WHEN I think about St. Patrick’s Day, the first thing I think about is me lugging a big bass drum around Waterford for half the day. I marched in the parade with the Mount Sion Silver Band from the age of seven and all I can remember is the faces of my mates laughing at me from the sidelines. Oh, and my family frantically waving at me while I was trying my give them a nod whilst keeping the all-important bass beat.
The parade used to be a big thing. When we had floats from the likes of Waterford Crystal and Bausch and Lomb, and they were all actually trying hard to win the best float award…they were good days. When we’d all be huddled around the 6 o clock news trying to get a glimpse of ourselves but being inevitably disappointed when they cut to Wexford just as we were about to walk into the picture.
No disrespect to the parade these days, but aside from Spraoi, it’s really just an annual procession of other people’s kids. Yay…it’s a load of scouts…yay it’s some miniature kick boxers…yay it’s more scouts. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great for the kids, but I’ve been to more entertaining funerals. Do people care about the parade anymore? Actually, do people care about St. Patrick’s Day anymore?
When I ask people about “Paddy’s Day” they just say “I hate it” and “It’s too messy – I’d rather spend the day in front of the fire.”
Don’t forget, you heathens, St. Patrick’s Day is a holy day of obligation. Before you even think about standing in the freezing cold and watching some dancing troupe bounce down the Glenn, you need to pin half the front garden to your chest and go to 10 o Clock Mass. This is what St. Patrick’s Day is all about. Sure didn’t Patrick himself broker a deal with Jesus that allowed us a one-day amnesty from our Lenten sacrifices of Moros, Mars Bars and Merlots? The man was a saint.
So, let’s talk about what St. Patrick’s Day is really all about – the pub. As soon as the parade is over we go and rescue our child from whatever costumed hell he had to endure, and then go and find some pub grub. As a child, this is the point at which St. Patrick’s Day has stopped being fun. I know when I was young I didn’t much enjoy being sat in front of a bottle of Big Brother and an occasional bag of Cheese & Onion. Before the dawn of the DS and the iPad, the only form of entertainment that a 12 year old had was to sit there looking as miserable as possible in the hope that someone would take pity on them and take them home. “What’s up with you?” The parent asks, with a mild taste of actually caring. “Nothin.” The sulky teenager replies. “Then take the puss off your face. You’ve barely spoken to your nanny all day, go over and thank her for giving you that two euro”.
Ya see, pubs are really no place for kids. Adults hate having to avoid children when they’re carrying a round back from the bar, and most kids really don’t want to be there in the first place, but this is what St. Patrick’s Day is about. Empty packets of bacon fries on the tables, empty glasses and bottles piling up, Tayto cheese and onion mashed into the carpet, 14 year old spotty bottle boys and a hurling match on the telly with the commentary in Irish that most people are just pretending to be interested in. And then we have your man in the corner singing Galway Girl for the 3rd time.
Listen, I love being Irish…that video that Failte Ireland posted the other day nearly had me in tears, I’m just a bit bored of some of our traditions. Possibly the one that I hate the most, and the one that’s almost unavoidable on St. Patrick’s Day is the Carvery Dinner. Please, someone, tell me why these things are so popular? Roast potatoes that are about as crispy as a tennis ball, slabs of meat that have been sitting on a sun bed for the last 3 hours, tasteless gravy and over cooked veg. I’ve never been to prison but everytime I see people queuing for a carvery I get a glimpse at my future when the TV license man comes around again.
Anyway….have a good one!