Why I don't particularly like St Patrick's Day, even though I'm Irish.


It's March 15th 2014. Two days before that day. THAT day. St Patrick's Day. A day that makes me sigh and stay off all social networking sites for fear that I'll say something I'll regret.

I don't like St Patrick's Day that much. Don't get me wrong, I love all things Irish, I'm extremely proud to be born and raised here. My heart swells with pride when I see Irish people being celebrated around the world for various talents. It's just the stereotype associated with March 17th. If you go on Twitter on St Patrick's Day you will be overwhelmed by the thousands of tweets saying "Kiss me I'm Irish" (by people who aren't Irish), "St Patty's Day" and people talking about how the day is used to get drunk. This is mostly done by those who were not born or raised in Ireland, and have never stepped a foot on to Irish soil.

Hudson Taylor - Irish folk duo.
Yes, we do have Irish people that get appallingly drunk on St Patrick's Day. I will admit it. Obviously, I do have a drink on St Patrick's day too. But it's those people who use the day to celebrate being Irish, or their Irish ancestry that are ignored. St Patrick's Day is supposed to be a celebration of our patron saint. Some of us Irish aren't particularly religious (I'm not) but it is essentially a celebration of our Irish nationality. That's how it should be celebrated around the world. This isn’t the case at all.
The Fianna, from Irish legends.
Not all of us are alcoholics. My mam is a pioneer (non-drinker) and I have lots of relatives who abstain. I do drink, but that doesn't mean you'll find me falling around the place, intoxicated. I'll never understand people AROUND the world who drink themselves silly.

I also get so angry when I see various companies gearing up for St Patrick's Day with green t-shirts saying “Kiss Me I’m Irish”, or that silly “Lucky Charms” cereal that people eat. The world's media tend to focus on the bad things: some drunk Irish people, leprechauns, and the accursed lucky charms. They never focus on our beautiful language (ár teanga álainn), our music, our gift of storytelling, our rich history and legends. All of the important parts of Irish culture are ignored. It's maddening and instead we're greeted with stupid t-shirts, an app about a leprechaun, cereals, and a mockery of our culture. We have Urban Outfitters (a clothing company) selling delightful clothes with captions such as: Wasted sober and Irish I were drunk. Or the Keep Calm pictures with the captions: Keep calm and drink beer.

Where is the link with Irish culture here? Oh of course, it’s mentioning the irrelevant and over focused parts of our culture.

Please don't misunderstand me. I have no fault with anyone who celebrates their Irish heritage. None whatsoever, they are entitled to. What gets on my nerves is the people who go on and on about having Irish roots on March 17th and don't talk about them again until St Patrick's Day comes around the next year.

People around the world need to be educated about our culture badly. I'm so sick of websites like TMZ and People.com portraying us as uneducated alcoholics. It's so unfair and misleading. People.com have a video from a while back asking various celebrities what they liked about Ireland. The only answer that had substance was from Úna Healy (Foden) who is Tipperary born. The rest of these celebrities answered with beer (Guinness primarily). It doesn't surprise me. But I thought to myself Wow. How unaware all these people are. They've been brought up being fed all these stereotypes and they think it's reality. Thousands of non-Irish people still think Ireland is a place where all the old men wear caps, live in thatched houses, practically live in pubs, have no electricity. How wrong they are. And I'm glad that lots of people dispute this. Don't get me started on that useless (if you can call it a film) "Leap Year" starring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode.

So please, this St Patrick’s Day, try actually researching why this celebration even exists and respect the Irish people and culture a little more. Educate yourself more if you go by Irish stereotypes because they are laughably untrue. Enjoy St Patrick’s Day and celebrate the things about Ireland that matter.

Thanks for reading, go raibh mile maith agat!

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