As I sit listening to the wind howling around the eaves and the rain spattering on the glass, I’m wondering about the hardy souls who’ll brave a night out, and I’m secretly glad of the child-spun tether that keeps me home tonight.
And then I remember another St Patrick’s Day back in the 90s – working in Fritzpatrick’s Irish Pub in Essen, Germany. We worked twelve hours straight that day, manning the specially erected outdoor bar to cope with the hordes and hordes of people celebrating Irishness in the middle of the Ruhrgebiet. (Side note – I just looked up their Facebook page – the pub is twenty years old now. I was there when it opened, and today people who weren’t born then are drinking there. I am old.)
There were no breaks that day, and I still remember it as one of the most exhausting but satisfying days of work I’ve ever done. We ran the place on pure adrenaline and though we couldn’t join the celebrations, that first taste of Guinness once everyone was gone was the best one ever.
I remember other years and other Guinness (Guinnesses?) Like the year we went to Smithfield to see a band, or the year we went to Temple Bar with the tourists, or the year St Patrick’s Day moved to May because of Foot and Mouth disease.
I remember childhood St Patrick’s Days, going to the parade in Cork, and giving up lent for the day, and wearing head to toe green. I remember teen-hood St Patrick’s Days, going to the parade in Dublin, and trying to find ways to meet up with friends for a sneaky bottle of Ritz in the International.
I remember many years working in the IFSC on St Patrick’s Day, because of course as anyone working in Funds knows, the financial world ticks on as usual on March 17th; there are just fewer buses to get you to work and there’s nowhere open for lunch.
Then along came kids, and we tried different things – a day in Airfield one year, a trip to Bray’s festival another year, and just one (so far) visit to the Dublin city parade. Today, our themed events included greening up the brunch with asparagus and colouring shamrocks in the restaurant when we went out for dinner.
Now the kids are watching a film while the wind keeps howling around the eaves. And I can’t help thinking – from my cosy spot on the couch -that I’m okay with not working in a German bar or going to Temple Bar or even having Guinness of any kind. (I imagine my French drink would be fine with St Patrick too.) A little like Saturday night evolution, St Patrick’s Day has gone full circle, and I like where I’ve ended up. Sláinte.