St Patrick: a dress-up doll

With Mick in a contemplative mood about the “real meaning of St Patrick”, here’s an interesting article courtesy of Slate’s David Plotz, first published on 17th March 2000 but still relevant, and worth noting as Taoiseach Bertie Ahern prepares to hand over that lovely bowl

The Irish have celebrated their patron saint with a quiet religious holiday for centuries, perhaps more than 1,000 years. It took the United States to turn St. Patrick’s Day into a boozy spectacle. Irish immigrants first celebrated it in Boston in 1737 and first paraded in New York in 1762. By the late 19th century, the St. Patrick’s Day parade had become a way for Irish-Americans to flaunt their numerical and political might. It retains this role today.

And I’ll just record one other line from the article –

The scarcity of facts about St. Patrick’s life has made him a dress-up doll: Anyone can create his own St. Patrick.

Read the rest of the Slate article.

And look out for links to other articles at the end.