What expats are doing for St Pat’s
St Patrick’s Day means much more to emigrants than it does to people in Ireland. Several Irish people abroad describe what they’ll be doing on March 17th
The commentary over here tends to highlight the one all-pervading, onedimensional aspect of the day – the drinking, which leads to an uncomfortable mix of national pride and acute embarrassment. It is not only Irish people doing the over-indulging; Dunedin is a student town and the excuse for an all-day bender is embraced with great enthusiasm. There will be street parties and live music, and plenty of inflatable shamrocks and “Kiss Me I’m Irish” hats.
St Patrick’s Day used to be a celebration of Irishness, but not any more. The day has been hijacked and cheapened by the plastic paddywhackery aspect. It creates an international perception of what it means to be Irish that is far from the truth.
Drink yourself green if you will, but please, not in my honour; I’d like to think there is more to us than that.
Acting manager of Durty Nelly ’s Bar,
It will be packed in here on Sunday, the busiest day of the year. Our main clientele will be the Irish tradesmen and backpackers who regularly drink here, and local Australia ns who come in to check out what St Patrick’s Day is all about.
We will open at 8am to serve a full Irish breakfast so people can get a good feed into them. The traditional music session will start at 11am and run until 2pm, where people can bring in their own instruments and join in. There will be Irish dancing, too.
It doesn’t matter where we go, the Irish always love a pint, especially on our national day. It won’t get messy though, because you are not allowed by law to be drunk in a pub in Australia. People will get merry, but they won’t be falling over like at home.
I’m originally from Finglas in Dublin, and 90 per cent of our staff are Irish. St Patrick’s Day is really important for Irish people here to get together, but we try to provide a taste of home for them all through the year. The sense of community among the Irish in Sydney is very strong; because we are so far away from home, we need to look after each other.
Guitarist with Boxty, Dubai
Playing traditional Irish music was a huge part of my life growing up in Belfast. I have toured a bit around the US and Australia playing guitar – Irish music is popular everywhere you go, so playing it is a great way to travel and see the world.
I came to Dubai a few years ago for a gig and loved it. I lived in Qatar for a year but jazz music is much more popular there, so I moved back to Dubai last August and got in touch with the group through a friend of a friend from home.
St Patrick’s week is one of the busiest of the year – we will be playing gigs almost every night. On Sunday we’ll be performing at an event organised by Tourism Ireland at the Burj Al Arab, the world’s only seven-star hotel, for the Irish Ambassador and about 50 members of the Irish community, which is a great opportunity.