Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Bridie, our Director and Alina our Intern tell us about their St Patrick’s Day celebrations and experiences.
As you may have worked out from my name ‘Bridie O’Reilly’ I am indeed 100% Irish.
As a child growing up in London on the 17th March – ‘St. Patrick’s Day’ you would have found me proudly wearing my Irish dancing costume to school with a sprig of shammrock in my button hole that had been sent over from Ireland.
Sadly that tradition has long slipped as I wouldn’t fit into that costume anymore and my parents and grandparents have long gone so all this is now a very distant memory. But what I do remember is what an important day it was in our family calender.
My father would make sure Irish records were playing throughout the house and a bottle of Guinness would be visible somewhere for sure!
St. Patrick’s Day meant it was a time for the Irish community in Clapham where I grew up to get together and remember there roots – not that they needed much encouragement as they tended to stick together and talk about ‘home’ most of the time! but on the 17th March the pubs were always full.
Every year there is a parade in Trafalgar Square on the weekend around the 17th – the fountains are even dyed green sometimes!
In memory of my roots I will wear my mother’s shamrock brooch on St. Patrick’s Day I promise.
The Irish are well known for their sense of humour and just to give you a flavour of this here are a couple of daft jokes.
Billy stops Paddy in Dublin and asks for the quickest way to Cork.
Paddy says, “Are you on foot or in the car?”
Billy says, “In the car.”
Paddy says, “That’s the quickest way.”
Dr O’Mahony tells his patient: “I have bad news and worse news, John.”
“Oh dear,” John replies. “What’s the bad news?”
The doctor replies: “You only have 24 hours to live.”
“That’s terrible,” says John “How can the news possibly be worse?”
Dr O’Mahony replies: “I’ve been trying to contact you since yesterday.”
Alina has just arrived in London but has already experienced some Irish London fun when she joined the St Patrick’s Celebrations 2016 which took place last weekend!
The luck was with the Irish yesterday as the sun came out to spoil everyone in and around Trafalgar Square. And I have to admit that even though a cool pint of Guinness always tastes lovely, it does taste best when the sun dances on your face and people around you cheer to the sound of a fiddle.
Throughout the day different bands, singers and dancing schools entertained the audience in the best way possible. And how else do you entertain a crowd? With delicious food, of course!
A food market offered Irish beef stew cooked on an open fire, lamb and potato shepherd’s pie from @ThePieCart, Irish brisket, and fried chicken in butter buns.
I had to go for the Irish Black Pudding Scotch Egg. They’re delicious eaten warm, but they’re just as good cold, for breakfast. And you might also not want to eat anything else for the rest of the day.
Here and there we were able to catch a glimpse of the parade but if you really want to enjoy the whole thing you will have to get up early and find a nice spot next to the fence. Just don’t move for the next two hours…or four or five.
After a couple of hours the crowd in front of the stage had transformed into a moving emerald sea roaring and wobbling to the beat of drums and hard dancing shoes. If you haven’t had a chance to experience the celebrations I highly recommend that you do next year. And until then you have a good chance of making up for the loss on the 17th March when all the Irish pubs will welcome you on St. Patrick’s Day. Just don’t forget to wear something green and a huge smile on your face.