Top 10 Ways to be Irish on St Patrick’s Day

March 16, 2009 | Lists

"Irish Rovers album cover"To drinkers, St. Patrick’s Day is an occasion that holds an almost religious significance. In fact, some drunk in a bar many St. Patrick’s Days ago once told us that the occasion was rooted in some sort of Catholic tradition. He described a highly improbable scenario involving snakes having infested Ireland, and a saint named Patrick coming along to drive them out like some sort of pest control superman. Being that this entire business reminded us of an awful Jon Voight serpent movie out of theaters by then that we had hoped to put out of our minds as well, we proceeded to move to the other end of the bar.

The Guinness brewery has been pushing the idea of making St. Paddy’s an official holiday, and we are all for it, but even if they’re not successful, to us St. Patrick’s Day still has a special status — we call it “Drunk’s Easter” — and it would be a disservice to our readers and a slight on the Irish ancestry of one of the authors if we did not pay tribute to this day by stopping on our way to the bar to offer some suggestions on how you can put the “Irish” back into your St. Patrick’s Day celebration:

1) Spike your Morning Starbucks’: When ordering your ultra-venti sized iced raspberry frozen frappucino chai cum latte on the morning of St. Patrick’s Day be sure to dump half of it on the floor and top up the remainder with delicious Bailey’s Irish Crème – the perfect coffee companion (Irish Whiskey is also acceptable, although it might be a bit hard on the stomach first thing in the morning — remember you only want to approach stomach-pump drunk by night’s end, so you need to pace yourself). While on most days this would raise the ire of more than one Starbucks “partner”, on St. Patrick’s Day it shows them that you know how to enjoy yourself. Another option, suggested by LAist, is doing the same to liven up a bit of the tasteless spearmint-flavored concoction known at McDonald’s as “The Shamrock Shake”.

2) Speak in a thick Irish brogue: The Irish accent is undoubtedly the world’s easiest to mimic and the secret to perfecting it lies simply in drinking more; the drunker you are, the better your accent will be — that’s just a fact. Go throughout your entire day as if you were Brad Pitt using method-acting techniques in preparation for his role as an IRA terrorist in “The Devil’s Own”. Adopting an Irish accent is all the more effective if you choose an offensive Irish stereotype, such as Paddy the no-nonsense red-headed cop, loony Father Feeny who flashes the congregation at holy communion or Sister Mary the maniacal nun. The movie “Boondock Saints” was hugely popular both among lovers of Irish immigrant tales and also those in favor of Bernie Goetz-style justice and is good accent practice. Here is a preposterous windbag explaining regional accent differences, who could stand to get his arse beat (or however this might be expressed) in each of the world’s 30 most widely spoken languages.

3) Deny that Ireland has modernized Refuse to believe that Ireland is now one of the world’s leaders in IT and software and that companies as important as Apple would even think about putting their European headquarters in the country. Ignore any mention of Ireland leading the world in quality of life and of Dublin being a prohibitively expensive place to live, to you it’s all potatoes and four leaf clovers over there and that’s how it should be on St. Patty’s Day

4) Learn Gaelic: What’s taking the excruciating time and effort needed to learn a near-dead language between friends? You’ll be able to not only finally understand why someone named Shawn would spell it “Sean”, and why “Sinn Fein” is not a misspelling that people are too afraid to correct, but you’ll also wow Irish and Scottish folks who had this language crammed down their throats in school. Since you probably won’t have time to learn the entire language today, a few handy phrases will do, such as learning how to order a beer, etc, can be found here

5) Don’t just stop at green beer: On St. Patrick’s Day, not only should your beer be dyed green, but so should your infant’s milk, your pets, your elderly relations and your shrubbery (any exotic species you may have that is not already green by nature).

6) Tell ridiculous lies about how much worse you had it in the ‘old country’: Even if you’re not that old and do not have a drop of Irish blood in your veins, spend the day clipping your younger relations behind the ear and reminding them of the various struggles you and yours had to go through – eating the family pets, having to shoe wild stallions and boil rocks for soup etc – in the old country so that they could enjoy such shameless luxury now.

7) Pretend you enjoy Irish cuisine: Slap a smile on your face as you labor through a bowl of hearty Irish stew. You may not fully digest it until April Fool’s Day, but today is St. Patrick’s Day and this is the greatest cuisine in the world.

8) Sing something maudlin and depressing at a karaoke joint: A proprietor of a New York bar actually banned the singing of “Danny Boy” at his establishment, saying it was too depressing and wasn’t even Irish to begin with (someone in the story linked here referred to it as “The Irish ‘Freebird’”). Banning a depressing song is in itself an act that flies in the face of Irish tradition, because most good Irish traditional music consists of either jigs or downright jump-off-a-bridge-after-the-last-verse bummer songs. Danny Boy is the most popular of those and if you can find a karaoke spot that hasn’t banned this song or that only permits it once a night, then may we suggest that you let it rip. Barring that, there are countless mournful tunes that you can favor the crowd with after an excess of Guinness. We’ll leave you on that note, with the best, Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers showing why the Irish do the mournful ballad better than ‘em all:

9. Proclaim as loudly as you can: Whiskey you’re the devil!

When singing the “Too da loo ra loo ra doo de da, a too ra loo ra loo ra doo de da”, proceed with extreme caution.


10) Quote random bits of James Joyce’s Ulysses: It’s very difficult to walk 10 feet in Dublin without coming across some sort of tribute to the man commonly considered the greatest of Irish novelists (Brendan Behan commonly considered the toughest) — James Joyce. There’s a statue of him downtown and any bar in which a writer so much as farted will have a plaque on the door with James Joyce’s face on it announcing it as a site of literary import. So what better way to celebrate this treasured bit of Irish heritage than by  incorporating random bits of what is considered his masterpiece, Ulysses, into your everyday conversation on St. Patrick’s Day. Ulysses is considered by some to be such a difficult read it is better to lie and say you have read it and take your chances that you won’t be found out, but it’s great rambling prose is just the thing to put a bit of flavor into your St. Pat’s.

“Good morning Bob, some weather we’re having isn’t it?”

“Ah, true, I was just telling Madge:  ‘Paying game. Torry and Alexander last year. Polygamy. His wife will put the stopper on that. Where was that ad some Birmingham firm the luminous crucifix? Our Saviour. Wake up in the dead of night and see him on the wall, hanging. Pepper’s ghost idea. Iron nails ran in.
Phosphorus it must be done with. If you leave a bit of codfish for instance.”



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2 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. After getting totally sloshed on 26 pints of Guinness, get oot yer grandma’s favourite woolen skirt and bop while attempting to do an impression of a Nazi soldier with a couple of broken arms.

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