A Brilliant St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Trippers! Although an Irish holiday, many parts of the globe are celebrating today. Maya Hanley, one of our members and previous guest blogger, graces us with a post about what “Paddy’s Day” is all about. As a local Dubliner, she gives us a glimpse into how this day is celebrated in her hometown and how it has changed over the years… 

This year, the Dublin St. Patrick’s Day Parade has a theme based on a short story by Roddy Doyle, he of The Commitments fame. The story is called Brilliant, a new Irish legend about how we need to cheer ourselves up in these dark days of recession and debt. The crowds are out and our President, Mary McAleese is attending; her last parade as she leaves office this year.

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When I was a child I saw the Dublin parade only once and I remember it being quite small, with lots of Irish dancers in dull green dresses and real curls and some American Pipe Bands. Nowadays, it’s a grand affair with giant puppets and music and dance troupes from all of over the world. If the weather was hot it would be more like Carneval. No doubt it’s scaled back slightly this year due to budget cuts, but the Irish, the visitors and foreigners who live here are out in droves to see the spectacle. 

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The other big change I notice since my childhood is that it used to be a religious holiday and everyone went to Mass in their finest rigouts (that’s a good Irish term for outfit) with real shamrock pinned to their lapels. I haven’t seen much of that around lately. Nowadays, with so many people deserting the church, St. Patrick’s Day is really a festival celebrating being Irish and seems to have little to do with its origins. Everyone can be a leprechaun or an Irish Princess for the day. It’s also a day of drinking and carousing so central Dublin can get quite hectic in the evening and it’s not for the faint of heart. Once, when I was about 18, we danced in a huge circle beside Christchurch Cathedral and even the Gardai (police) joined in. I doubt that would happen now. For a start, there are thousands more people attending these days.

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Right now, we need a day of celebration. We have a new government and everyone is hoping for things to improve. Even for those less optimistic, it’s a day to forget your worries, get out your green gear, have a few pints of Guinness and join in the fun. Have a Brilliant St. Patrick’s Day! Beannachtaí na Féile Padraig!

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Many thanks to Maya for sharing her brilliance with us and to her friend, Darragh Doyle for the beautiful photos! HAPPY PADDY’S DAY!

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