St Patrick’s day, a day off, good times! My 17th March was a nice and relaxed one. The few ‘Irish’ themed things I did do were to: 1) Drink a couple of cans of Irish Stout - I have to admit that this one isn’t all that uncommon. 2) Catch a few minutes of the Gaelic football’s Schools (MacRory) Cup final, something I doubt I’ll ever intentionally repeat, it’s not really a sport I’ll ever enjoy the spectacle of but then I don’t really like Aussie rules or Rugby either. 3) Eat some soda bread pizzas for dinner.
Most of my day though was just spent in bed recovering from an extra long day at work yesterday, an hour at the Gym and doing things around the house like washing up and recovering from the treadmill.
A lot of folks around these parts and likely across the Atlantic will probably have spent a fair part of the day celebrating St Patrick and all things Irish. Those with a Catholic faith will probably have spent a wee part of the day at mass. An awful lot more people around the world however probably just celebrated the tie to anything remotely Irish with a drink in one hand and some green decorations of some form on their person. That’s just the modern day slant the day has taken on and in my opinion it’s not such a bad thing. Take me for instance, my only tie to St Patrick would be that like me he hailed from across the Irish Sea somewhere and (although under very different circumstances) found himself living around the same part of this island.
Me and any of the growing number of non-religious people who live on this island (be they born here or not) can’t get away from the fact society has been controlled for so long and is still strongly influenced even today (both north and south of the border) by religious institutions and people . *insert rant about why Church and State shouldn’t mix*. In your eyes, be that a good or bad thing (though its bad in mine) it means for those of us who don’t have ties to Catholicism or any denomination of the Christian church, that the day is very much celebrated in the sense of celebrating the good in Ireland that has spread from the folks who live here now and from those who left its shores in the past.
I love so much to do with this island. Namely its natural beauty, the people (who aren’t trying to kill or inflict pain or enforce their views on each other), the soccer (mainly the Irish league but the Eircom isn’t too bad either) and of course its beverages. Sure that’s why I got in the stout even though I’m trying not to drink so often, I tried to watch a bit of Gaelic football even though I don’t find it entertaining and we made sure today’s dinner was soda bread pizza.
The writers of the St Patrick’s Day Simpsons episode shown earlier on Sky1 ahead of the screening over in the States went that way, bringing things closer to reality. The Irish were portrayed to have gotten with the 21st century, including some adorable gay leprechauns and the brilliantly named Derry Air airlines. I lol’ed lots.
Sadly though some folks, as usual, take it too far. There’s one thing having a drink and a good time but all too often (in the now infamous area that is the Holylands where students and residents try to live side by side) the combination of mainly students with no respect for alcohol and people with no respect for other people + an excuse to throw a party ends up in law and order being broken. 12 people were arrested.
So in the 21st Century, we have a day off where all things Irish (hopefully Northern as well as Southern) can be celebrated and that to me is a good thing. I guess in reality we’ll never know if St Patrick was indeed worthy of representing by name the heritage of a people and a culture. After all it’s unlikely to be ever proved if the ‘snakes’ he was supposed to have purged from these shores were literal or metaphorical. I would though add there are no records of there ever having been any native snakes since the last ice age so it’s for sure not out of the realms of possibility that all he managed to evict was part of a different culture and belief system. In the grand scheme of things who knows if it was a good or bad thing to introduce Christianity to these shores but at any rate you can't change the past. All we do know is it did happen and he's credited with it by the anscestors who have followed on those traditions. We can but make the most of what we have in the here and now.
I’m still holding out though for a public holiday a bit more meaningful to me that I really would go all out with and throw a big party for. Maybe one day the powers that be in the world will finally do something meaningful that we can all help with, that could be celebrated worldwide in the name of humanity, a shared cause that would benefit the people of every country and that we could all feel a part of. Until then I’ll make the most of days like today with soda bread pizza, stout and a day off work.