18.3.13

St Patrick and the Tiger


The news yesterday and this morning have been filled with reports of St Patrick’s Day celebrations across the world – from illuminating the pyramids of Egypt green, to Irish dancing in Moscow. Even I found myself in a bar heaving with green hats and Guinness in Molly Malone’s of Helsinki.

Having spent some time in Ireland and having many Irish friends, I see myself as having an excuse to raise a toast to their national day. However, I’m mystified as to the worldwide appeal of this day.

After centuries of exporting their people once again the Irish are emigrating in huge numbers due to economic woes. Are the celebrations underlined with more fervour because of this? Does dyeing everything green foster a sense of pride in the aftermath of the death of the Celtic Tiger? Perhaps?

Is it maybe that the brand names of Guinness and Jameson’s, and the countless chains of Irish pubs have infiltrated even the furthest reaches of the planet? Perhaps the Irish diaspora is so massive and influential that even the rivers of Estonia have been roped in to celebrate Irish heritage?

Or has it become one these ubiquitous global celebrations that for which everyone creates their own meaning – rather like Valentine’s - that has nothing to do with St Patrick or Ireland? 


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