Paddy’s Home

Image by Stephen Whelan.

Image by Stephen Whelan.

St. Patrick’s Day can now be seen over the horizon. I know what you must be thinking: there’s no way your humble correspondent can possibly find fault with Ireland’s national holiday.

Well, like all public holidays on the Cranky Craig Calendar, there is no way that this absolute disaster of a drunken celebration shall evade my ever-ready radar of razor-sharp criticism. And so, let the rant begin.

First of all, let it be said that St. Patrick himself was not even Irish. As Mrs. Doyle might say, Paddy was in fact “stolen” from the British mainland, which just goes to show that Ireland stealing representatives of foreign countries is not simply a phenomenon that is confined to our national soccer team.

Paddy’s main claim to fame was not simply to import Christianity into Ireland, but the bloke then decided to pull the mother of all bad decisions by expelling the native snake population from the Emerald Isle.

There is not a lot of scientific evidence to suggest that Ireland was ever a cosmopolitan metropolis of serpent-related activity, but I say if Britain got to keep their adders, then why were we not allowed to keep ours? Tragic.

March 17th also gives the rest of the world the ideal opportunity to take the Mick (all puns intended) out of the Irish by “pretending” to be Irish. St Patrick’s Day (or St. Patty’s Day as our American comrades call it), is a day where the very second a drop of Guinness touches someone’s lips they suddenly encounter an epiphany and realise telepathically that they are somehow 0.98% Irish.

We appreciate the compliment folks, but this feels somehow less than honest ethnic solidarity and more like a condescending pat on the head. I am not one for cultural insensitivity myself, but there’s something a tad annoying about drunken idiots banging out rebel songs on a Costa Rican beach and a lad from Cape Town wearing a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” T-shirt.

But the worst thing about Paddy’s Day is the Irish themselves. As a child, I received my education on the streets, becoming an urban soldier in the process and eventually working my way up the chain of command to the title of Ghetto Defendant.

Every March 17th Dublin’s fair city transforms into a cascading waterfall of green vomit and regurgitated Shamrock shakes. The streets become a sordid vortex of disjointed faces and bodily fluids hitting every piece of concrete within sight.

Mind you, if you’re ever on the lookout for a good scrap on the streets of the Pale, you will not have to go on a particularly exhaustive search. Come on people, senseless boozing and indiscriminate violence? Are these really the things we think of when we think of the Irish? Swiftly moving on…

Far be it from me to reject the notion of a good night out on the proverbial tiles, but such joy can be derived from a few casual pints on a Saturday night or indeed a few cans of Galahad in a damp laneway of a Tuesday afternoon.

Do we really need the entire country to shut down and be exposed to the type of carnage we see every year? I implore my fellow Paddies: drink responsibly. Or at the very least don’t kill anybody.

Still, at least we got rid of Arthur’s Day.

By Cranky Craig Kinsella