St Patrick’s Day celebrations: leprechauns drinking Guinness


St. Patrick’s Day is here, and it’s funny how my experience of the day has changed and continues to change over the course of the years.

When I was a child, my parents used to take me for a drive up a mountain called Slieve Gallion to look across the landscape, proclaiming we could see our house from there. Why we always went there I have no idea, especially considering that Slemish, the mountain Patrick’s actually supposed to have been a shepherd on, is just as close to where we live.

The day took on a very different character a few years ago when I started to enjoy a bit of a drink. One particularly memorable St. Patrick’s night, I had a shot of rum, then one of tequila, upon which a friend pointed out that as it was St. Paddy’s Day, we should really be having Guinnesses. Now I knew full well that I really didn’t (and still don’t) have the stomach for Guinness, even sans rum and tequila, but I bought a pint and duly began sipping.


The renowned irish pint of Guinness

About a third of the way down the glass, I could feel the unholy, inevitable chemical reaction manifesting in some dank and dark pit of my gut, and knew what was going to happen within the next two minutes.

I made to dash off to the toilets, but another friend, N—-, asked where I was going.

“I’m just heading to the toilets” I responded, trying to pretend that the devil himself wasn’t brewing an awful stew in my stomach.

“I needa go to, I’ll come with” she said, before adding “Actually, let’s dance there!”

She grabbed me and put me into what I can only describe as a sort of ‘Tango’ position. We then tango’d all the way to the toilets, arms out, and I made it just in time to spew my guts out my mouth into a proper repository. How I managed not to projectile vomit directly in her face I still don’t know, but I’d attribute it to the ‘Luck o’ the Irish’ if I weren’t inwardly and outwardly cringing even writing such a phrase.

St. Patrick’s Days while at uni have been considerably more tame, possibly because it coincides with the time period when the most work is due in (Although that doesn’t seem to stop students in Belfast, who push their sofas out onto the pavements and have massive street parties). Last year, I went to a pre-drinks at my brother’s flat, where he played traditional and morally questionable Irish music that no-one else knew the words to. I had one or two drinks, then went home and did some work.

This year I’ll most likely just do some work, not even have a drink, then go to bed. Next year however, I’ll see about engaging in some level of nationality-fuelled debauchery.

I know about five words of Irish in total, but Google is remarkably handy at times.

Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhaoibh!