In the wake of St Patrick’s day 2009 I wrote this opinion on a superb day.
St Patrick’s day is one of my favourite days of the year. I say this as someone who is half Irish and half English but fiercly proud of both sides of my heritage. (I know that can seem hard to believe for anyone who knows the history the two nations share!)
The atmosphere around university was fantastic all day this year, helped by it being a sunny day admittedly, with people outside drinking, playing football, listening to music and generally having a good time. It’s not usual to queue at a bar at 2pm on a tuesday with assignments coming up for everyone!
Obviously a night out followed and good prices for beer were accompanied by an even better atmosphere than there was in the day. The student union was fuller than I’ve seen it and everyone had exactly the same aim: to have the best time possible! And even though for most of us that meant we drank until we could hardly stand there wasn’t a hint of trouble. Other nationalities enjoyed the fun and anyone Irish was enjoying everyone else getting involved; I didn’t even get stick for singing Irish songs in an incredibly English accent!
So why can’t we do the same for St George’s day? St Patrick’s is celebrated around the world by anyone even slightly Irish and anyone who knows someone even slightly Irish, yet in England we seem too worried by the p.c brigade to do anything.
Boris Johnson has made a good step with his plans in London this year for St George’s day but I don’t hold too much hope for the festivities; it will take a sustained effort over a number of years for the pride shown on our national day of celebration to be anywhere near the level it is for Ireland.
I will be celebrating as wholeheartedly as I can next month, but I know there won’t be the same level of involvement that we see every year on March 17.
Until we get our national pride back, and stop being ashamed of being English, the only celebration I’ll be able to look forward to fully every 12 months is the same mid-march day. Lets just make sure the Guinness doesn’t run out next time!