Friday, March 17, 2023

St Patrick's Day


Bejessus, Begorra, Top of the mornin to ya. Anymore of that and I’ll be at yer pigs with my shillelagh.

And lots of other things that Irish people never say. 

They do actually say feck a lot which is not rude at all. It just sounds as though it might be.

So happy St Patrick's Day to one and all, although  at the moment we’re more entrenched in the commercialisation of Mother's Day which is this Sunday. I am rounding that square by giving my mother a present of  Ballycastle Irish Cream Liquor which is a cheap ( but very tasty)  version of Baileys Irish Cream Liquor. So, the penny pinching Scot is in admiration of the Irish alcohol which could be a theme for  many things.

Like most Scots I have a high percentage of Irish. My paternal grandfather was from Belfast, he could never pronounce my name and called me Carl. If a word began with a Z he’d have to put an O in front of it. I still have to stop myself saying O’Zip and O’Zebra. O’Feck could very well be misunderstood.

St Patrick was probably British (some sources say that he was born to Roman parents and that he probably spent his early years in Southern Scotland or in Wales). He was kidnapped as a child and taken to Ireland in an early form of human trafficking. 

He probably never wore green. As we are talking the 4th century details are scant and open to interpretation but it is interesting that the colour was called St Patrick's Blue. The green only really became associated with him in the Irish Independence Movement of the late 18th century. Bearing in mind the relative significance of green and blue, catholic and protestant, Celtic and Rangers and the west of Scotland, this is particularly ironic. 

As is the blue face of Mel Gibson in Braveheart. William Wallace never wore a kilt or wode. That blue colour comes from the flag of St Andrew. And Hollywood.

 But, Patrick took the national flower of Ireland, the shamrock, and used that as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity when he was introducing Christianity to the pagans of Ireland. Having met some of my Irish relatives I think most of the paganism is still going strong.

Another thing St Patrick is famous for is snakes, there's always one  wrapped round his staff. He's accredited with driving all the snakes out of Ireland when, of course, there’s never been any there as its too cold and too wet – reptiles just wouldn’t have survived the ice age. And being an island … There’s only one native snake in Great Britain – the adder -which can give you a nasty nip if you are tracking through heather without your socks tucked into your trousers.

So in a nutshell, St Patrick could be the most celebrated Welshman in America. 

Did all that start in Boston?

Patrick was slave for 6 years in Ireland, probably tending to animals, before having a revelation in a dream, so he escaped, walked to County Mayo and just kept going travelling to France/Gaul where he  studied Christianity for almost 20 years. He then returned to Ireland and he was clever enough to combine his Christian teachings with Irish Pagan tradition and Druid folklore, although he sometimes crossed the line and was promptly imprisoned only to escape again and continue with his teachings.

A good example of this mergeing of faiths is the Christian cross which has obvious symbolism, and he superimposed on that an image of the sun which is a powerful Irish/Druid symbol to give what is called the Celtic Cross.


So go ahead enjoy your Guiness, your potato scones, sing great songs and dance until you can dance no more.

Happy St Patricks day. 


1 comment:

  1. This post ranks up there with your best of all time. I just wish I'd seen it while still in Tucson for Left Coast Crime so that I could share my new knowledge with the attending slew of celebrating Irish (and Scots). Just one question: Is there a trick to tucking one's socks into one's trousers?