The Eve of St Patrick

Our national day

Tonight it is when ghouls and goblins joust in the crepuscular half-light as the numina of land and air dance their ageless intertwining.   Tonight it is when the leipreachán and the bean-sídhe take their true forms, when the cú-sidhe and the cait-sidhe chase each other from dún to lios to rath and when the ancient heroes of our dawn bestir themselves, shake their mantles, heft their broadswords and wonder if their time is come at last.

Tomorrow, we celebrate the mighty battle in which Saint Patrick slew Saint Pancake so that overweight children the length and breadth of Éireann could march in the freezing cold, and so that aspiring young models could paint themselves orange and sit on top of a moving car holding a bunch of balloons.

Saint Patrick, as he waved his mighty weapon, bellowed God Bless America!

Legend tells that Saint Pancake replied with a roar: Shake hands with your uncle Dan.

For four long years, the two heroes fought, from the mountains of Mourne to the Vale of Avoca and from the Banks of my own lovely Lee to the Homes of Donegal.  They battled from the stone outside Dan Murphy’s door to the Garden Where the Praties Grow.

When at length the warriors grew weary, they watched for a while as the sun went down on Galway Bay before taking up arms again and having at it.

The battle was so fierce that the very sea itself recoiled in fear and the clouds fled from the sky.

Here’s a health to you, Father O’Flynn!! shouted Saint Pancake.

I’ll take you home again Kathleen, responded Saint Patrick.

Three long weeks I spent up in Dublin, said Saint Pancake.

Three long weeks to learn nothing at all, replied Saint Patrick with a sneer.  Down a boreen green came a sweet colleen.

And with that, he plunged his sword into Saint Pancake’s heart.

They say that Saint Pancake’s dying words were I like to ramble down the old boreen, but some say this is only a legend and that his last words were When Irish eyes are smiling, sure, ’tis like the morn in Spring.

Either way, one thing is certain.   That was the day when Saint Patrick won freedom for very old Americans to walk down the middle of Irish streets waving at the natives.  On that day, alarm companies the world over won the right to drive their trucks in convoy, very slowly, for people to look at.

A great day for Ireland.

24 thoughts on “The Eve of St Patrick

  1. And I always thought, and wrote about it elsewhere, that St Patrick’s Day is the celebration of the death of same saint. That Ireland is until today celebrating that the ould geezer finally shut up with his snakey and pancakey bovine excrement.

    But that’s Ireland for you. Always up for a boozy wake, and the dead gobshite is suddenly a saint.

  2. my little town has the 2nd largest celebration in the usa. i don’t go to the parade. i don’t watch it on tv. i don’t wear green and i absolutely will not drink green beer! i thank all of my real, as in un-hyphenated, irish friends for saving me from yet another american commercial fandango in the streets! happy thursday, sugar. xoxox

  3. Because it’s a load of horseshit Tony! :)

    It’s the same as any other day… except it’s not.. I have no fond memories of standing around in the pissing rain watching a crappy parade march through O’Connell St. in Limerick. It always seemed to rain on that day. It’s like a Sunday, except more boring. To me.

    I genuinely couldn’t give a rats ass about the day.. and I have yanks going onto me that they’re getting a green pint and having a stew just for the occasion.. and sending me little scamrocks by email.. jesus I’m not a fucking sap. They’d buy into anything.. full of beans they are.. for bullshit.

  4. (stop me if i’ve said this before (I’m getting old, you see…)).

    The worst part of this day for me down her is I have to be available for every Sheila and Bruce when they ring me up, or stop me on the street, just to tell me their latest irish joke.

    “Hey, Snook, let me tell you this joke about how stupid ye are and how ye’re thicker than shit. You’ll bust your ring laughing…”

    Like to see the fuckers stop a Chinaman or a Russian on their day and try the same.

    Quick flick of the head, lots of blood, end of story.

    Patricks Day!

    Bah, humbug.

    We’re too nice.

  5. It would be more in ye’er line to get out there to Mass, is all I’m saying!

  6. I have to go to work today and will get double bubble for the trouble. What a bonus, for what to me, is just another working day. Thank you St. Pancake!

  7. Happy Saint Patricks day!
    Happy Particks day?
    Happy Irish National holiday, day?
    Whatever floats your boat. Its a beautiful day out, I’ve just put down the spuds (really). Always do, on whatever you want to call it day.
    Anyway dont drink too much porter, wherever you are.

  8. my wife is pagan. don’t ask me – something about many gods, and something else – it’s all magic to me.

    anyway – before Maewyn decided to evangelise Ireland, we were all mostly pagan.

    St Patrick’s Day is a celebration of Christianity’s obliteration of the Irish pagan religion (or the casting out of the snakes – whatever description you prefer).

    yay jihad!

    personally, I prefer to celebrate events where people are nice to each other. very hard to think of any, though…

  9. I am an american, sorry to say. I’ve been following this site for years, mostly too cowardly to speak up. I got my masters in world history off of Ireland. Anyone who has had to come up with a last year dissertation topic knows, tisn’t easy. But I found Ireland, this history. What ever you may think of it, I could not help myself and was off and running, for over a year. Up to my eyebrows I was, all that time, exploring this, this, unbelievable story. You just can’t make up this sort of thing. Beautiful, ugly, loving, violent, special. Knocked my socks off. Mostly, what I came away with was; stand alone. Nothing like it, no matter the force, stand alone, completely unique. Unable to be assessed along the lines of hemispheric regions or eons’ long social movement, Eire stood alone. Just cannot or will not get with the worldwide program. Some better, some worse. But… every March 17th, the world over, and while we don’t know who is a terrorist, who is christian, who is an illegal and who a patriot, we all know who is Irish and who just wants to be. Don’t ask me. I am a scholar and I can’ tell you. But there it is. Your cross to bear. (Auld americans walking the middle of the street and all )

    So, while I am not convinced that st pat was not one of the worst things ever happened to you lot, I will hide under his skirts and ask you on this day not to stomp me to a grease spot over my post here. Seems to me that the high spots in irish history came about when yez weren’t following the worn path of societies that sell themselves to ‘conventional wisdom.’

    forgive me, Happy st pat’s day, whatever and every day
    (damn if a pint of Guinness dosen’t go a long way. The money I could have saved in Valium ‘scripts in the ’80’s if I had known about this stuff)

  10. You won’t get stomped for having an opinion. Thanks for commenting and please feel free to contribute more.

  11. Thank the holy fecking Christ himself, another bloody year of faux plastic shamrocks blinking and twinkling in time to Daniel O’Donkey songs, not to mention visiting tourists lost in Glesga after getting on the wrong bus to Edinburgh, drunk on two halfs of porter, shouting “top ‘o’ the morning to ya!” is finally over.

    Bah, humbug.

  12. Why all the negativity towards our national day? I know that it’s not cool to be Irish to some of the more “right on, time for a revolution if I had the balls/ovaries, what, FG are in power?, I want Joe Higgins’s baby” crowd who are so angry with Ireland that they won’t emigrate, but I don’t care. Of course March 17 is stage managed but it does attract world ttention. Inda kept Barrackentertained yesterday and got a date for a visit in return. So despite Japan. Lybia and the world, ould Barrack had Moneygall on his bonce. And also in May comes the visit of the Queen of England. What an oppertunity to show off the country to the world, I know it doesn’t satisfy the “foreigners taking our jobs, PS Willie can you do anything for the eldest in America” brigade but I don’t care. I’m proud to be Irish, if the place is so bad why not emigrate? There will now follow a party political broadcast by the Crawthumping Righteous Ones on how the future of the young is far more important than standing by your principles and leaving. Could it have anything to do with the rather generous dole payments which allow for egalitarian philosophy discussions? Just asking.

  13. Why do you think it’s negativity towards our national day?

    There is an alternative interpretation if you’d ease up on the defensiveness.

  14. best paddys day ever, great party in o’learys in kampala and won a years supply of beer, only problem is i rarely get there these days. decision decisions, mmmm. any advice on offer.

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