Monday, 18 March 2013

Plan to move St.Patrick's Day. American and Australian papers please copy.

There used to be the ethnic slur which only Irish people used against each other - ‘that’s very Irish’ meaning that it was perfectly ridiculous but true in an interesting way. Theo Dorgan’s (poet, broadcaster) proposal to move St. Patrick’s day to the Summer time when the weather might be better enters into that category.
proposal broadcast
It occupies a niche in an alternative universe previously mapped by Myles’s De Selby and confers the unforeseen benefit of multiplying the feast into a permanent celebration of being Irish on different continents at different times. In this it could share the well observed practice of the Orthodox in their Christmas and Easter celebrations. One year I managed to get two Christmases at both Bethlehem and the Russians on Mount Olivet. Devotees of St.Patrick could do the American on the usual day and the Irish in July. The supply of shamrock might be expected to be more plentiful during the summer though I must declare that I’ve never seen it growing in the ground and those that attend the parades have lapels that foam with common clover.

Theo would like to see the national celebration decoupled from St.Patrick and Christianity to become a more inclusive celebration of being Irish. No more shall the hymn be sung ‘Faith of our fathers living still in spite of dungeon, fire and sword’. A new master narrative to trump, as he would say, the facts of history because Theo does not accept them. You see he had a sort of deconversion experience on the way to school when he was 14 years old but yet he’s glad that Mammy never found out before she died. Now that’s Irish. Daddy came to know by accident but a kind priest convinced him that it was just youthful rebellion.
mockers, gibers, and agnostics
Here Theo is wearing his everyday inclusive cap. He doesn’t want Katie Taylor who won a gold medal in the Olympics mocked for thanking God for her victory. In the enlightened Ireland that he envisages there should be room for dissent even for those that cling to what he invariably calls the Christian story. One can see here the notion that it was not a matter of pusillanimity on his part to keep his loss of faith from his parents but more like the way parents might support the Santa story. The old ones are like that. Sure you’d have to love them.


john doyle said...

The confusion will likely instill a new excuse for drinking heavily: "It's Saint Patrick's Day somewhere." Your post prompted a discussion with our daughter of the Catholic tradition of naming children according to the saints' days: I was born on St. John's day, my great-grandfather Val on St. Valentine's, etc. Our daughter, a Dracula enthusiast, was incensed to discover that according to the saints' calendar we could have named her Lucia but failed to do so.

ombhurbhuva said...

Lucy Westenra indeed and Lord Arthur Holmwood. The BBC have a take on the story that brings out the theme of the pollution of the blood. Arthur needs a cure and he comes to believe that a complete transfusion will free him of taint and bring him everlasting life. It is he who arranges the transfer of Dracula to England and the purchase of his various lairs. Overblown if that is conceivable and tainted with the vile pollution of post modernism - sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought.