St Patrick’s Day holds many a fond memory for me, firstly it was my late Nanna’s birthday, surprisingly it’s one birthday I never forget and make sure I always raise a glass to her. Secondly it St Patrick’s Day and the weekend either side of it has been the scene for some epic student drinking sessions and all manner of funnd enjoying the “craic” a. Looking back I dare say most of it wasn’t responsible or clever but boy it was fun.
The day would usually start by heading to the Student Union Bar (at the University of Bradford) for an early morning pint of Guinness, this was then usually followed by a few games of pool before heading off to wetherspoons or one of the other local pubs for some food and more Guinness, although on more than one occasion it involved the making of the now legendary Chicken and Guinness Pot Noodle, this simple and rather disgusting sounding combination of Chicken and Mushroom Pot Noodle made with half a can of hot Guinness instead of the usual boiling water, actually tasted rather delicious ( I say tasted as it has been a while since I have actually tried it and I may have never tried it when sober..)
Many of the pubs ran promotions for cheap Irish drinks, well when I say Irish I actually mean pseudo Irish and Irish themed as there were very rarely any real Irish drinks available, even when you ventured into some of Bradford’s legendary ale houses. As the day wore on we would inevitably ammass a huge collection of promotional materials, usually made by Guinness, everything ranging from shamrock shaped specs and inflatable pints to various big foam hats and fingers (most of which are still in a big box in my garage).
We would usually stay out until the wee small hours of the morning before heading for a curry or kebab, supplemented by yet more Guinness and the odd whiskey before heading back to my place for a rather dangerous game of drunken darts, I even went to the effort of decorating my room with various memorabilia we had acquired the previous year, most of which would usually end up peppered with more holes than a tramps underpants. The darts it’s self would generally end up with no one really knowing who won before everyone retired for a few hours kip before re joining the celebrations the next day. I won’t mention the state of our internal organs after such an event but I am sure you can all guess.
While this is something I am probably a bit old for now, at the time it was great fun, we did it year after year, never missed a part and aquired an amazing stash of trinkets and toys, so while it was childish, irresponsible and supported the commercial companies that most people love to hate it was bloody good fun.
Nowadays I would like to see the smaller breweries like Porterhouse or Carlow (for their Ohara’s Celtic Stout) , I would love to see pubs do St Patrick’s beer festivals, serving Irish beers and Irish foods, I am pretty sure that in most areas these would be a great success, Even if it is slightly stereotypical, we really doo need to start celebrating our cultures and traditions before they are long gone and forgotten.
This might then encourage pubs to celebrate St George’s day more, roll out cask ales and good traditional foods, support our eccentric local English sports and really make a big fuss of it.
I realise it is all easier said than done but I for one will be supporting the cause by spending St Georges Day here supping various badly named beers and enjoying the views of the North Sea.