Shamrocks and Shenanigans

It was St Patrick’s day, so I was on the look out for merriment. But I was most surprised when, on K Road, I spied what appeared to be a man wearing a Santa suit, complete with a long white beard. But he smelt like paint (had he been painting toys?) and he was staggering along the footpath. I looked again.

It turned out to be a guy wearing a baggy red tracksuit. The long white beard was created by him holding up a white T-shirt over his mouth and nose to help hide the bag he was inhaling solvents from (green paint, perhaps?).

Over at the over side of the colour wheel, there were plenty of people dressed in green and staggering down the footpath, participating in various kinds of St Patrick’s Day festivities.

I saw some guys, who sounded American, wearing those green plastic hats, which I associate more with American Irish (the madness of Boston) than Irish Irish.

The Belgian bar down Vulcan Lane seemed to be doing a roaring trade. Well, you know, beer, mashed potatties – who cares what country it’s from?

At work, there were scones with green whipped cream. They seemed to be quite popular, but the green was too much like that green food mould to stir my Irish blood.

Hey, how do Irish celebrate St Patrick’s Day? Not by dying everything they eat green, I’ll bet.

Here’s a cookie for ye.

How one celebrates St Patrick's Day, Part 1

Anglicise this

I love the vileness of St Patrick’s Day. I like the wearing of green shirts, eating of green food, singing of Irish songs, donning of silly hats, and drinking of Guinness.

I feel a bit guilty that I don’t do anything similar on St Andrew’s Day or St George’s Day, but there’s always time to start some new traditions. A cup of tea on April 23rd and a deep-fried Mars bar on 30 November, perhaps.

There was a special work outing to the pub for lunch and feasted on such traditional Irish fare as nachos, wedges, fried mystery meat, and hummus. The only green food was the pesto that came with some breads.

But there was Guinness, and that makes it all better.

I suppose in a way celebrating St Patrick’s Day is akin to events like the Chinese lantern festival or Pasifika – it’s a reminder of the rich ethnic tapestry that makes up this city. Cheers.

– Roibín Ó Gallchobhair

Póg mo thóin 2: Fiddle-dee-dee potatoes

The caff at work were serving various St Patrick’s Day themed food. This seemed to follow the American style of celebrating St Patrick’s Day by dying everything green. I didn’t mean to but I consumed the following:

– A green lamington (!)
– A spinach salad.
– A ham, cheese and salad in a green tortilla thing.
– A piece of mint-chocolate cake with green icing.

I was feeling kind of bad about celebrating my Irish heritage by eating crap, so I decided to cook some traditional Irish food – the sort of thing my ancestors left Ireland so they could stop eating.

I made champ, a potato dish. It goes like this – get a couple of potatoes, peel them, boil them whole until they’re cooked through. In another pot, biff in a bit of whole milk (not trim or reduced fat – get the stuff with the glob of cream floating on top), chop up some spring onions (or other flavoursome greens) and cook them in the milk. Drain the potatoes, mash ’em, mix in the spring onions, and as much milk as you need to make a nice mixture, add season with salt and pepper. Make a little hole in the top and add a blob of butter and serve with a glass o’ milk.


Then I had a glass of Guinness. I got the last four-pack in the chiller at Foodtang today, narrowly beating two guys who seemed really upset that that they couldn’t find any.

I’m into this ethnic heritage celebration thing. I could celebrate my Scottish heritage in Dunedin on Robbie Burns’ birthday and celebrate my English heritage by having a tikka masala.

Peace for Ireland.

– Roibín Ó Gallchobhair