St Patricks Day: Celebrating what it is to be Irish everywhere except NI (where we can’t agree what it means)

St Patricks Day is a celebration almost everywhere in the world, except, you guessed it, Northern Ireland. Each year we are entertained to our usual dour cold war over symbols and identities [at least we’re not burning down Orange Halls, like the Scots – Ed].

In Downpatrick Unionists are complaining that the festivities are being held on, erm, St Patricks Day, because it’s a Sunday. Well, I know yesterday was a bank holiday and it wouldn’t take much to agree to have it on the day we actually get off, but, well, its our whinge day.

It fell to Eamonn Mac Con Midhe to, as Jude puts it, press Unionist buttons (no fleg this year, so no big dog required to discourage any would be protesters):

No flegs in Downpatrick, so no parade in Loyalist Campsie Road in Omagh (because they fly flags that would make Catholics uncomfortable). Such is the dull fun of our Cold War over culture and symbols.

No St Patricks Day Band Parade (and no local bomb scares either) this year. That’s for that same reason; it’s on a Sunday. But Slugger understands they’re hoping to come back next year.

The best news is that for the second year in a row Queens, and now the University of Ulster, seem to have tamped down the flames of passion in the Holylands, which, but for one bizarre, and yet to be fully explained, incident, was pretty trouble free.

Many of last year’s innocent first years will be doing their final stretch next year, so it may be that the habit is broken.

Good to see leadership coming from somewhere…

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