The Day I…Got Rugby Tackled While Dressed as a Pint of Guinness!!

Jonny Blair dressed as a Guinness pint

The Day I…Was Rugby Tackled While Dressed as a pint of Guinness!! In Parramatta, Australia!

First up – it’s St. Patrick’s Day today – Sunday 17th March 2013… so Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!!! It is an Irish Day of the year and is widely celebrated worldwide. I grew up in the town of Bangor, not too far away from where St. Patrick was buried in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland. Now I have worked in Irish Pubs in 3 continents, drank in dozens of them and visited them almost every St. Patrick’s Day for a drink. Yes, I’m one of those ones who doesn’t mind succumbing to commercial tendencies once in a while. In 2011 I was working in PJ’s Irish Pub in Parramatta Australia. My shift that day could be split into three parts (I worked a 15 hour day would you believe – yes, I loved milking the money in the land down under.

St. Patrick's Day in Parramatta

Lining up the Guinness ready for a busy shift in PJ’s Irish Pub Parramatta in Australia in 2011

Part 1 – 9am – 3pm – Overall stocking up the bars, keeping everything running smoothly in terms of deliveries etc.

Working in PJ's Irish pub Parramatta

All dressed up with my workmates Paul and Kate on St. Patrick’s Day in Parramatta in Australia in 2010

Part 2 – 3pm – 5pm – Dressing as a pint of Guinness and ushering passers by into the pub, dancing with the Irish band dressed as a pint of Guinness and just generally being a pint of Guinness!! The bit I was surely looking forward to the most.

Jonny Blair dressed as a pint of Guinness

Dressing as a pint of Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day in PJ’s Irish Pub in Parramatta Australia in 2011 with my workmate Carla Said

Part 3 – 6pm – midnight – Serving on the bar (in hindsight the best bit!).

Jonny and Jacqui working in PJ's Irish Pub in Parramatta Australia

Working on the bar in PJ’s Irish Pub in Parramatta Australia on St. Patrick’s Day 2011 with Jac Jac Jacqui!

So the shift begins and the crowds arrive and the pub gets busy. I’m dressed in green – a green hat, green and white face paint and my green Northern Ireland football shirt. The atmosphere is great but some of the tour groups who arrived are getting a bit rowdy. No problem there, I’ve been there and done that myself!

PJ's Irish Pub Parramatta Australia

The bar at PJ’s Irish Pub got really busy on St. Patrick’s Day by about 2pm in 2011!

Then I go out the back and transform myself into a massive pint of Guinness. I’m loving it. I’m hugged and photographed by tons of customers, I’m up dancing with the band. A few of the drunk girls grab my crotch, a few of the drunk guys punch my stomach and try to lift me up. Still, all good natured.

Jonny Blair dressed as a massive Guinness in PJ's Irish Pub Parramatta Australia!

That’s me dressed as a Guinness pint dancing away with the customers, getting felt up by the girls and attacked by the guys!

Then Paul Devine, my manager, an Irishman and a top guy tells me to go out the front and do two things:

1. Get more customers!

Dressed as a Guinness at PJ's Irish Pub in Parramatta

I was out the front at one point dressed as a Guinness trying to get more customers into the pub!

2. Say goodbye to those leaving (a lot of whom were pretty damn drunk already)

St. Patricks Day at PJs Parramatta

Out the front entrance to the pub dressed as a Guinness to welcome new customers and wave goodbye to departing ones.

So I’m doing that for over an hour and I’m still dressed as a Guinness pint and sweating. It gets hot under there!

The Day I got rugby tackled while dressed as a pint of Guinness

This is near the spot where I got rugby tackled on St. Patrick’s Day while dressed as a large pint of Guinness!

Then I’m standing on the grassy bank in full view of rush hour traffic and locals when I suddenly go flying into the air! I land on my knees, grazed on the grass and as Elvis would say “I’m all shook up”. I have just been rugby tackled by a drunken Australian idiot!! I’m floored while others laugh. It was right at the end of my stint dressed as a Guinness Pint and everyone around is gathered round laughing! I’m not actually finding it funny in the slightest. None of my fellow staff actually noticed it. So I get up, head round the back of the pub, shocked and hot!

Pint of Guinness in Parramatta

Happy St. Patricks’ Day 2011 – the Day I got rugby tackled while dressed as a pint of Guinness!

I get undressed quickly and back into my normal green attire and I go to the pub kitchen to eat with Charlotte Hall and Carla Said – I knew the staff very well in the pub. I worked there for 18 months, give or take a bit of nomadic globetrotting!

Charlotte Hall and Yvette Cochrane at PJs Irish Pub Parramatta

Charlotte and Yvette my co workers on the bar on St. Patrick’s Day 2011 – laughing at my expense!

When I tell the story, nobody really knew about it, Carla Said was one of the managers on duty and even checked out if the footage had been caught on the pub outside camera. But I was out of shot so YouTube never got to see it, and neither did anyone else except for a few dozen drunk customers, some commuters in traffic and any passers by.

Jonny Blair having a Guinness in Australia

Phew! Deserved that pint! Finished my shift just before midnight, escaping a rugby tackle and being able to enjoy a pint of Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day!

The saving grace for me was that while dressed as a pint of Guinness, nobody knew who I was – you are anonymous, you cannot be seen when you’re inside. So when hearing on the bar later how one of the customers saw a guy dressed as a Guinness pint being rugby tackled earlier, I didn’t raise an eyelid. Nobody except my fellow staff knew it was me.

Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland fans in Australia

Two Irish teams together for one night – Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland football shirts in PJs Parramatta Australia in 2011

I continued to work, earning a load of decent tips and enjoying the night until my manager Jenny let me finish a wee bit before midnight so I could have my St. Patrick’s Day pint of Guinness. As you can probably tell I needed it. Believe me that pint of Guinness went down a treat!

St. Paddys day at PJs Irish Pub Parramatta

Alls well that ends well – partying on St. Patrick’s Day in the land down under with the lads – PJs Irish Pub Parramatta!

And I had more than one, drinking with a few of my fellow staff, some Irish guys and a Scottish guy. I had forgotten about being rugby tackled and laughed about it! Alls well that ends well as they say, and another story for my “The Day I…” series on Don’t Stop Living – a lifestyle of travel!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! I’m a travelling Northern Irishman!!

A few videos from St. Patrick’s Day 2011 from working in PJs Irish Pub in Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia:

The vibe at PJs Irish Pub Parramatta on St. Patrick’s Day 2011:

Partying after work at PJs Irish Pub Parramatta on St. Patrick’s Day 2011, with a pint of Guinness:

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