The luck of the Irish

Now, before I start, I need you to know something: I have nothing against a good celebration. I am, after all, the current holder of the South London All-Comers record for Most Wine Glasses Inadvertently Smashed On A Good Friend’s Floor In One Night, a record I’ve held since New Year’s Eve 2002. And I’ve forgotten more summer bank holidays than most of you have had hot dinners, thanks to a predilection for the occasional babycham and lemonade.

Put simply, give me a poor excuse to party, and I will rip your arm off and swing it around my head like a spring break reveller with an eighteen year old’s thong in his hand.

But you have to draw the line somewhere. And for me, that line stops right before St Patrick’s Day.

Clearly I’m getting more cantankerous as I grow older. Last year, St Patrick’s Day seemed remarkable, but not annoying. Twelve months on, and I’ve crossed to the dark side.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with the Irish (or their close descendants) celebrating their patron saint’s day. But yesterday New York was jam packed to the gills with people wearing emerald green clothing, and buskers playing fiddle-dee-dee music on violins that were last tuned when Nixon was in power. If I heard one more person say something like “top o’ the morning to you” in a voice that makes Dick Van Dyke and Don Cheadle seem like accent experts, I may have been forced into using shamrocks for something that nature certainly never intended.

The fact is that most of the drunken party-goers heading back towards Bay Ridge at about 7 o’clock last night have probably never even met someone from Ireland, let alone have any Irish family background. And that’s despite the fact that 40 million Americans claimed Irish ancestry in the last census.

Let’s face it, those jester-hatted folk throwing up in the gutter probably don’t even know that St Patrick’s Day is a celebration of all things Irish, and the rest of them almost certainly couldn’t point out Ireland on a map of the world. That may be something to do with the amount of Guinness they’ve poured down their collective necks over the last twelve hours, admittedly, but that’s hardly the point.

The strange thing is that I was asked on numerous occasions why I wasn’t wearing green yesterday. I tried to explain that it’s because I’m not Irish, but I just got a slightly quizzical look that suggests the person can I hear that I’m speaking English but is incapable of understanding the words coming out of my mouth.

I’m thinking of finding out when Canada Day takes place, and then going out into the city dressed as a lumberjack and tutting in the general direction of anybody not dressed in red and white.

I’m not eating caribou though, and you can’t make me.

14 thoughts on “The luck of the Irish

  1. Ali K

    You make no mention of the American custom of drinking green beer on St Patricks Day in your blog. I’m diappointed. I was expecting at least 2000 words on that alone! xx

  2. IanB

    Whatever you do don’t tell any of them that St. Patrick was born and bred in Wales and was sent to Ireland as a slave. He even apparently used the the Irish word for “Enslaved” as his surname whilst living there.

    Green beer?…

  3. Obelix

    “You’re so racist.” I hope this was a joke. Or if it wasn’t Reilly is a Yank. Anything else doesn’t make sense to me lol.
    Yep, you have a point there Dylan. Yanx tend to celebrate everything. Maybe because their country is too young and it’s too early to have lots of their things to celebrate. Or they just like to party whatsoever. Or because their nation is so multicultural and since Irish make respectable gruop of people on East Coast, they accepted other nation’s holidays, celebrations, etc.
    I had a similar experiences, in Belgrade, Serbia, on 4th July, a year ago. The Big Friend firstly had worried look on his face (because I’m not celebrating that day), then confused look and finaly a look like if I insulted him. LOL!

  4. Silverback

    Being born in N. Ireland COULD give me a claim to being Irish but I don’t take it…and certainly not on March 17th.

    I’m with you on those fiddles – horrible instruments up there with bagpipes.

  5. Lucy

    ‘I will rip your arm off and swing it around my head like a spring break reveller with an eighteen year old’s thong in his hand’

    rather brilliant that….can i put it in a book?

  6. Expat Mum

    Or Chicago – where even my son’s Jewish friends were all decked out in green yesterday. Shouldn’t someone tell everyone that it’s a holy feast? I think we should make everyone who chooses to celebrate St. Patrick’s go to church first – like I had to do growing up! That would cull them.

  7. Brooklyn

    Jews should celebrate St. Patrick’s Day only after Ireland and the Irish diaspora celebrate Purim.

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