What’s in a name? When it comes to our national holiday and the celebration of our patron saint, it seems the answers will be more complicated than the question. For example, if someone calls it simply “Paddy’s Day” they are most likely from Dublin. If someone insists on calling it “St. Patrick’s Day,” chances are they are Catholic and rural.
What if someone called it “Patty’s Day”? Well, they are clearly American and therefore prone to ridicule and ridicule. Honestly, there’s nothing more funny than seeing our colonial cousins get things wrong and slander the language.
I’ve always hated St. Patrick’s Day. To be sure, there are certain perks that come with the big day. For example, when I was a kid and we had to go through the funny pantomime of Lent, and all the sacrifices that come with it, being allowed to stuff chocolate in your face on March 17 was always a prank.
But overall, Paddy’s Day is always a weird vibe.
One of my earliest memories was attending a town parade with my parents and shivering with cold as we watched a bunch of sponsored tractors run down O’Connell Street as the Sweets are thrown into the crowd.
After that, people would go into the Long Hall on George Street to meet their friends while I was treated to the ultimate 1980s luxury: an orange suit.
Oh, the impossible glitz of it all (as it happened, one of the waiters at Long Hall retired for a while and before he left he told me his first day on the job. he, all 40 years ago, was involved in his doing orange dressing for a “little sh**e”. We agree that could be me).
Then, in my late teens, when I was freed from my parents’ shackles, our gang would come into town to watch American cheerleaders drop their batons for people from Texas yet never experienced the deadly wind that swept by from Liffey.
So when I was growing up, the big day wasn’t a big day at all. If anything, it’s a day to be avoided. In fact, St Patrick’s Day is a bit like New Year’s Eve – proper drinkers and binge drinkers stay away from the pubs and let the amateurs take over for once.
But here’s the thing: even though we’ve mocked St. Patrick’s Day for years, we’ve also forgotten something incredibly important. It is true that, for all of us, it is a major global event and perhaps the most widely celebrated national day on earth.
I remember having dinner with an Israeli diplomat in Jerusalem a few years ago and I told him about the disproportionate influence the Israeli corridor has on Capitol Hill. He laughed, but his response was very direct: “If only we had something like St. Patrick’s Day.”
Call it post-imperial insecurity or simply a sign of a nation comfortable with self-doubt rather than self-aggrandizement, but for all we are concerned with the crash caused on that day, we have something other nations will kill for.
Now that we’re in a (relatively) post-pandemic phase, the annual debate about politicians flying over junkies around the world has excitedly begun. Last year, there was no salute to the shamrock bowl, but Michael Martin is meeting Joe Biden in Washington this evening.
It really doesn’t matter what you might think of Biden (to be honest, he’s been a bloody disaster) but no other country, big or small, can expect an annual reception. at the White House. It is something that we should cherish and protect with all our might. Once that privilege is gone, it never comes back and there are times when we really don’t appreciate or realize the soft power we wield on the global stage and especially in the US. .
It’s easy and lazy, taking the flight of TDs as they reach foreign shores and undeniably the fact that it seems odd that a TD from the countryside west should go somewhere something like Boise, Idaho, simply for junket, a few pictures in the local paper, and a few free dinners.
But these are the only diplomatic tools we can use. We are a small and relatively insignificant rock on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. When you think about it, we shouldn’t have a bigger voice than Iceland. But due to our community situation and our history, people, especially Americans, have a warm welcome for us. That should not be dismissed.
As we celebrate our own diaspora tomorrow, we also welcome a Ukrainian community – some 20,000 war-weary women and children have landed here. As they settle into their lives and with so many Irish opening their homes to traumatized refugees, perhaps now is the perfect time to remember the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/maybe-it-is-time-to-give-st-patricks-day-the-credit-it-deserves-other-countries-do-41451628.html Maybe it’s time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day it deserves – other countries do