Behind the Paddy’s Day rituals, how deep is the Stormont crisis?

With so much guff, bluff and ritual about it, St Patrick’s Day is a poor bellwether for judging the state of affairs in Ireland remotely – and perhaps no better on the spot either. One glance at privileged youff crowding Botanic Gardens in defiance of lockdown, you might have groaned with me: “ Not the Holylands again. “ However BBCNI’s news story was encouraging. St Patrick's Day: Police clear crowds at Belfast's Botanic Gardens https://t.co/Fp6LvjTOC8 — Darran Marshall (@DarranMarshall) March …

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The banner is one thing but the New York parade has always raised eyebrows

The St Patrick’s Day parade in New York has always been controversial. In the 1980s and 1990s, while Northern Ireland was in the middle of the Troubles, NORAID would walk in the New York parade and collect money for the IRA. In 1983 Michael Flannery, who organised NORAID, was chosen as grand marshal. The decision lead to a number of politicians boycotting the event that year. The New York parade has a long history of being anti LGBT. It was …

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No threat to the Good Friday Agreement in sight, but bolder joint action is needed after St Patrick’s Day

Traditionally the St Patrick’s Day pilgrimages to America have been occasions for everybody involved in our politics to be on their best behaviour and bask in waves of Irish-American blarney. Not so much this year, as  Arlene Foster and Mary Lou McDonald have been left off the White House invitees list for failing to clinch the deal to get Stormont going again. But Adams and Paisley jnr are lurking in the wings as  living reminders of past glories compared to …

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St Patrick’s Night and the Zombie Apocalypse…

Last night I had the misfortune of driving through the zombie apocalypse; or as it’s called, St Patrick’s night in the Holylands area of Belfast. Amid the broken bottles, fire trucks, police and ambulance crews I heard young zombies speaking in every accent of this land (although a Belfast accent was hard to find to be honest), stumbling from one over-crowded house of multiple party occupancy to another. Many, if not all, were bedecked in some sort of symbol of …

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‘Crime Boy I Dunno’ Comparing stats between St Patrick’s Day and 12th July

Brendan Hughes from the Irish News has an interesting story in today’s Irish News about the level of crime reported during St Patrick’s Day and the 12th July from the 2009-2015 period where he finds little difference between the two events. In his examination he reports; We also studied figures for the 36-hour period surrounding each date – from 6pm on March 16 and July 11, to 6am on March 18 and July 13. The Twelfth comes out on top …

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St Patrick’s Day a time to reflect on an openness that, at its best, Englishness encourages

For St Patrick’s Day Mark Perryman outlines the meaning of the forthcoming Easter Rising Centenary for models of Britishness. St Patrick’s Day across England has always been more of a party than our own St George’s Day. Down the local, one of the best night outs of the year, a non-stop evening drenched in all things Irish. A celebration of Ireland’s freedom, which can never be entirely separated from its place in English, and British, history either. But the framing …

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Video: Patronising St Patrick’s Day TV…

Last Week Tonight had this great compilation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k16kJGRxlvk   There is also this classic from the Simpsons. Look of out for the petrol bomber who looks a lot like the late great Gerry Anderson: Brian O'NeillI help keep the good ship Slugger afloat by managing the business and techy stuff.

Closing St Patrick’s Night with a [nother] plea for an #AlternativeUlster?

Taking a lead from tonight’s BBC’s Newsnight, here’s an anthem which might speak to those protesting loss (of whatever you miss from the past)… Nothin’ for us in Belfast The Pound’s so old it’s a pity OK, there’s the trident in Bangor Then walk back to the city We ain’t got nothin’ but they don’t really care They don’t even know you know Just want our money And we can take it or leave it What we need [Chorus] An …

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PSNI out, then in but LGBT still in the cold.

This years St Patricks Day parade in New York City has been making headline for all of the wrong reasons this year. There was the controversy earlier about the refusal to include LGBT groups which led to a boycott of the parade by the Mayor of New York and condemnation from parties back here about the absurdity of in 2014 groups being discriminated against solely on the basis of their sexual preferences. But, yesterday the guys over at LAD, found …

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FM and dFM troubles: “a lot more work to be done before there’s true unity…”

Well, what a homecoming! No sooner had the First Minister got down off the steps of his transatlantic flight than Jane Loughrey of UTV was on hand to ask some relevant questions… And there at 2.56 is Peter’s immortal line, “Stop reading the Irish News…” It spawned three pages of coverage in that paper the following day, Saturday. Then today there was a response to the story, carried in the Irish News itself: “At no time has the first minister …

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St Patricks Day: Celebrating what it is to be Irish everywhere except NI (where we can’t agree what it means)

St Patricks Day is a celebration almost everywhere in the world, except, you guessed it, Northern Ireland. Each year we are entertained to our usual dour cold war over symbols and identities [at least we’re not burning down Orange Halls, like the Scots – Ed]. In Downpatrick Unionists are complaining that the festivities are being held on, erm, St Patricks Day, because it’s a Sunday. Well, I know yesterday was a bank holiday and it wouldn’t take much to agree …

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Shamrocks have a great St Patricks Day.

There are few enough red-letter days for Ulster hurling to let one pass-by unremarked. For those blissfully unaware of the travails of hurling in the north, no Ulster county has ever won a senior, Under-21 or minor All-Ireland or National League title. Nor has Ulster ever won the [inter-provincial] Railway Cup in hurling. The only senior hurling title came nearly 30 years ago, to Loughiel Shamrocks in the 1983 All-Ireland senior club hurling championship. [I feel obliged to also note …

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Spirit of St Patrick deserts Armagh for Rio de Janeiro?

In the digital start up, Newry Times there’s a good quote from Conor Murphy on Saturday’s Band Parade on Inside Politics… in which he points to the economic cost of the band parade… Although this seems to have been largely attributable to the bomb hoax left on College Street in the city by person or persons unknown on the band parade route itself presumably facilitating the evacuation and closure of several business that the parade alone would not have effected… …

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Two Paddy’s Day Pieces

…in the Independent and Atlantic, and mostly on social change in austerity Ireland, and a bit on the Euro referendum, too. I’d be awfully grateful for all your thoughts and comments. I’ll probably scribble more on both, in Dublin in a fortnight, and again during the referendum. Pádraig Belton30 year old journalist thing. Buys loo roll on eBay. scribd.com/padraigbelton

Identity and St Patricks Day: Minor power struggles aside…

Well the two universities may have disagreed about how to tackle the annual saturnalia that grips the University student area around Queens, but between Queens’ decision to let a large number of their students to go home for the weekend and the University of Ulster’s full blooded threat something seems to have worked… So that ‘the Holy Land’ has had the quietest 12th St Patricks Day since 2008… Elsewhere, as many readers of Slugger will already be aware, the trouble in …

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A few thoughts on St. Patrick’s Day

Today is then St. Patrick’s Day. There will be a variety of events, by far the most prominent will be cultural and sporting. I had intended writing a blog on what I view as the way in which the sanitisation of the entirely legitimate nationalist culture of St. Patrick’s Day has actually become a cause of further division. When I discussed it with Mick, however, he challenged me to do something about the religious angle. The reality is that St. …

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“anthropomorphising the results from flies is difficult to suppress…”

I’m sure there’s no significance at all in the timing of this story…  As the somewhat excitable BBC science report’s headline has it – “Sex-starved fruit flies turn to drink” In an article in Science, researchers suggest that alcohol stimulates the flies’ brains as a “reward” in a similar way to sexual conquest. The work points to a brain chemical called neuropeptide F, which seems to be regulated by the flies’ behaviour. Human brains have a similar chemical, which may react …

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