I’m approximately 50% Irish. I’m not entirely sure of the specifics of my heritage, but I do know that while both my dad’s parents were born in New Zealand, they both had big long Irish surnames that people have trouble spelling (Gallagher, Stranaghan). It’s possible that there’s been some English inbreeding there, and of course the long suspected but never confirmed Maori blood. I will have to investigate the next time I visit the whanau.
But anyway, it’s St Patrick’s day.
I was going to get all serious and write something about Kilmainham Gaol and Bloody Sunday, but then I decided that it would be much more fun to recap dumb stuff I have previously done to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.
Remember in the late ’80s – early ’90s when cool hip-hop people used to wear those puffa jackets and baseball caps with sequinned Africa shapes? Ok, well one St Patrick’s day I decided make a baseball cap with a sequinned outline of my motherland, Ireland. So I got my Batman baseball cap (so I’m guessing this happened in about 1990, so I was 15), and with a black marker pen I coloured in the yellow parts of the Batman symbol, leaving just a black cap. Then, using some green sequins, I stitched a shape of Ireland onto a piece of cloth. The idea was that I would then sew the sequin Ireland onto the cap and could celebrate my Irish heritage at the cutting edge of fashion.
Except there was a problem. While the mighty continent of Africa has a distinct shape that translates well in the medium of red, black and green sequins, Ireland is more a blobby shape. My attempt at capturing it in sequins had just resulted in a long thin blob of shiny green. Obviously I should have stuck with something like a shamrock: cheesy, yet simple and effective.
Another year – I think I was 14 – I asked my mum to buy me some Guinness. She did, but made me mix it with Sprite. I can safely say that Guinness and Sprite is revolting. However, last year when I visited the Guinness factory in Dublin, the “free” pint at the end was very lovely, thank you.
This year I didn’t realise that today was St Patrick’s Day until early this evening. I considered going to the supermarket and getting a can of Guinness, but it was raining so I copped out and – shamefully – had an Irish cream flavoured chocolate.