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St Patrick's Day: I Feckin' Love It

by Sean Flynn
17 March 2013 10 Comments

St Paddy's day is more than Guiness and...well, not gonna lie, it's mostly Guiness, but it still dicks all over St George's Day. Dust off your ginger wig and get going...

Green Chicago River

Chicago Dyes Its River Green For St Paddy’s Day

St Patrick’s Day.

I love it. The whole schtick. I’m sorry, I just can’t help it.

Being Irish on St Patrick’s day is the best thing in the world; it’s like a Leprechaun hanging up a drunk Santa and then beating him like a piñata until all the presents fall out. It’s that tipsy-topsy-turvy day when the world seems full of vicarious Paddies.

The parade, the pipe bands, the wearing of the green, the sinking of the black. From Buenos Aires Hurling Club to the Irish steak house in Vladivostok, on corners of faraway foreign streets stand taverns that are forever Ireland.

Does this annual outbreak of soggy patriotism come from a hooky sentimental ‘far-from-hearth-and-home’ cawboguery? Some of it, sure and what’s wrong with that? If the Irish at home are embarrassed by the excesses of emigrant and diasporic Paddywhackery, I’m sure – as the money from the next generation of leavers starts to roll in again –  they’ll find it in their hearts to indulge us in this one day of exuberance.

Of course, there will always be cynics out there who don’t buy in to the Irish project. Recruiters like the gentleman from Australia who sparked a minor diplomatic incident after posting a request for bricklayers with an old school NINA (No Irish Need Apply) proviso; it could have been a story from the 19th century except for the fact that notice board used by the recruiter was the online market Gumtree .

Or maybe the boo-boys come in the form of our London Mare (pardon  me, Mayor; what with Cheltenham and Rebekah Brooks, the gee-gees have  been on my mind a lot this past few days).  The ‘Johnson’ we installed in City Hall (and I use the term advisedly) has been roundly condemned by the Irish community for a quote attributed to him whereby he is understood to have intimated that St Patrick’s Day celebrations in London were ‘lefty crap’.

The Irish Post wasted no time in offering the community’s assessment and they were on surer ground on this matter than they were to prove later with their coverage of the President Higgins visit.

From figures as unlikely as Hitchcock the film director or the Chartist O’Connor, the impact of Irish cultural life on Britain is immense and largely unacknowledged

Labour Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone told myself and another Irish journalist Peter Kelly that the Post’s front page was a big favourite at his HQ offices. Boris had difficulty getting the Irish vote before this particular ejaculation so it’s safe to say that since his aforementioned ethnic prognostications, it’s not a demographic he’ll be going after with any enthusiasm in the upcoming election. He did apologise to be fair to the posh buffoon but by then, the Irish had stopped listening.

Historically in any event, the Irish community has never really been very fertile ground for the Conservatives. The Irish were on the side of labour and the left and it was an Irish Fenian wrote The Red Flag and Irish labourers sided with the Jews and the Communists against Moseley’s Blackshirts in the Battle of Cable Street. What we gave to the Tories was their name; taken from the Island pirates on the Donegal coast.

So I pay no mind to the detractors, or ‘Fuck the begrudgers’ (as they say in the ‘old country’; I’m now so long gone that I can officially call it that). Let them have their sour say because this week, the Niagra Falls, the Empire State and the Leaning Tower of Pisa are all lit-up green; from Obama and Ali to Guevara and De Niro, the Irish are everywhere.

When I found out Zorro was purportedly inspired by an Irish Mexican rebel, it only cemented my deep rooted conviction that absolutely everyone is Irish, they either just don’t know it yet (or they are in denial about it). The Irish Mexican connection doesn’t begin and end with Anthony Quinn and the Northerner’s nickname for the ‘Free State’ south of the border.

But if I’m honest, I’m also guilty of a bit of chauvinistic needling. I must confess to sometimes taking more pleasure than is modest from informing English people that the first woman to be elected to the House of Commons was an imprisoned member of Sinn Féin or that Amnesty International’s co-founder had been chief of staff in the IRA or even that a Fenian designed the submarine and a Mayo man invented the torpedo.

From figures as unlikely as Hitchcock the film director or the Chartist O’Connor, the impact of Irish cultural life on Britain is immense and largely unacknowledged. And let’s not forget Irish soldiering. WellingtonKitchener and Montgomery all had Irish heritage (even if they weren’t given to advertising it).

Irishness is not the social stigma you thought it was. In fact, it’s practically a prerequisite of establishment power: after all, your very posh Chancellor is an Irish Baronet and your old Etonian Premier is descended from a Waterford strumpet.

In Ireland, the relationship with England casts a long historical shadow and because of this, it always amazes us how little people in Britain seem to understand of their closest neighbouring nation. Maybe (and I’m guessing this would annoy Boris) we should be agitating for a recognised Irish History Month here in London;  to follow the example of the Irish community in Leeds or our Black brothers and sisters who celebrate Black history in October and the Gypsy Roma Traveller community in June.

We Irish are perennially aware the effects of Norman and then English intervention on our culture but make no mistake, that traffic went two ways and consequently, one rarely has to dig too deep to find some Irish connection whether by commerce, marriage or soldiery; Irishness is never too far away in Britain, even if sometimes its invisibility is a product of our near ubiquity.

And that ubiquity goes from the bottom to the very top. This country’s current Chancellor of the Exchequer for example is heir to the Irish Baronetcy of Ballentaylor in County Tipperary. And recently, the veracity of this Hibernium Ubique premise was keenly underlined when a friend drew my attention to the lineage of the British Prime Minister David Cameron whose ancestry boasts an Irish actress and courtesan in the form of William IV’s mistress Dorothea Jordan.

So Britain, rejoice and embrace your inner Leprechaun. Don’t be ashamed to admit that your nanna ran away with a navvy or that your Granddad fell for an Irish serving girl. Irishness is not the social stigma you thought it was. In fact, it’s practically a prerequisite of establishment power: after all, your very posh Chancellor is an Irish Baronet and your old Etonian Premier is descended from a Waterford strumpet.

Indulge your inner Irishman and read these

Chris O’Dowd Interviewed: “I Had A Friend That Was A Brick.”

10 Things We’ll See At The 2012 Six Nations

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image descriptionCOMMENTS

The Fat Bloke 11:00 am, 17-Mar-2012

No, it's a Hallmark holiday now. Will not be participating.

Johnny L 1:25 pm, 17-Mar-2012

Arh yes, a Saint's Day. Hmm, let's see. Oh yeah, we were supposed to go to mass on Saint's Days weren't we? That paragraph must have been edited out along with Muhammad Ali's from Clare.

PB 3:02 pm, 17-Mar-2012

Johnny L......You only have to go to Mass on a Holy Day of Obligation....jackass!

Paul 5:27 pm, 17-Mar-2012

If Ireland/Irishness is so great, why doesn't the author live there? I'll tell you why - it's a shithole. I know because I live there. Why do Irish people always get so uppity and faux patriotic as soon as they move abroad? If you really think Ireland's that great then why dont you stay there and pay your taxes in the 'ol sod?!! The same toichach ar La fuckwits, hell bent on ramming their Irishness down their host countries throats are the same muppetts who'd sooner live in downtown Beirut than return to Ireland. And dont give me that 'enforced emmigration/no jobs in Ireland' bullshit, there's still thousands of jobs in Ireland, it's just the Irish now think they're above most of them.

Wee Pat 9:43 pm, 17-Mar-2012

Sinn Fein, I.R.A., Fenian, rebel. What does any of the aforementioned have to do with St Patricks Day? A day that belongs to ALL the people that live on the Island of Ireland, including a sizeable number (especially in Northern Ireland) of inhabitants who have absolutely no empathy for such a blinkered and sectarian outlook on Irishness. Congratulations you proved Boris' point for him..Pro Sinn Fein lefty crap!

Johnny L 1:54 am, 18-Mar-2012

St. Patrick's Day began in Ireland as a Catholic holiday, but over the years--particularly in the last twenty--it has become a festival as much as a holy day. Though the first parades in the United States were begun by Irish immigrants to fight for equal rights, the St. Patrick's Day parades one sees today in Ireland are as a result of American influence. In America, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated with parades and feasts of corned beef and cabbage, and among many, with extensive drinking (drowning the shamrock). To the Irish in Ireland, however, the day is first a feast and holy day, celebrated with a week-long tradition of festivities. Mass on St. Patrick's Day is de rigueur, and if one stops at a pub for a pint or two afterward, it's not an uncommon occurrence. But there's no influence to drink more because of the holiday. In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is treated like any other saint's day. Only thing Irish in the 69th is the Wolfhound.

Martin O'Brien 11:47 pm, 19-Mar-2012

Paul, If there are "thousands of jobs in Ireland,it's just the Irish now think they're above most of them" then why is there 1 person departing every 7 minutes?(Source; Irish Times Survey, released last week) And what host countries have you experience of "Tiocfaidh ar La fuckwits"? I'm in Australia and have'nt even heard or seen the phrase until a fuckwit like you printed it. Troll get fcuked

Frontwheel 2 5:24 pm, 21-Mar-2012

Why the need to mention St Georges day? As an English man living in Ireland it amazes me that all the Irish seem to do is compare themselves constantly with Enlgand,and then if the result doesn't suit,revisit the past and blame all woes on England.This Island needs to grow a spine and start looking forward. St Pats day was always better in London too,its fucking shit over here.

Bacon cheese burger 8:35 pm, 17-Mar-2013

Dayum straight, frontwheel

boreoff 6:15 pm, 19-Mar-2013

Frontwheel is correct. it's almost the same as Brian Moore droning on about football in every rugby commentary he does. why would you think the English give a shit about st George's day, let alone whether the Irish (or anyone else) think their holiday is better?

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