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The Holy Show Must Go On

March 17, 2009

Dublin, St Patrick’s Day. Seventeen days into March more like 28 Days Later.

But senseless violence is not without precedent, especially not on the Saint’s day. The ‘pattern’ (from patrun, Irish for patron), was traditionally performed on the day dedicated to your local saint. You’d go to some holy place of pilgrimage, maybe shuffle around it on your knees for a while saying whatever bits of the rosary you could remember, have a drink or fifty, and then kick the shit out of each other. Faction fights, cudgel contests, and other bloody fugues are just part of the Irish tradition of celebrating the saints. The parade is a fairly new addition, but the holy show goes back a long time indeed.

If you go into town today, you’re probably an idiot or an asshole, but all of that facepunching, the rivers of puke, the wailing, gnashing, the gin-soaked masses, are all part of carrying on a proud Irish tradition of honouring our nation’s patron saint. Amen to that.

Audio and video of last year’s religious ecstasy here

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2009 1:01 pm

    finally, a benefit of being a suburbanite – not being anywhere remotely near the city centre on Paddy’s day. Though I have a feeling the darker it gets tonight, the more little fires are going to break out in the surrounding estates..we’ll see..

    • Jane permalink*
      March 17, 2009 1:05 pm

      Yeah, it’s like every year on Paddy’s Day and on Halloween, we get to do a little practice run for the impending apocalypse. Fingers crossed.

  2. March 17, 2009 8:31 pm

    I’m sitting on my balcony with a six pack, some popcorn and an Integrity album waiting for a riot to break out in response to that shitty Simpsons St Patrick’s Day episode.

    • Jane permalink*
      March 17, 2009 9:05 pm

      I didn’t see it. We were in the pub, doing our bit to maintain stereotypes, and anyway, nothing could top the episode where Family Guy goes to Ireland.

  3. Gazzywazzy permalink
    March 17, 2009 11:54 pm

    That is a load of trash which I wish I had’nt read.Shame on you.
    I will not be revisiting your chronicle of suburban utopia any time soon.

    Gary -Finglas.

    Ps.I did’nt know you were Irish.

    • Colin Morris permalink
      March 18, 2009 1:13 am

      Don’t be such a sensitive asshole. The Patrick’s day parade is awful. Dublin city on Paddy’s day is awful. Dublin City is awful. Grow up.

      • Kim permalink
        March 18, 2009 11:22 am

        ‘Dublin City is awful’?
        I haven’t been to the parade in years. It might be great, I wouldn’t know. But I have had to work on P’s Day in the last few years, and it really does turn the city into a trash-filled dump for the day. It’s really depressing. I avoid Paddy’s Day because I can’t stand looking at people stagger around drunk and sloppy and throwing up on their own city on a Saturday night or on a match night, so the last thing on earth I’m going to do is drag myself to the absolute zenith of this type of behaviour all year. The rampant ‘it’s ok to be a disgusting pig and an alcoholic today’ thing that goes on on the 17th – it’s nauseating. And I’m sorry, everybody knows the day is all about the suspension of all normal rules of behaviour. It’s not the festival organisers’ fault though.

  4. March 18, 2009 2:00 am

    This has been the best St Paddy’s I’ve had in years. Me, my couch, a six of Guinness, a take away order, and a movie. This is the one day a year I stay the FUCK FAR AWAY from my favourite pub.

  5. March 18, 2009 10:12 am

    Ugh you’re so right. I remember the first time I was working in a city centre bookstore for paddy’s day and the place was just overrun with underage drinkers using Paddy’s day as an excuse to drink around the streets of Dublin. It put me off the day forever.

    Best Paddy’s day I ever had was actually in Munich, says it all tbh. Maybe we’ll have to cancel it from now on due to “the recession”. Hell, maybe St Patrick is one of the Anglo ten!

  6. March 18, 2009 1:41 pm

    @Kim
    I really don’t think it’s just the 17th March. I was in town a few weeks ago, on a Friday night, for the first time in ages. Same story. Vomiting, fighting etc. It’s just horrible. So yeah, in that respect Dublin city IS awful.

    I still love many aspects of it though, so perhaps I should’ve qualified my statement.

    • Jane permalink*
      March 18, 2009 2:29 pm

      For me it’s the fact that I *do* love Dublin. If I were indifferent towards it, I wouldn’t want it to be a better place. When I see shattered bottles and dogshit and fights and puke, I’m disappointed and angry, and I don’t think any of us would bother being pissed off if we didn’t think it had way more potential than that. I hate that ‘we can’t have nice things’ attitude, the way it’s just a feedback loop. We can’t have nice things because they get smashed. Then someone says, “Screw that, let’s do a nice thing!” And then it gets smashed. Even around my area, it’s a minority ruining it for everyone else. Most of the kids are cool, but they’re not the once you notice when you’re picking broken glass out of your skull. I was doing a voxpop in town once and the photographer and I thought it would be funny to get some “Where in Dublin do you feel represents *your* Dublin?” quotes off a couple of gardai wandering their beat, looking in no rush at all at all. One of them said, “I wouldn’t lay claim to this kip”, and the other was like, “Yeah, I wouldn’t want anything to do with this place.” I was really fucking angry about that. I’m not from here, either, and I still feel I have some sense of stewardship/responsibility to give a shit. And for those guys, it’s their *job* to give a shit, but they actually didn’t see it that way. Lame.

      Anyway, Dublin: could be amazing. Sometimes is amazing in the wrong way, and we wouldn’t be embarrassed by it if we didn’t care.

      • Kim permalink
        March 18, 2009 7:18 pm

        I agree with both of you.. I don’t usually go out on Fri and Sat nights.. it reminds me too much of being back at college, and not in a good way. Mind you, central London on a weekend night is worse. Much, much worse.

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