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St Patrick’s Day PDF
Wednesday, 17 March 2010 00:00
 

altMusings on St Patrick and St Patrick’s Day celebrations throughout the world and locally.

 

 St Patrick (c. 389-c. 461) was probably born in south-western Britain. At the age of 16 he was carried off by Irish marauders and spent his captivity as a herdsman either in County Antrim or in County Connaught. The young herdsman saw visions in which he was urged to escape, and after six years of slavery he did so, to the northern coast of Gaul (now France).

Ordained a priest, he returned to Ireland where he was ultimately appointed Bishop of Ireland. His reported use of the shamrock as an illustration of the Holy Trinity led to its being regarded as the Irish national symbol. Pious legend credits Patrick with banishing snakes from the island, though all evidence suggests that post-glacial Ireland never had snakes.

altSt Patrick’s Day is celebrated the world over, often in an Irish pub.  There are a reported 18,000 Irish pubs around the world. Their popularity is neither accidental nor the result of concerted high profile marketing. All have one thing in common – a huge appeal to people of all nationalities.

In an Irish pub in the space of an hour or so, all the world’s problems will have had at least a dozen definitive solutions. Notwithstanding the possibility of an interruption by an impromptu singer in a remote corner, or a Bard with an innocuous poem of indeterminate length.

Tonight I called in to my local Irish pub, O’Flagherty’s in Ronda, to check out the craic.  Somewhat bizarrely owned by a Swede and run by an Argentinian, this small but convivial pub seems to meet the expectations of those that go there.  Popular amongst British and other expatriates who live in and around Ronda, it is also frequented by many locals, including, at times, the mayor.
It is also visited by tourists of many nationalities who are passing through on a tour of Andalucía.
 
You meet all kinds of people in an Irish pub.  For example, two regulars in O’Flagherty’s are Seamus, a horsebreaker from the West of Ireland and his pal David, a retired archaeologist and Arabic expert.  Mike, another Irishman who lives locally, is a former barrister. Add to these a German skate-boarding champion, a French nuclear physicist, a South African masseuse, a Spanish Foreign Legionnaire and an Indian engineer and you begin to see why this Irish bar is such a fascinating place to spend an evening.

Last night, however, the clientele was predominantly Spanish.  Well, the Spanish always like a party!  While I was there, the only non-locals were a German furniture designer, a young American female student, a Frenchman and two Englishmen apart from myself.  But, not an Irishman in sight!  I didn’t linger long, but had a brief encounter with a couple of local Spanish primary school teachers, one of whom, Yolanda, turns out to be the sister of my bank manager!  The world is truly a handkerchief!  (El mundo es un pañuelo), in other words - Small world!

 

 

 

Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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