Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick is a man of pure oxymoronic nature if today’s commercial excrement could for an ungreedy second be aware of who this guy really was. Money took over the world folks – just ask DickMonalds and Coca Cola. There is no need for Valentine’s Day Thorntons or Interflora or Christmas Santa Clauses swigging Coke, or Guinness promotion of a Green Day (I hope you have the time of your life).
However there is a need for Saint Patrick’s Day, in Northern Ireland for sure, where he spent most of his adult life and is buried (in Downpatrick) and there is also a need to celebrate it in the Republic of Ireland, as he spent a lot of time in Donegal and apparently arrived by boat into Dublin. But even the man himself is oxymoronised these days!! By buck eejits, I hasten to add.
Patrick is not buried in the Republic of Ireland, nor is he from there, nor did he spend most of his life there. He is buried in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland (UK), he hailed from Wales (also UK). What’s more is that his colour is blue (NOT green) and this is why Northern Ireland (Ireland) football team started off in blue and often add blue to our home or away kit. St. Patrick’s flag is also not green but it is a red saltire diagnol cross. And finally, and best of all – Saint Patrick didn’t drink alcohol!! Not only that but he was around hundreds of years before Guinness even existed!!!
Despite all that, down the years I have loved Saint Patrick’s Day and I have broken some of those rules!! Drinking Guinness, wearing green instead of blue, flying my Northern Ireland flag instead of the Saint Patrick’s flag. One common thing though is that I usually wear a Saint Patrick’s Celtic Cross on this day. This is easy for us Northern Irish as it is on our national football shirt! Anyway enough of the myths, snakeless and free, here are my top 6 Saint Patrick’s Days to date…keep er lit yousens.
Down yer neck / Slainte!
1.Ravenhill Vultures – Bangor Grammar v Inst, Rugby Schools Cup Final, Belfast NORTHERN IRELAND, 17th March 1995
“Oh ah we’re the Duncan Ah”
My first big memory of Saint Patrick’s Day came in March 1995 when my secondary school, Bangor Grammar School reached the Rugby School’s Cup Final. Having beaten rivals Regent House in the semi final, the final was against fancied Belfast side Inst (real name Royal Belfast Academical Institution). We headed to Ravenhill stadium in those black and white days (no colour photos of it could be found) to cheer on our team. I don’t really like rugby but we got some singing going. With our coach called Duncan we changed the Eric Cantona song for the Duncan Ah. Despite a 9-7 lead at half time, we lost 18-9 overall but it was a great day out on our patron saints day. I was only 14 at the time but I remember it well.
2.Live FM Radio Slot – Nerve Radio, Bournemouth, ENGLAND – 17th March 2006
As well as my stint on Student Radio Belvoir (Belfast) and Radio B1rst (Bournemouth), I spent many many days locked in the radio room at Nerve Radio in Bournemouth. I loved it, buzzed off it and made my own “Jonny Blair on the air” radio show. My favourites were the crazy days for football (“Soccer Saturday” show) and on the rip (“Thirsty Thursdays” show). But each year I also did a Saint Patrick’s Day show, often it was streamed on FM. 2006 was a highlight as I DJ-ed with Tom Clarke on a special show mid morning at 10 am. We were out on the rip the night before and had a champagne breakfast with the crew at 7 am that day. For sure, my finest hour on radio ever. I find it a little crazy that I have continued the madness into travel with my recent radio shows in Poland, Hong Kong and back in Northern Ireland. I asked EVERYONE on radio to wear green that day – not many listened to me!
3.Dressing as Guinness in the Land Down Under, PJs Irish Pub, Parramatta, AUSTRALIA, 17th March 2011
I spent two Saint Patrick’s Days in the land down under, Australia. I worked in PJ Gallagher’s Irish Pub in Parramatta and on Saint Patrick’s Day 2011, I worked a 15 hour shift. I started doing deliveries in the morning, stocking the bar, running out of Guinness (poor management didn’t listen to my tips!), dressing as a Guinness and then on the rip myself after work! I even got rugby tackled while dressed as a Guinness pint!
4.Fast Train Through China – Suzhou, CHINA and Tsim Sha Tsui, HONG KONG, 17th March 2013
The first time I was in two separate countries for Saint Patrick’s Day was in 2013 when I was backpacking in Suzhou and later Hong Kong. We toured the Master of the Nets Garden and Pingjianglu (Venice of the East) then got a fast train through China and a flight back to Hong Kong well before midnight to celebrate with a late Irish breakfast at Delaney’s Irish Pub in Hong Kong.
5.Chennai/Jonny Blair – Port Blair, Andaman Islands, 17th March 2016
I spent most of Saint Patrick’s Day 2016 alone, but it was a crazy adventure as I did the flight ticket JONNY BLAIR, well kind of, I did CHENNAI (JONNY) to PORT BLAIR. I had a Saint Patrick’s Day beer in Chennai INDIA (8.37 am at the Irish House!) before getting a permit for the Andaman Islands and sleeping in MY TOWN – Port Blair on the green day!
6.Polish Hat-trick – Warszawa, POLAND 17th March 2017, 2018, 2019
I’ll finish this post and bring the blog up to date because the last three Saint Patrick’s Days have ALL been spent in downtown Warszawa with my Polish friends. Be it in Irlandzki Pub, Pawilony or Molly Malone’s Irish Pub, we enjoyed Guinness, Green Beer (Zielone Piwo), Pub Grub, Greenery and Music the last few years.
This year, today, Tuesday 17th March 2020 I am staying at home alone in my flat. I will NOT be going out, I will not be drinking any alcohol but I am wearing green.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone. Stay safe, stay at home!