Cliches continue with my March column being about St. Patrick. In my defence, I've never liked St. Patrick's day - a legacy of standing in the cold while brass bands from Virginia assault my ears and giant papier mache 'Celts' from Macnas crash about like drunks chasing taxis.
Finally that time of year is here again, when people come from far and wide to see majorettes from Texas twirl their batons on rainy St. Stephen’s Green. For many people, myself included, this is the highlight of their patriotic calendar, akin to shouting ‘Brits Out!’ from the stands in Croke Park while clad in Man United strips. There’s nothing I like more than seeing a crowd of tourists stare wide-eyed at the one great showcase for papier-mache manufacturers in modern Ireland. Some people have been heard to say that they’ve had more fun hanging upside down and watching You’re A Star for a fortnight straight, but the less said about John Waters the better. Expect this year to enjoy a ceilí (international visitors: if you find yourselves in a bar with old Guinness ads, in the middle of a pack of other tourists, with a couple of skinny Irishmen in the corner banging on a bin lid and yelling some bizarre Celtic rap, check if you’re in Heuston station listening to a train announcer. If not, welcome to our culture).
Now, many of you may be thinking: that’s unfair. You may be right. Perhaps when St. Patrick hopped across the channel, he thought: “Must rid Ireland of snakes, pagans and create jobs for unemployed actors and TV3 presenters.” We may never know. Or so I thought, until I discovered this document:
Got press-ganged into coming over to this bloody island for Sir Darren’s stag. Didn’t want to go, but Earl Dean put me in a headlock. Sent pigeon to tell work I was sick – let the sheep watch themselves. We landed in a nice place called Temple Bar, which seems to be made entirely of pubs. It’s full of Geordies, so I feel at home. I’m a bit concerned about all the Goths, though.
It all went a bit Squire Peter Tong last night. I think that, on balance, mixing mead and stout was not the greatest idea I’ve ever had. I ought to count my blessings, seeing as how Darren now has only one eyebrow and ‘L’ painted on his breastplate. Bitten by a grass snake last night. God, I hate those things. Someone ought to stamp them out.
Made some new friends: two brothers called O’Neill and O’Brien. They had some natty brown sackcloth on. They asked me if I’d like to take an Examination of Yon Personalitye For Conversion Purposes, and promised me I’d meet their sisters. They’ve got loads, apparently.
Apparently, we’re all immortal spiritual beings, and we’re going to live on after death, with this one god character, his kid and some ghost who’s always hanging around. The brothers told me that I have the potential to reach canonization level. Dunno what that means, but it sounds great. Can’t wait to tell the lads.
Had a major fight with the rest of the group. They told me they were going to sacrifice a goat to Woden to save me (and for dinner). I told them to stuff their pantheon and went off with the brothers. They said we’d do this thing called a Parade, and gave me a shamrock. Dean can keep his sheep: I’m staying here. Got bitten by another bloody snake.’
Suddenly, it all makes sense.
Breakfast of Champions, Adam Hillman
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