St Patrick's Day for me is one of the most ironic days of the year.
The day of full on Irishness, where listening to Diddly Eye music becomes the cool, drinking Guinness a must and a full suit of green totally acceptable- is the best day of the year NOT to be in Ireland!
You actually have not truly celebrated this island's patron saint in style if you have not done so in a foreign country. Even leaving the country to celebrate the day (weekend/ week) is not quite enough I estimate that you need to be about three months out of this Emerald Isle to truly appreciate and therefore enjoy March 17 in full.
This year Paddy's Day falls on a Saturday (2012) so we have the next day off and the one after that too (we need it - recession and all) and because of the weekend date it means all around the world we can party together (aside from some time challenges!)
When in Ireland, being Irish is so ... well ... common, right now even a little sad, but on foreign soil being Irish is well the most darn important thing in the world (even if the natives are truly sick of you and your kind!)
I am sure emigration has touched about everyone at this stage, a brothers, a sister, a best friend, cousin and it is terrible, horrible to watch them have to leave, heart breaking not to know when they will return, if they get a job, settle down, like it there ... but on the major plus side they get to celebrate St Patrick's Day in real Irish abroad style.
While we sup our pints and watch the parade, they will be flying high, dancing a jig, singing a song, flying a flag and really meaning it.
GAA jerseys from every county will combine and chat and drink and be merry, it doesn't matter if they know each other, if they will never see each other again, because for just one day, March 17 Irish people all over the world will unite.
On St Patrick's Day Irishness isn't a stamp on the front of your passport, it isn't a green white and gold flag, it isn't even an accent or a story, it is a state of mind, a piece of your heart and large proportion of your soul.
I believe St Patrick's Day was invented for Irish emigrants, because no matter how much they despise this country that has made them leave their homes, on March 17 they will only recall fond memories, funny antidotes and hazy pictures.
We can only hope that those left behind can do the same.
To the Irish at home and abroad – Happy St Patrick's Day!
|High cross at the Rock of Cashel, co Tipperary|