the fast-food chain’s “pot of gold” after appearing in McDonald’s locations across the country in 1970.

Although its original purpose was to honor Saint Patrick’s Day, the Shamrock Shake quickly became a symbol of giving back. In 1974, the Philadelphia Eagles, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc worked together to open the first-ever Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia using the sales from the Shamrock Shake.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities work with local McDonald’s restaurants to create a safe, comfortable place for families who travel to cities, like Philadelphia, for pediatric care to stay. Their programs provide rooms to stay in, transportation, meals, and social services. Today, they have over 1,000 programs around the world.

In 2010, McDonald’s took part in the annual tradition of dying the Chicago River green. A twenty-four feet tall “Shamrock Shake” was “poured” into the river on Saint Patrick’s Day. This fake shamrock spill was in honor of a $10,000 donation that went towards building a Ronald McDonald House in the city of Chicago. Do not worry, no rivers were harmed during this celebration!

For decades, the Shamrock Shake has filled March with spirit and life. From the original milkshake to the recent Oreo Shamrock McFlurry, the March dessert has been bringing people together throughout the United States.

“Ever since I was little, my family and I used to go to McDonald’s and get Shamrock Shakes, and this year, I’m having a competition with myself to see how many Shamrock Shakes I can eat in a month,” Gray Fullmer ‘24 said.

For those curious, Gray has enjoyed four green milkshakes so far this month!

“I love them. They’re great!” Ollie Staas ‘25 said.

While many love the annual special, some people have other opinions.

“I think the McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes are too green,” said Jinataye Diep ‘24.

“I’d be willing to try it, but I can’t tell if I’d be nervous or think it was really funny if it turned peoples’ mouths green,” Señora Bornancini said.

Fifty-two years following its release, the limited edition milkshake continues to steal McDonald’s customers’ hearts. If you have not yet, make sure you stop to buy a Shamrock Shake before the end of March. Whether it tastes awful or incredible, the magic of the shake is fueled by its history of love and tradition.