Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

St Patrick's Day, Dallas style (Throwback post)

I don't know whether it is the leprechauns, but people across the globe, especially but not only the english speaking areas, seem to want to claim a bit of Irish ancestry.  Sadly I suspect the real reason people like the idea of being Irish is that they associate the nationality with Guinness, Craic and a whole lot  of drinking.
There are of course a lot of people with some Irish ancestry in other countries, particularly the States as so many emigrated there in the 1840s when they were hit by the potato famine.  But whilst there may be a bit of Irish blood there somewhere, it is pretty well diluted by now, and most of the descendants have never even been to Ireland, so I do find all of this claiming to be Irish just a bit ridiculous.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't recognise their ancestry, but really, when you were born in the States, your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were born in the States, you've lived your whole life in the States, have a US accent, never even leave the States for a holiday, and obsess about the right to carry a gun, then face it, you're not Irish.

Mind you, it appears that being Irish may not matter anyway, as St Patrick was not Irish himself!  He was from Great Britain and was taken to Ireland as a child worker.  It is not clear where in Britain he was from; Scotland and Wales are both possibilities, but it is suggested he was from the north of England.

But whether people are truly Irish or not, there are Irish Bars everywhere.  Some are more "authentic" than others; for example I remain entirely unconvinced by the 'traditional Irish curry' being advertised in an Irish bar in Skopje, Macedonia.  And half the world seems to celebrates St Patrick's Day.

We were in Dallas for St Patrick's Day this year, and we joined our Couchsurfing hosts at the parade.  There were certainly great swathes of emerald green being worn, a lot of Guinness hats and 'kiss me I'm Irish' t-shirts.  And there was a lot of alcohol being consumed.

But aside from the green shamrock festooned decor, the parade itself could have been any other parade.  There was one pipes and drums band at the start, but beyond that there was not a hint of Irish music, traditional or otherwise.  There was no celebration of Irish ancestry or heritage here, unless of course your understanding of Irish culture is simply that a lot of drinking is done.
I'm not for a second suggesting that the Irish don't drink on St Patrick's Day, or a lot more often than that, but it is quite sad when that is the full extent of their attempt at embracing the culture.  And by the way, calling it St Paddy's Day may be OK, but St Patty's Day is just wrong!
And on the subject of drinking, where on earth do Budweiser get the idea that they can, with any seriousness, take a holiday that is famed for the consumption of Guinness, and use it to advertise Bud light!
So am I just being a miserable killjoy?  Well maybe, but I don't think so.  I like to see people celebrating their own culture and that of other people.  I like a good drink.  I just find it laughable that people pretend so hard to be something that they very clearly are not, just so they have an excuse to drink.  After all - who needs an excuse!

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