The Three Stages of Paddys Day


St. Patrick’s Day –

Internationally celebrated. Our small island and our patron Saint, St. Patrick celebrated worldwide.

Ain’t that amazing?

I think it is.

I also think it’s amazing that people celebrate this day without actually knowing what St. Patrick’s Day means to us, the Irish here in Ireland.

There are roughly three stages of Paddy’s day – if I am to be totally honest.

Stage One:

In school we were taught all about St Patrick and how he brought Christianity to Ireland in 5th Century.

He also banished all the snakes from Ireland and he introduced us to the Shamrock, which he used to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity – three persons, one God.

But what the day really meant was taking part in the school band.

We would march through the streets of Galway ( west coast of Ireland) proudly playing the tin whistle , drums or the accordion or even showing off as a majorette.

Crowds would gather in the city while we marched happily and proudly wearing our school colours.

We played everything from Célie music to our national football team’s anthem.

We froze our little legs off while our hands turned blue, but we loved it.

We had taytos and fizzy drinks once we went back to our school to celebrate another successful St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Stage Two:

As a teenager, that day took on a completely different meaning.

It was a day to go arsing about the town with green milkshakes watching the parade and laughing at the poor young ones marching in the bitter cold.

It was a rare year that the sun shone on St. Patrick’s Day here in Ireland.

We literally would just walk around the town soaking up the atmosphere and trying to hide from our parents who were always standing in the street watching our younger siblings march on by.

As we became older teenagers and well into our 20’s (not me personally, as I became a mum three months shy of my 21st birthday), we spent our day propping up a bar stool, listening to live music.

We would wear the most ridiculous hats, scarfs, tops and of course our faces would be painted green, white and gold.

We would dance, sing and drink the night away and, boy, did we make some great (blurry) memories!

Stage Three:

The parent stage.

Paddy’s day becomes a family day.

A day where you bring your darlings out into a crowded city centre hoping to get a glimpse of the colourful eccentric performance by the wonder that is Macnas along with marching bands, floats , and of course some schools marching along in the cold wet windy rain.

I haven’t gone to see the parade in almost ten years. It is hard.

It is hard to bring small children into that environment, but it is very hard to bring a child with sensory issues into the crowds, the pushing, the teenagers, the screaming, the clapping, the cheering…

My middle guy goes most years with his aunty, but we haven’t gone as a family.

Now that Ethan uses a wheelchair, this has made that task even trickier.

So, every St. Patrick’s Day we bring our boys off to one of the many local beaches, which we are blessed to live beside, or we go for a long walk in a deserted woods …it’s lovely and peaceful and we even go looking for leprechauns (no we don’t I am kidding).

We bring the camera, some treats and a football…we literally feel like the only people in the world!

For me, and many Irish people, Paddy’s Day is about family, how we spend it may vary but it is always a day where we take a little extra pride in being Irish.

I will let you in on one secret — there isn’t an Irish person alive that understands why ‘Patty’ or where the heck ‘Patty’ came from — If you’re celebrating an Irish holiday know that Patty is short for Patricia (here in Ireland, at least, and I am pretty sure, in most places?!) – Don’t wish an Irish person a ‘Happy Patty’s Day’ – it pisses them off.

Honestly. I’m just trying to save you some uncomfortable silences …

Saint Patrick’s Day,

Patrick’s Day,

Saint Paddy’s Day,

Paddy’s Day….

Patty’s day — as Smokie once sang…Patricia, Patricia who the f**k is Patricia?! Not quite, but you get the idea!!!

Whatever you do this March 17th, enjoy it!

Enjoy the Irishness, enjoy the music and most of all enjoy the bit of craic.


This was originally published on FireFlyFriends


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