A very Happy St Patrick’s Day to all our readers from the Editor and everyone at the Irish World
Here our Editor Bernard Purcell speaks to Sky News about St. Patrick and why he is for everyone.
Today Irish people around the world celebrate an Englishman who was kidnapped and taken to Ireland against his will only to return some years later… to banish its snakes.
Until relatively recently he’s been more feted by people outside Ireland than inside.
It’s a day full of ironies, if not contradictions.
The first St Patrick’s parade was in New York in 1762…by Irish soldiers serving in the British Army.
The huge influx of Irish migrants in the 19th century took it to their hearts as they fought against being an underclass.
The pay-off for that is the Prime Minister of a very small country gets direct access to the US President.
Take that, special relationship!
As for those novelty hats and beards you might see people wearing in pubs today – they have their origins in the crude anti-Irish caricatures in 19th century British newspapers.
And, of course, there’s Guinness, now a huge drinks multinational. For years it has been telling us – except on this one day of the year – that it’s not Irish anymore. As if to confirm it, it got both the date, and the shape of a shamrock, wrong in some of its ads.
But then this is a country that celebrates a Saint for despatching a mythical beast, who not only never set foot in England but would have been hard pressed to find it on the map.