Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Saintly Days

Scotland and Ireland have a long shared history, going back to the days of Dál Riata and the Gaelic kingdom covering much of modern County Antrim and a large chunk of the West of Scotland. Indeed the Scots, as opposed to the Picts, came from the North of Ireland, when Scotia meant Ireland rather than Scotland, so I guess it is no surprise that the Scots and Irish have a strong affinity for each other and share many cultural traits. I imagine then that everyone and his uncle will be expecting me to celebrate St Patrick's Day with all the vim and vigour that many have come to expect of this particular day, especially given the possibility that St Patrick came from Scotland, specifically near the town of Dumbarton.

Then again, and I say this as a self professed Hibernophile, I won't be going out of my way to wear green, eat corned beef and cabbage, drink a trough full of Guinness or start wishing all and sundry "top of the morning", or engage in any other "traditional" activities. Why ever not I hear my slightly less curmudgeonly friends ask? Simply put, despite my affection for our Gaelic cousins to the south, I am not Irish and would feel like a cultural interloper. Not to mention that, having studied theology and read the writings of St Patrick, a fairly quick read really, it is difficult to put St Patrick and drunken revelry in the same bracket for me, just as St Valentine's Day, Easter and Christmas have been debased in the name of commercialism.

Before I sound like a total miserable sod, I would like to wish my Irish readers a very happy St Patrick's Day, with plenty of good craft beer, great music and healthy craic (a word quite possibly originating from Scots) in the pub.


  1. I keep forgetting that St Paddy came from my home town. I never met him though.

  2. You'd be looking grand for your age if you had!

  3. Nice post. I went to Scotland last year and was struck by how similar Scotland and Ireland are, especially Northern Ireland.

    I liked Patrick's day as a kid what with the parade and getting to eats sweets during lent and all. But nowadays I'm bemused by the whole thing. I don't really get why people in other countries dress in green and do 'Irish' stuff for the day. I say Irish in inverted commas as it's a sort of an odd version of Irish culture. As you obviously know which is why you're not doing the whole wearing green thing etc.

    I've lived my whole life in Ireland and have so far managed to avoid eating or indeed even seeing corned beef. I have no idea why everyone in the US seems so convinced we eat it here. Now bacon and cabbage, that's more like it.

  4. I love St Patrick's day: it affirms everthing great about the world.
    Pat was certainly a Brit - most probably Welsh - and the St Patrick's Day parades were an initiative of the British Army in colonial New York, before the locals got all upperty and kicked us out.
    Yes, St. Pat's is the day for me!

  5. I have to admit, that while I normally ignore all things green and shamrock-like, after living three years in Germany, I begin to miss it a little. Being in a small village, I almost hanker for some kind of paddywhackery. I'm sure it'll pass :)

    Just wish I could get some of the Wrasslers in your bloody fridge (or other good, proper Irish beer, please excuse the plug)! :D


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