Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Saint Patrick's Day
March 17th is a date surely ingrained in the mind of every Irishman around the world. Saint Patrick's day. Every Saint Patrick's day millions of people across the globe celebrate not just in recognition of one of christianity's earliest saints but, as has become the case, in praise of the very fact of being Irish. Indeed, more and more the religious significance of this day has been marginalised in the face of its growing role as a celebration of all things Irish with no sign of this trend reversing.
Every year the parades get bigger, more disposable festive novelties are rolled off corporate production lines and more republican tricoleurs are bought and hung up everywhere and anywhere. Each time around more and more people get involved and each time the festivities are more jubilant than before. On the surface of things it must seem like we're enjoying a cultural renaissance. Afterall, if the celebrations are getting bigger it must be because there is more to celebrate, right? The republic is in the money and the north is (relatively) quiet these days, but at what expense does all this come?
In the process of striving for an easier more materially comfortable lifestyle the idea of retaining, or indeed fighting for, a distinctly Irish way of life has been quietly shuffled out of the picture. We're no happier for it and we're certainly no richer except in the crudest most qualitative sense of the term. So we can now afford that extra car, a new ipod and come St Paddy's day a big green novelty hat with some token bit of Gaeilge plastered over it. But in any more serious a sense than any of this would afford us, we are becoming isolated from everything that made us a unique and admirable people.
Whilst it might be a sea of smiley faces and shamrocks in the dizzy drunken haze of the St Patricks day celebrations, back in reality things are not so rosey (or emerald). Assailed by a host self-interested plutocratic forces from both within and without, traditional Ireland slides each year that little bit further into that historical abyss where all once-great civilizations go, leaving behind them only skeletonised monuments for future generations to peer at in curiousity.
Besides the age old enemy in the British we now face the threat of being turned into a faceless grey race of workers under the stewardship of the new age ideology of multiculturalism whilst the various diaspora communities in Australia, Britain, the US and elsewhere face the double threat of this and the white-inclusivism that has formed as a backlash to it. Meanwhile the supposed government of our people cant wait to fire up the bulldozers and plough into one of our nations most prized monuments; spiritual heart of Ireland, Tara Hill.
Things most definately do not look like ripe circumstances for a party. But come that mid march date, we rally together and celebrate to another unparalled level of excess and yet each time around that we do so we are marking off another year's passage in the agonisingly slow death throes of our nation.