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March 18, 2013 / catherinebwrites

DEAR SAINT OF OUR ISLE

if only...

if only…

Who thought having the national holiday in March was a good idea?
My earliest memories of it are going to Mass in the cold, green ribbons in my hair in the cold, a couple of lorries rolling through O’Connell Street in the cold, the Artane Boys Band blue with the cold and a couple of ringletted and goosepimpled dancers in the cold. This is what passed for a parade. Afterwards everything was closed and it was cold. We’d go for a drive in the country and my mother would search the ditches in vain for primroses. But they hadn’t bloomed yet because it was cold. The only good thing was we could eat sweets.(For those who don’t understand that remark, the feast falls in the middle of Lent when good Catholic children give up sweets)

My first St Patrick’s Day party was in Manchester. I was a student there. Everyone assumed that St Patrick’s day was a huge kneees-up in ireland. I couldn’t disappoint them so I had a party. It was my best St. Paddy’s day ever.

Then the Celtic Tiger roared into Ireland, the parade got bigger. People were a lot less concerned about Lent and sweets. The parade got more exciting. Drum majorettes in fake tans came over from America. groups of new Irish did their cultural thing. Macnas paraded giant figures There were fireworks and music and the sun shone. Yes that’s right, all through the Celtic Tiger years the sun shone every day.

Now there’s weeping and gnashing of the national teeth, anger at bankers, tightening of belts, extra taxes and to top it all, the national Saint flung snow and hail at us. The parade featured acres of goosebumps and shivering flesh.

No wonder the snakes left Irealnd. I doubt St. Patrick had anything to do with it. They were feeling the cold and left of their own free will.

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