I must confess to being a bit bemused by this whole St Patrick’s malarkey.
Don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against people enjoying themselves, though they’d find it difficult to do so in most of the “family safe” organised events around the country.
Why on earth do people want to be Irish? It’s not something to aspire to: you’re either Irish or you’re not. You can claim Irish descent all right, if you want to, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re not Irish. My grandmother was Austrian but I don’t aspire to claim any Austrian identity, because if i did I would be stuck with claiming English and French identities too. My lot are a mixed bunch. I claim Irishness because the male line of my family are all Irish, not to mention the minor fact that I was born here and have lived here all my life.
The great irony is that the more non-Irish try to be Irish, the less Irish they become. To identify with the Irish, you do not talk of leprechauns, drink flat pints of Guinness and never ever say “begorrah”. The only times I have ever heard the latter spoken, it was with a sense of irony and was usually a send-up of other people’s idea of Irishness. Wearing green is fine and dandy if you happen to be either on a golf course or trying to camouflage yourself. I’m not wearing anything green today, and in fact the predominant colour of my garb is blue. I’m not sure what that says about me?
To most real Irish the only significance of the day is that it’s a bank holiday, so they get off work. Those with kids may feel compelled to attend the local parade where they will be very lucky to escape a dose of pneumonia or worse. There are some who will see it as an excuse to go an the batter and get legless drunk, while those that don’t need an excuse will neck a few pints anyway.
Probably the biggest single mystery about the day is why any other country is involved anyway. There isn’t an international celebration for Japan, France or Libya so why is there one for the Irish? We are, when all is said and done, just a small island between the Isle of Man and Newfoundland and I can guarantee that most of the millions wanting to be Irish today couldn’t even find us on the map.
There is one great aspect to the day though.
Those health nazis must be having conniptions and the amount of drink being taken.