Voices from Russia

Thursday, 12 March 2015

A Read n’ Heed… “My Annual Denunciation of St Patrick’s Day: What You Should Remember”

00 Irish cross. 07.12

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The Clancy Brothers… The Easter Rising 1916… poetry by W B Yeats

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04daa St Patrick

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The Breastplate of St Patrick by Sarah Hart

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03a-st-patricks-day-2011-dublin-ireland

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The Chieftains

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I’m in my annual pre-St Patrick’s Day grump. I love my Irish heritage, but given my Unionist family background, I understand the tragedy and complexity of that historical legacy. I hate the pop pseudo-Irish ethnic stereotypes dragged out at this time of year. Alcoholism is a genetic and cultural curse on the Irish and other people of Celtic descent, and it pains me to see it celebrated as the prime ingredient of Irish cultural identity. Remember, it’s a feast day in Lent, so, go to Mass, or Liturgy, or what you will. Recite The Breastplate of St Patrick. Read some Joyce or Yeats or the Tain. Put on the Chieftains, the Clancy Brothers, or some other real Irish music. Raise a toast to those gone before, and in memory of those who suffered or resisted oppression. Don’t put anything green into your mouth that didn’t come that way. Remember that green was the colour of the Sacred for the ancient Celts. Wear your green, even if you have no Irish ancestors, but remember that there were times when merely wearing it in public would have put ones life and livelihood in jeopardy, and rejoice that this is no longer the case either here or in Éire.

12 March 2015

Geoffrey Deacon

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