Whether you love it or hate it, it’s hard to avoid St Patrick’s Day.
This year, for the second year running, it’s a Covid Paddy’s Day with only virtual events to keep us entertained.
But it’s our national holiday and one that was so often so enjoyable. Here’s hoping next year can be back to some normality.
For the year that’s in it, however, we look back on the things that for so many are synonymous with the day.
Green jumpers, shamrock, big parades, small parades, pints and great sport all feature. And are all badly missed!
- Rooting out a green jumper, any green jumper that you might have. This works particularly well on middle-aged men.
- If you could get a big fist full of shamrock to pin to your jumper, you’re going really well. If you couldn’t find shamrock, then clover would do. If not clover, any sort of green-coloured weed would suffice.
- A green hat, that you bought ages ago in Carroll’s Gift Shop on O’Connell Street, was appropriate for the parade or the pub but not for mass.
- Not all parades went on forever and seemed to last all day full of stuff you weren’t interested in. Some of them were great craic.
- If you were at your local parade, you’ll have had your picture taken. And if you were really lucky you could even have ended up on the Six One news.
- The more local the parade the better. You don’t need floats, just loads of people hanging around. More often than not they’ll parade into or out of mass. In these places, most people at the parade were in the parade.
- Any lad with bag pipes would lift you out of it with the noise and you could never guarantee that he’d be in tune.
- Local Irish Dancers had to be commended for how nimble they lepping around the local community hall.
- It was perfectly acceptable to have tea, buns and sandwiches at 9 o’clock in the morning with all your neighbours.
- If you were in a restaurant, you’d feel obliged to order Irish Stew or Bacon and Cabbage. It made you feel more Irish.
- If you were in a pub, you’d be given a plastic glass. This is something you were well entitled to complain about.
- Drinking in the middle of the day became very evident. This led to some people saying that “the towns can attract a bit of a rough element”.
- St Patrick’s Day was always a ‘free day’ from Lent. The day after usually was too.
- Everything goes green for the day. We’ll brag to ourselves about that. “Did you see the White House went Green?” “Yeah and the Big Ben.” A cynic somewhere will point out, “that is because Bord Failte or some other crowd like them are paying for it”. Can you still get green Kit-Kats by the way?
- The parade in Dublin – with one of the annoying RTE Martys on the telly – would annoy you and seemingly never end.
- For some people, it meant a second Sunday dinner in the week and then (hopefully) a bit of peace and quiet to watch the club finals or Cheltenham on the telly. Heaven.
- In fact you could sit in the armchair all day and watch some great sport. Club finals, schools rugby, Cheltenham and some years even a Six Nations game. Glorious.
- You could be a contrary hoor and say it’s like Christmas. “A whole load of fuss about nothing.”
- You could be busy sowing corn. That has to be done too, no matter what day it is.
- The weather on St Patrick’s Day can look good when you’re looking out the window but when you’re standing around waiting to see someone you know in the parade it’s always absolutely freezing.
- ‘St Patrick’ is usually a local character.
- The real St Patrick ran the snakes out of Ireland, we’ll be told. We could do with his likes again.