St. Patrick’s Day – Ireland
There is so much to do on St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. Land of green fields and fun. Lots of Irish eyes smiling and everyone out and about for ‘the day that’s in it’. Here are some suggestions for enjoying the day.
Avoid Temple Bar. Even if the Dublin parade is cancelled Temple Bar will be full and we are trying to avoid crowds. Most people will know a local pub where they can go and enjoy a pint of Guinness and not be overwhelmed by hordes of people. Those living in rural locations have an even better choice – that’s where you will find the best locals; an example is O’Connells Pub in Skryne, Co. Meath (the pub which features in the Guinness Christmas advert). There are many pubs with nooks and crannies so you are keeping your distance.
- A walk in Glendalough? Weather permitting this could be a serious alternative. Good fresh air and amazing scenery on offer so what’s not to like? The unpredictable Irish weather might be a glitch, particularly if the rain is horizontal. Other suggested walks include Howth Head, Killiney Hill and The Hill of Tara. Further afield for those living in the north and west the Burren and the Giants Causeway offer a great day’s hike.
- Cook something traditional at home. So it is lashing rain and the walks are out of the question. Stay indoors and cook something Irish. That does not mean pasta and carbonara. Open Mammy’s cook book at the most thumbed page and you might find a good recipe for Colcannon. Rather than buying the pre-cooked bacon or corned beef why not just buy a chunk and cook it yourself. You will have great sandwiches for days afterwards. Of course the veggie has to be carrots and cabbage/spinach so that way you have the green, white and orange meal. Top it off with a trifle made from green, white and orange jelly and you have gone the whole hog. If you don’t fancy any of the above opt for the Irish fry with lots of black and white pudding.
- Read a good Irish book. This applies whether the weather is good or bad. You could try reading (for the umpteenth time) Ulysses by James Joyce but chances are that you won’t get any further than you did the first time around. The Origins of the Irish by J.P. Mallory offers a witty approach to the complexities of our country and its people. There are also lots of books about towns, villages and suburbs circulating and they are always interesting to dip into.
- Watch re runs of Rugby on tv. As it looks like the 6 Nations is now off the cards for this year why not watch some re-runs of previous year’s matches; preferably the ones where we achieved the impossible feat of beating old foes. Remember Shane Horgan’s stretch for the try line in Twickenham some years ago? Or only last year when Johnny Sexton finished off the French with that staggering drop goal. Those clips will make you feel great.
- Watch an Irish movie. In keeping with the upbeat mood of the day avoid films such as Angela’s Ashes or In the Name of the Father and opt for movies like The Quiet Man or better still Darby O’Gill and the Little People. However, either of these movies might require a drop of the quare stuff to help digest the hackneyed ‘pigs in the kitchen’ dialogue so perhaps choose something that will keep you in a mellow mood but won’t melt your brain. Suggestions include Once, The Snapper, The Guard and The Commitments.
- Enjoy some outdoor Irish history/heritage. For most of us this will require a drive so why not make a day of it by taking a journey to the centre of the country. It will take just over an hour for those living in Dublin to get to The Hill of Uisneach, near Mullingar. It is not too far a journey for those in Galway either. Uisneach has more Irish heritage and history than nearly any other part of the country and yet is much overlooked and always the poor cousin to the more famous and popular historic sites such as Newgrange. It is the mythological and sacred centre of Ireland. It has not had the benefit of a modern interpretative approach and is all the more real and tactile for it. Rather it offers a slightly old fashioned traditional approach where people can absorb all this unique heritage with their own vision.
- Wearing of the Shamrock. It doesn’t really matter whether anybody sees you or not but it is obligatory to wear the Shamrock. In recent times the ‘dear little shamrock’ has been replaced by badges surrounded by shinny green ribbon. These are ok for the younger folk, i.e. those under 8. They are a Big No for anybody over this age. The same applies to badges with so called Irish slogans such as ‘Kiss me I’m Irish’, except they are a BIGGER NO and apply to all ages and genders.
- Wearing of the Green. Green would be down the list of popular colours and we tend to see it in the shops only around St. Patrick’s Day. The big problem is that there are over 40 shades of green. Just look at the evolution of the Irish soccer and rugby teams over the last 20 years gives you an idea of this dilemma. We won’t mention the commercial aspect of supporters having to buy new jerseys on a regular basis! Forget those Leprechaun hats – yuck!
- The Drink. The perception out there is that Irish people get ‘plaited’ on St. Patrick’s Day. This is most certainly not the image that we like and most people just enjoy the day and drink moderately. One particular car hire company’s suggestions for enjoying St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is that one should blend in by drinking oneself into oblivion. Let’s knock that on the head. A few drinks are fine but most people will realise that it falls on a Tuesday this year so the following day is a working day.
Whatever you end up doing be sure and have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.