Well-meaning complaining about St Patrick’s Day feels more Irish than the festival
We’re just 2 days away from the world’s favourite greenwashed day, and businesses, pubs and Whatsapp groups everywhere are gearing up to celebrate. Tourists from all over the world with dubious Irish connections and the Emerald Isle on their bucket list will flock to us for the weekend. But in the midst of the shamrock confetti, it seems that us Irish are viewing St Patrick’s Day with less of a sheen than before.
For the past few years, we can always count on a good St Patrick’s Day viral moment or meme to brighten our days, and they invariably have to do with Irish begrudgery towards the entire event. In 2016, it was comedy group Windup Merchantz taking to the streets to tell tourists how much they hate Paddy’s day (and of course, make a show of the tourists in the process).
In 2017, we fell in love with one man’s hilariously grumpy take on American tourists clogging the streets for the parade.
We love a bit of well-meaning complaining in Ireland, and somehow these comical moments felt more Irish than the festival itself. We’ve gone so far into our cynicism, we’re starting to hate our own national day. If that’s not the most Irish thing you’ve ever heard, I don’t know what is.
Of course, it’s not entirely us being cynical. St Patrick’s Day does often turn into an opportunity to perpetuate the stereotype of the drunken, fighting Irishman around the world. It’s tiring to have a national epidemic such as Ireland’s issues with alcohol made fun of on a worldwide scale, especially as a part of our national identity. With that, of course, is the equally tiring tirade of ‘Oh I’m Irish too!” from well-meaning tourists and descendants of Irish emigrants, who feel the need to validate their Irishness in order to celebrate the day with us. Maybe they see us Irish as members of an exclusive club that has the best craic and doesn’t let just anyone in. Whereas it seems in Ireland that we feel the opposite; Irishness has become a bit of a free for all.
It’s important to remember what makes us so attractive to partiers around the world; our charm, wit, craic and easy-going nature. There’s a reason that everybody wants to be Irish after all, as we have the reputation for being the most welcoming country in the world. Maybe the true spirit of Paddy’s Day in 2018 is its welcoming of the rest of the world into the fold. We can let them pick up the slack of celebrating, and watch it all from the sidelines, all the while slagging them off when they get it wrong, of course.
So if St Patrick’s Day isn’t ours anymore, let the rest of the world have it. At least we still have coddle.