A Green Day

What it means to be Irish

Hugh Linehan Fri, Mar 15
 
LIVE: A Green Day

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  • 09:28
    Good morning and welcome to the Saint Patrick’s Day liveblog from the Irish Times offices on Tara St in Dublin. If you’re planning to attend one of the many parades around Ireland today, wrap up warm and put on your waterproofs. It’s fairly typical March 17th weather out there this morning – damp, grey and a bit on the cold side – but goosebumps are a all part of the Irish national day experience.
  • 09:34
  • 09:36
    The tradition of celebrating Ireland's national saint's day with parades didn't start in Ireland. There have been parades in Boston and New York since the 18th century, organised first by Protestant Irish emigrants but then taken over and greatly expanded by the huge waves of Catholic migrants who arrived from the 1840s onward. By contrast, in the early years of independence, the Irish state saw no need for a parade, restricting itself to a celebratory Mass and a march past by the Army. After the second World War, the day was reserved for an industrial pageant "showcasing Irish industry and agriculture".
  • 09:47
    So this is a day devoted more to Irish people around the world than Irish people in Ireland. And with emigration rising again, the experience of leaving and being remains at the heart of our national identity.
  • 09:51
    Here's a really good short film, released online this week, about a “young man on the brink of emigration, but as he races through the streets of Dublin he comes to realise the spirit he is leaving behind”. Made by Souljacker, the film was directed by James Stacey, produced by Seán Smith and scripted by Matthew Darragh and James Stacey, with an original score by Rónán Ó Snodaigh of Kíla.
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  • 10:10
    Padraig Collins reports from Sidney that 'Australia’s prime minister Julia Gillard told the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce in Melbourne that she was “contemplating naming myself Taoiseach Gillard for a day ... I reckon that’d be fun.
    Ms Gillard, who was born in Wales, said the Irish should “never forget that St Paddy’s Day is actually all about a Taff – someone from Wales”.'
  • 10:18
    We'd love to post your Twitter pics here on the @IrishTimes site if you're going to a parade today. Just put @hlinehan in your tweet and I'll keep an eye out for them
  • 10:28
    Some of us of a certain vintage will fondly remember the bleakness of the Dublin parades in the 1980s. "Commercial floats" - flatbed lorries dressed up with bad ads for security companies - crawling through horizontal sleet as the sullen populace shivered in the cold. But hark! Somewhere in this teenage wasteland four messiahs were waiting to take us to a promised land of prosperity, for a while anywhere... This 1982 Saint Patrick's Day message from U2 to MTV is ropy at the start (who knew VHS would have such a short shelf life?), but stick with it for some fine shots of Dublin's docklands (now ruined, alas, by apartments, restaurants and other unnecessary stuff. Oh, what we've lost...)
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  • 10:49
    Impressive leprechaun in Chicago yesterday
    Impressive leprechaun in Chicago yesterday
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  • 11:02
    By the way, if you're reading this in the @IrishTimes Apple or Android apps, you'll be missing some of the glorious, multimedia experience. Why not check out the responsive design versionthoughb your browser here, and then you can enjoy this first entry in our Worst Irish Film Accents Ever series.
  • 11:02
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  • 11:14
    On a more serious matter, surfing the Twitter machine over the last couple of hours, one can't ignore the number of people who plan to make this a day of extreme inebriation.
  • 11:16
    Donald Clarke's piece on Irish national steretyping here observes that: 'Saint Patrick’s Day is really about vomiting into the gutter while wearing a fake orange beard and a tricoloured foam-rubber hat. For all our shiny buildings and Broadway-annihilating theatre pieces, we are still dab hands at drinking ourselves into blind insensibility. In recent years, however, we have tended to do more of our boozing in the privacy of home. Not on March 17th. The patron saint seems to encourage a particularly unhinged school of old-school idiotic drinking.'
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  • 11:34
    If you're reading this overseas, please do check out Generation Emigration, our forum for Irish people living around the world.
  • 11:46
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  • 11:48
    I have a feeling a certain astronaut will be Grand Marshalling a St Patrick's Day parade or two in years to come...
  • 11:53
    Second entry in the Worst Irish Film Accents Ever series....
  • 11:53
  • 12:13
    OK, time to remember the actual story of St Patrick. Roll it there Colette...
  • 12:13
  • 12:19
    So, with the Dublin parade about to start, it's still a cold, grey, wet day in Dublin, but a little better in the south and west.
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  • 12:24
    And we're off, nearly... Des Cahill seems to be blocking O'Connel St for the moment. We might ave to ask our correspondent, Rosemary MacCabe, to clear him away.
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  • 12:42
    President Higgins on RTE wishes a happy St Patrick's Day to Irish people all over thw world.
  • 12:43
    Here comes the Lord Mayor, Naoise O Muiri, in that ridiculously fancy coach that comes with the job. He should really use it every day.
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  • 12:49
    By the way, if you're looking for it you can get the St Patrick’s Day parade video livestream n on youtube.com/rte
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  • 12:56
    Nice to see everybody's enjoying that RTE coverage.
  • 12:59
    I'm seeing a Giant Door coming down O'Connel Street. There's a complex concept at work here, I think, but I'm failing to grasp it. Again.
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  • 13:11
    Don't want to, er, rain on the parade, but have to say this has all been a bit glum so far. Glad I'm watching ffrom the comfort of the Irish Times newsroom, with feet up on a warm stove.
  • 13:12
  • 13:14
    All very old school - heavy on the majorettes, light on the drug-induced, flamenco-dancing technicoloured giant insects
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  • 13:17
    Sorry about that last Tweet of Doom from Brian Lucey, but there ARE a lot of ATMs along the parade route. Just saying...
  • 13:19
    Maggie, the largest rag doll in the world. 7.7m tall. The height of two double-decker buses. Des Cahill quote: 'Maggie has very long legs. I suppose you'd expect that in a seven-metre doll'.
    Moving swiftly along...
  • 13:20
    More majorettes.
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  • 13:29
    So Pope Francis has the gift of bilocation. Useful.
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  • 13:36
    Quite a jolly steampunk show from Inishowen in Co Donegal there. Then another high school marching band, this time from Cedar Rapids. The exces baggage charges for these guys must be horrendous.
  • 13:37
    Belfast Youth Circus now. Good name for a band.
  • 13:38
  • 13:46
    Ray Duffy Bono looks great as St Patrick
  • 13:47
    Giant suitcaes wheeling down Westmoreland St, followed by assorted shirts and socks. That's more like it.
  • 13:48
    Followed by the biggest American marching band in the parade - 331 members. That would bring a tear to an Aer Lingus executive's eye.
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  • 13:50
    Actually, Joseph.. oh, forget it.
  • 13:59
  • 14:07
    There was something about today's parade that brought back memories of the old time, when a fire engine, or a car with go-faster stripes was the height of excitement. Maybe it really is time for us all to get back to this sort of thing.
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  • 14:32
    Mark Haha all it means - There is another reason to get pissed , hammered and vomit on Dublin streets
  • 14:39
    Thanks for that, Mark. Speak for yourself. I'm off home for a nice cup of tea. Thanks to the tweeters for the pics and the observations. The star of today's show was undoubtedly Chris Hadfield. Commander, there'll always be a welcome for you in the greatest little country in the world. Slan agus beannacht.
  • 14:41