Sláinte! As you slide down the banisters of life may the splinters never point the wrong way.
March 17, 2007 2:27 PM   Subscribe

 
In recent history in Ireland, Paddy's Day was ret-conned into this massive drink fest and imported back into Ireland with a Mardi Gras flavour. Until relatively recently it was one of three Holy Days during which all pubs in Ireland were closed (the others of course being XMas day and Easter Friday). As a result, the RDS Dog Show in Dublin, traditionally held on Paddy's Day, was a roaring success attracting thousands of excited show goers from all over the country. The fact that it had one of the only open bars that day (members' club!) of course had nothing to do with it.

It was a surprise then that when Paddy's Day mutated into the non-stop weekend of drinking, shagging and puking on the streets, the RDS event was radically downsized and moved to much later in the season. We lost the dog show, but we gained the stimulating sight of drunken teenagers going down on each other on Grafton Street. Now that's progress!
posted by meehawl at 2:42 PM on March 17, 2007


Where the gold at?
posted by inconsequentialist at 2:44 PM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Giving the Irish a whole day is like letting Boston win the World Series.
posted by docgonzo at 2:48 PM on March 17, 2007


Paddy's Day mutated into the non-stop weekend of drinking, shagging and puking on the streets,

You say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by jonmc at 2:55 PM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Giving the Irish a whole day is like letting Boston win the World Series.

no, docgonzo ... here's the truth of it ... we had the whole year and out of the generousity of our souls, gave it all to the world, keeping only one day for ourselves ... and then we all let you participate in that one day's festivities

surely you would not be complaining about this?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:03 PM on March 17, 2007


* places hand on heart & sings *

i'll sing you a song
'bout a row in the town
when the green flag went up
and the crown flag came down

'twas the neatest & sweetest thing
ever you saw
when they played that great game
called Erin go bragh...

posted by UbuRoivas at 3:09 PM on March 17, 2007


i have always hated this day. hated my mother making me wear green to school, hated my dad spewing unpronouncable gaelic curses as though he were being witty, hated the stupid guilt-tripping 'where's your irish pride?' parental goading, the peurile guzzling inanities indulged by people who know and care next to nothing about irish heritage. fuck st. patrick and his day up the ass with a crooked green shillelagh.
posted by quonsar at 3:09 PM on March 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


ah, my memory doesn't serve me well.

here goes again:

I'll tell you a story of a row in the town,
When the green flag went up and the Crown rag came down,
'Twas the neatest and sweetest thing ever you saw,
And they played the best games played in Erin Go Bragh.

One of our comrades was down at Ring's end,
For the honor of Ireland to hold and defend,
He had no veteran soldiers but volunteers raw,
Playing sweet Mauser music for Erin Go Bragh.

Now here's to Pat Pearse and our comrades who died
Tom Clark, MacDonagh, MacDiarmada, McBryde,
And here's to James Connolly who gave one hurrah,
And placed the machine guns for Erin Go Bragh.

One brave English captain was ranting that day,
Saying, "Give me one hour and I'll blow you away,"
But a big Mauser bullet got stuck in his craw,
And he died of lead poisoning in Erin Go Bragh.

Old Ceannt and his comrades like lions at bay,
From the South Dublin Union poured death and dismay,
And what was their horror when the Englishmen saw
All the dead khaki soldiers in Erin Go Bragh.

Now here's to old Dublin, and here's her renown,
In the long generation her fame will go down,
And our children will tell how their forefathers saw,
The red blaze of freedom in Erin Go Braugh.

posted by UbuRoivas at 3:11 PM on March 17, 2007


I remember playing the snake(s) that St. Patrick drove out of Ireland in a school play.

It was when I realized that the snakes were a metaphor for the indigenous non-christian Irish culture that I started to suspect that Saint Patrick might not be such an admirable guy after all. It seems like he may have been the beginning of all sorts of troubles for Irish folks.
posted by illovich at 3:30 PM on March 17, 2007


Off topic: I played the doggie in the window in a kindergarten play. Other kids had to try to buy me. My tail fell off right before I was supposed to go onstage. I cried. No indigenous non-christians were harmed though.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:39 PM on March 17, 2007


Guinness in a keg is brewed here in the USA by Coors. The article would have us believe that it is brewed in Ireland.

And just as with St. Valentine's Day, I'm not Catholic so why should I care? Maybe the 24th of April would be a good time to celebrate Irish culture, with real Irish food, music, and cultural activities, instead of celebrating stereotypes such as leprechauns and shamrocks.
posted by Sukiari at 3:39 PM on March 17, 2007


You say that like it's a bad thing.

I don't like getting puke on me runners now, and in time to be, wherever green is worn.
posted by meehawl at 3:41 PM on March 17, 2007


Once again, this St. Patrick's day will be celebrated by eating potatoes and drinking whiskey.

I'm a bit of a traditionalist.

[Oh did I say "St. Patrick's day"? Sorry 'bout that. I meant that to read "Saturday".]
posted by quin at 3:46 PM on March 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


jeez, all this hostility to a holiday celebrated with unrepentant public drunkenness. whatta bunch of squares.
posted by jonmc at 3:48 PM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Nobody told me there'd be shagging in the streets!
posted by chrismear at 3:54 PM on March 17, 2007


And just as with St. Valentine's Day, I'm not Catholic so why should I care?

you mean you're not a luperci, so why should you care about st valentines day?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:55 PM on March 17, 2007


At least the alcohol dulls the painful and humiliating memories of being repeatedly pinched by my colorblind grandfather.
posted by thivaia at 3:59 PM on March 17, 2007


Have you noticed how the "party holidays" are spread evenly across the calendar? Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, New Year's Eve, St. Patrick's Day, and now to fit in the space between March and July, Cinco de Mayo. Don't know where Fat Tuesday/Carnival/Mardi Gras fits in, but since it doesn't fall on the same day every year, I guess the marketers would rather ignore it and concentrate on St. Paddy's.
posted by wendell at 4:00 PM on March 17, 2007


Does Ulster celebrate it?
posted by A189Nut at 4:02 PM on March 17, 2007


Guinness in a keg is brewed here in the USA by Coors.

HAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.
posted by Eekacat at 4:03 PM on March 17, 2007


Guinness in a keg is brewed here in the USA

Stout is a simple drink that can be brewed anywhere, but people take it very seriously. Because of the Guinness Family's Loyalism and the brewery's location in the Pale, Guinness was long known as (at least outside Dublin) as "The Protestant Drink" and hence the existence of regional alternatives such as Beamish and Murphy's in cities less traditionally Loyalist than Dublin.

The Guinness company moved out of Ireland to the UK in the early 1930s and severed all connections with the new Irish Free State except for the St James' Gate site, for which it negotiated a ground rent of around €50 per year for several thousand years. In the 18th century this was apparently a good deal. The St James' Gate site was heavily developed by Guinness during the 19th century into not just a brewery but an entire urban community that was allowed during the worst years of Ireland's mid-20th century isolationism to become one of the worst slums in Dublin. It's getting better but, having lived there, it's tough to up-sell people on buying some of the new apartments when every few days Guinness disgorges some effluent and everything reeks of burning vegetable matter for hours.

The Guinness family was finally driven out of Ireland during following the Irish Civil War and the low-grade ethnic cleansing of Protestants that continued afterwards. You can walk in St Anne's Park in Dublin and see the remains of the Guinness Mansion that was burned. It's quite evocative.

The way Guinness appropriated all the symbols of the old Kingdom of Ireland (green, harp, etc) and so denied their use by its successor states, and the way it managed to lose its politically dodgy symbolism, is truly remarkable marketing. It's as big as Coke re-colouring Santa to be red and white all over.
posted by meehawl at 4:05 PM on March 17, 2007 [10 favorites]


And just as with St. Valentine's Day

As a quick aside, Valentine's shrivelled heart is kept in a shiny box in a church in Dublin. It looks a bit like a small truffle.
posted by meehawl at 4:09 PM on March 17, 2007


Whale oil beef hooked!
posted by inconsequentialist at 4:10 PM on March 17, 2007


Erin go blearrgh.
posted by randomination at 4:12 PM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


and they've just won the cricket too...
posted by patricio at 4:16 PM on March 17, 2007


Eekacat, go down and buy a keg from your favorite store. The little plastic cap reads "Brewed under license by Coors, Golden, Colorado."

It's weak as water too. Real beer starts at 8% alcohol by volume.
posted by Sukiari at 4:25 PM on March 17, 2007


Real beer starts at 8% alcohol by volume.

Guinness was a lot stronger in the 19th centuries but the mainstream variety has been progressively diluted to suit milder palates. Also, it's difficult to sell multiple pints to people if they are too plastered. Weaker Guinnesses let you hang out in the pub longer, drinking.

Pub tap Guinness ("draught") in the US is around 4%. The strongest Guinness available in North America is a rarer bottled variety called "Extra Stout" at 6%. The strongest Guinness worldwide is bottled "Foreign Extra Stout" sold in Ireland, the Caribbean, and Malaysia at 8%.
posted by meehawl at 4:35 PM on March 17, 2007


I've always wondered about the "Major Holiday" status conferred on St. Patty's Day. Is it as big a deal in other parts of the world as it is in Canada and the US ? I always assumed it was due to the large number of Irish who fled the potato famine and settled here.
posted by Popular Ethics at 4:40 PM on March 17, 2007


Low lie the fields of Athenry...

Cricket??? Fuckin' cricket??? Fucking Rugby. Stringer threw our chances of the Six Nations away. Those bastard French bastards stomped it into the fucking ground. Fucking cricket...

At least, that's what my Dad was suffering about when I dropped in flowers for my Mum for tomorrow's Mother's Day (here).

Happy whatever the fuck you want to call it day. Down the hatch! Smile. Hic!
posted by Elmore at 4:45 PM on March 17, 2007


Sukiari, my only guess is that you've confused Guinness and Killians.
posted by Eekacat at 4:45 PM on March 17, 2007


Quonsar summed up my feelings on this cursed day far more succinctly than I was about to.

Pogue mahone, paddies!
posted by psmealey at 4:53 PM on March 17, 2007


Is it as big a deal in other parts of the world as it is in Canada and the US

It's celebrated as Montserrat's pseudo Independence Day. Mainly because the slaves there chose this day in 1768 to revolt, confident that many of their British masters and Irish factotums would be "distracted".
posted by meehawl at 4:53 PM on March 17, 2007


Unless that dark black beer that I've been drinking out of Guinness kegs is Killians, I don't think so.
posted by Sukiari at 5:04 PM on March 17, 2007


Speaking of which... I was on the phone with a friend in Egypt recently & we were noticing how so many cultures around the world have holidays celebrating a revolution against British occupation. We came to an agreement that it's awfully kind of the Brits to inspire so many holidays and give people around the world reasons to have a pleasant day off of work here & there. Y'know?
posted by miss lynnster at 5:06 PM on March 17, 2007


The strongest Guinness available in North America is a rarer bottled variety called "Extra Stout" at 6%.

it's not that rare ... at least i have no trouble finding it ... and one label says it was brewed in toronto ... and another says it was brewed in new brunswick

i think labatt's is the company that does it ... i really don't care for the draught version
posted by pyramid termite at 5:09 PM on March 17, 2007


"unrepentant public drunkenness"
Drunks suck. You might not realize it when you are one, but that's the way it is, whether you're wearing a shamrock or some Mardi Gras beads.
posted by 2sheets at 5:16 PM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Drunks suck.

sure, but they're DRUNK
posted by pyramid termite at 5:22 PM on March 17, 2007


Dan Welch needs to lighten up. There do exist times and places where we are not obligated to think about the sins of Imperialism. (And in any case, Wales was England's "first colony", not Ireland.)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:23 PM on March 17, 2007


Enjoy your day American Plastic Paddies of the world.
posted by fire&wings at 5:23 PM on March 17, 2007


haha! Wow, you drink Guinness out of bottles?
posted by Elmore at 5:28 PM on March 17, 2007


"Drunks suck" says 2sheets - is the point that you have one sheet still tied?
posted by Elmore at 5:31 PM on March 17, 2007


That Mobile leprechaun link... wow. Some strange folk down in Mobile, from the fellow with the "leprecahaun flute" that's "thousands of years old, passed down from my great grandfather who was Irish" to the lady in her car ranting about crackheads and so on... There's something in the air down there.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:42 PM on March 17, 2007


Christine Quinn had to go to Dublin to march: ... "The fact I'm here in Dublin and able to march and participate in inclusive events should send a message of how backwards the New York parade is," said Quinn, who is the city's second-most powerful politician ...
posted by amberglow at 5:47 PM on March 17, 2007


Real beer starts at 8% alcohol by volume.

Not true. The brits have this very lovely concept known as "session beer." This is beer designed for the long drink, thus, it's tasty, and it's about 3.5% ABV.
posted by eriko at 6:09 PM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, I had a lovely home cooked meal, danced a joyous and anarchic jig with my stepdaughter, had a few beers, listened to some music and told some jokes. I suspect that some of you don't know how to work this paddies day thing. Up the Republic.
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:37 PM on March 17, 2007


Drunks suck.

Yeah, but don't tell them about it the next day...
posted by Citizen Premier at 6:37 PM on March 17, 2007


Real beer starts at 8% alcohol by volume.

steel reserve will get the best of you some day
posted by pyramid termite at 6:48 PM on March 17, 2007


Eekacat: Sukiari's right about Guiness's ABV, and it may well be brewed by Coors because large breweries contract out international production all the time.

That said...

Sukiari: You are a total poser. Real beer starts at 8%? What about Dead Guy Ale or Kronic or fucking Chimay? Real Beer starts at tasting good.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 7:01 PM on March 17, 2007


Could somebody explain the appeal of draft beer? I love bottle beer. Draft beer is fine if it is the only choice. If both are available I do not ever, ever, not once in my life choose from the tap.

It's cheaper is the only possible appeal I can think of.

Well it is better than cans. Yuck to that.
posted by bukvich at 7:17 PM on March 17, 2007


I have my own definition of what constitutes real beer. I don't like to drink assloads of barely alcoholic brown water. I like beer. BEER, damnit!

And the Chimay is swill. La Trappe or even Delirium are much better.
posted by Sukiari at 7:35 PM on March 17, 2007


I have my own definition of what constitutes real beer.

you seem to have your own definition of everything, don't you?
posted by pyramid termite at 7:42 PM on March 17, 2007


You're right, DWCAI. Good tasting beer can be drinkable even if of very low alcohol content. But I generally don't care for such children's beverages.

Hell, Kaliber tastes better than Budweiser. Does that make it a real beer?
posted by Sukiari at 7:49 PM on March 17, 2007


All beer in Oklahoma is 3.2. Therefore, it must not be beer. State law doesn't even regard it as "intoxicating" (which is why you can buy beer in the grocery store in Oklahoma but not wine or spirits).
posted by dw at 8:07 PM on March 17, 2007


I like my beer fresh. I'd rather drink a Bud made in the factory next to Newark Airport than a skunky, flat import that was sitting for god knows how long in high heat or bitter cold (or both) in a container ship.

Ditto wine. Unless it's overnighted from France or wherever, I'll stick with California.
posted by Jay Reimenschneider at 8:14 PM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Could somebody explain the appeal of draft beer?

Most bottled beer is pasteurized, which means the beer is heated up to sterilize it. (Coors is the notable exception; they use a cold filtration process instead.)

Beer in kegs is not pasteurized. Some people think that the pasteurization process kills some of the flavor, and that's why they prefer draft beer.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:36 PM on March 17, 2007


Steven, you are confused about kegs and casks. Keg beer is routinely pasteurized.


Keg beer is often filtered and/or pasteurized, both of which are processes that render the yeast inactive, increasing the shelf life of the product at the expense of flavor.
A cask has a tap hole near the edge of the top, and a spile hole on the side used for conditioning the unfiltered and unpasteurised beer. A keg has a single opening in the centre of the top to which a flow pipe is attached. Kegs are artificially pressurised after fermentation with carbon dioxide or a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen gas.
^
posted by nowonmai at 9:41 PM on March 17, 2007


Although not as confused about kegs as Sukiari seems to be.
posted by nowonmai at 9:42 PM on March 17, 2007


meehawl owned this thread. i have also learned that sukhiari is a blowhard and that guinness must have a very good pr department to get a blowjob of a writeup like the one linked. i figured it was going to be an article about overdosing on green food coloring.
posted by spiderwire at 10:01 PM on March 17, 2007


wikipedia says that guinness is brewed in 50 countries with barley from ireland. it's also pasteurized as a matter of standard practice.

also, it seems clear that their pr department is in fact very very good.
posted by spiderwire at 10:19 PM on March 17, 2007


Their pr dept. is so good that the phrase Guinness is good for you! actually encouraged people to spoon feed it to their sick children to bring a rose to their cheeks (I had some friends who attested to it). They're good at marketing, that's for sure.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:35 PM on March 17, 2007


St. Patrick's a queef.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:25 AM on March 18, 2007


St. Pat's Day, Atlanta, Georgia. circa 1924. (warning: stereotypes ahoy)
posted by maryh at 2:32 AM on March 18, 2007


St. Pat's Day, Atlanta, Georgia. circa 1924. (warning: stereotypes ahoy)

Heh! Nice find, maryh! But stereotypes? Nah, I didn't see any... I mean, don't all the white folk down in Georgia wear those sheets and pointy hoods?

Just assumin' that they's white folk underneath them hoods, y'understand...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:38 AM on March 18, 2007


Well, this American Plastic Paddy went to the Dublin parade, walked all the way up into Phibsboro on the way around the parade, took in the rugby in a pub next to Croke Park, saw the All-Ireland Club Hurling Championship in Croke Park, ate great Indian food on Henry Street and had 1 Guinness and 3 Smithwicks. I neither stepped in puke, nor puked myself. Plus I made it back to my Liberties apartment unaccosted.
posted by Slothrop at 5:40 AM on March 18, 2007


Go Ballyhale Shamrocks!! Best part of the day yesterday was that great win at Croke Park!
posted by TwoWordReview at 6:01 AM on March 18, 2007


Meehawl, when complaining about how Guinness appropriated the harp and denied its use to successor states, neglects to mention that the harp somehow is the emblem of the government of Ireland.

It appears on all letterheads and seals, and on the front of every Irish passport.

Myself, I'm of the opinion that closing every bar in the State on Good Friday and Xmas Day on pain of prosecution is ample evidence that the godbotherers still have far too much direct control over our lives. Miserable git.
posted by genghis at 10:21 AM on March 18, 2007


neglects to mention that the harp somehow is the emblem of the government of Ireland.

But it's not exclusive - it has been appropriated for commercial purposes.

Guinness basically waited until 1862 to grab the harp - after the Parliament of the Kingdom of Ireland had been illegally prorogued in 1801 under Pitt the Spawn. All the symbols of Ireland's independent existence within the Three Kingdoms were being actively suppressed by Westminster factions, and I personally believe that "diluting" such a potent symbol by affixing it to an alcoholic drink must have been seen by some as a clever stroke.

Let's take a little thought experiment. Imagine if, in 1812, the British hadn't been distracted by Bonaparte and had decided after their early victories in the 1812 war to re-occupy the Colonies, annex them to Canada, and extinguish all the symbols of US independence. And then 50 years later a British beer brand, Newcastle Brown Ale, for instance, slapped on the Great Seal of the United States or the Seal of the President of the United States onto every can. Fast forward another 50 years and a successful rebellion re-establishes an independent political structure. And they go to re-use their own symbols and find they are also now being used to create an aura of "Americanness" around a beer manufactured by a company with a corporate structure foreign to the United States. To a patriot, that might seem... dissonant.
posted by meehawl at 11:29 AM on March 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


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