16 March 2013

St Patrick's Day: The London Kiwi's Guide

Ahh, St Patrick's Day, the Irish public holiday day of celebrating' and drinkin'.


One of my favourite holidays to adopt, it usually involves claiming some Irish ancestry (vague is normally fine, you'll be called a plastic paddy), wearing green, finding your local Irish pub and drinking a heck of a lot of Guinness. If you can't find a good pub and live in London, I would highly recommended wandering up to Trafalgar Square from around 11am tomorrow morning & enjoying the immense party and parade put on. (I've just found TNT magazine, the great antipodean bastion, have a few more suggestions here.)

DSCN0228 1024x768 London Doesnt Dye the River...

Did I mention they usually dye the Trafalgar Square fountain Green? It's not just your eyes playing tricks, I promise.
 

Random facts to read/amaze your friends with/bore the annoying drunk on the train home:
  • St Patrick's day was originally associated with the colour blue.
  • As a feast day/holiday St Patrick's has been celebrated since the 9th Century.
  • "Success to bold St. Patty's fist / he was a saint so clever / He gave the snakes and toads a twist / and banished them forever." Sadly they were symbolic snakes (non-Christians ) he converted, but it still makes a natty folk tune.
  • It's an official public holiday in Ireland.
  • As a side-effect, many takeaway shops make a lot of money from St Patrick's Day. Kebabs in the UK especially.
  • Green ribbons and shamrocks have been associated with St Patrick's day.
  • The restrictions of Lent are lifted, just for the day.
  • The phrase "the wearing of the green", meaning to wear a shamrock on ones clothing, derives from a song of the same name.
  • The Queen Mother used to present bowls of shamrock flown over from Ireland to members of the Irish Guards on St Patrick's day. (Cheers Wikipedia)

My cousin has braved Dublin this year - I've got to say she's a hardy soul & hats off to her!

If getting your daily vitamins via copious pints of Guiness aren't your thang, there are a variety of ways to celebrate your Irish (however vague) roots: Soda Bread, Cabbage & Bacon or Colcannon. Perfect also for hangovers...




 
"Did you ever eat Colcannon, made from lovely pickled cream?
With the greens and scallions mingled like a picture in a dream.
Did you ever make a hole on top to hold the melting flake
Of the creamy, flavoured butter that your mother used to make?"
 
The chorus:
Yes you did, so you did, so did he and so did I.
And the more I think about it sure the nearer I'm to cry.
Oh, wasn't it the happy days when troubles we had not,
And our mothers made Colcannon in the little skillet pot."
 
Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh! Happy St Patricks Day.

Slainte! Cheers!

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