My enthusiasm for St. Patrick’s Day has always been warm – but I will soften as the years go by.
Wearing a decent shamrock was never a problem, but let me run into huge crowds, rampant drunkenness and no chance to catch a taxi after 6pm. In fact, until the age of 40, I was abroad on March 17 more than at home. And while the 5th Avenue parade is a hit list, I recently became “the barbarian who loves my native shores.”
My dues were paid in full in the distant memories of “St Patty’s Day” among the fanatical Irish quarters of the Big Apple, where, thankfully, I never ended ended up in a drunken tank like New York’s fairy tale boys. Back in the “homeland,” our patron saint’s holiday never had anything like the same Disneyland-style exoticism spilling over into the Atlantic.
Having endured windy buoys and constant speeches during Ireland’s many stormy springs, those of us who grew up in the 1970s and 80s quickly realized it was a memory. the best on Uncle Sam’s land.
Maeve Binchy once described Dublin as “the dullest place on Earth to spend St. Patrick’s Day until the late 1970s”. She’s in a good friendship, with Brendan Kennelly endorsing that sentiment. “It was a day mostly remembered for the lack of activity in Ballylongford,” he once told me. “In the 1960s it was a pretty bleak affair, pubs closed and there was little organized adventure around celebration. The Railroad Cup was a major sporting event, but otherwise the day was a social wasteland.”
March 17 was declared a public holiday in 1903, and, according to local historian Cork Kieran McCarthy, the parade generally reflects the city’s decades of change. “Back in 1921, it was a tightly controlled day, with curfews and Black and Tans in the streets looking for those associated with the Cork IRA brigade. In the following years, it celebrated the cleaning of the slums and the regeneration of the city.
“Then, in the 1970s, the parade reflected industrialization and the emergence of companies like Apple. But even in the 1980s, when we were in a deep recession, trucks were still part of the event.”
In the post-pandemic world of 2022, the theme of the Cork parade honors frontline heroes – “Ordinary people in extraordinary times”. Blood Bike South, an after-hours volunteer blood donation organization for blood and emergency medical supplies, are this year’s marshals. Chairman Martin O’Driscoll said: “As a group that often works late at night, to be seen in the light of day and in front of the people of Cork that we serve, it is a real honor for volunteers. our hard worker.
Killarney chose a similarly emotionally charged theme, with “Earth / An Chré”, celebrating “the planet we live on and the earth that nourishes us”. The organizers’ message to the participants will be simple: “Brighten us with your imagination, make it visual, and make it loud.”
Artist Sophie Lodge, who specializes in community art installations, took the visual cue completely on board, creating a collage of butterflies, bees and forged images along her face. Old St Mary’s Church. My favorite barista, Joaquim, from Belo Horizonte, always takes his day off the week of St. Patrick’s Day. “Carnival is very important to us Brazilians, a festival of culture and life. Ireland is now my home, and of course I celebrate March 17 with my Irish friends.”
Do not depend on Fireworks and pageantry mark the modern day, St Patrick’s remains a steady focal presence, even amid the shimmering fabric of this women’s Celtic evening coat. Better yet, legend has it that our patron saint likes a tear.
Stiofán Ó Cadhla, senior lecturer in folklore and ethnography at University College Cork, enlightens the story regarding “peaca an tomhais,” the sin of miscalculation. One day, when he entered a pub and ordered a drink, young Patrick saw that the host had surreptitiously left his glass half a meter short.
“The sin of miscalculation is one of the worst sins you can commit,” he scolded in public.
Definitely my kind of guy.
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