Paddy’s Day, Dublin.

shamrock-nlbI push through the mobbed street, walking on green flyers and ignoring fake ginger beards. I have the spawn of a headache already. The crowd watches the worst brass band of all time make its way down the middle of the road showcasing their second practice session. A man in a green robe and hat with a buckle on it stands on a float and impersonates a train station announcer, ‘Ba-bext-brain-bu-bimberick-bebarts-bat-beben-bo’block-brom-blaborm-bore’

We’re celebrating the life of the man who supposedly evicted snakes from this cold, wet patch of green east of the Atlantic. But he left a few snakes here, they’re just not slithering along on the ground. They probably granted him planning permission to build a church on top of Croagh Patrick in return for their freedom. Or a catherdral across from Christchurch. The very man is walking on the road now with a scepter, a grey beard and a can of Guinness.

Now some team of some sport is passing on the back of a truck, half naked, half painted green blaring out some offensive music and drinking from a trophy. I have to get away.

In Byrne’s it smells like old varnished wood, respiration, and that unique smell you can only get from mopping up fresh beer with a cloth soaked in stale beer. The Horslips are coming through the speakers. In my head a tadpole is gaining pace. Everyone has something green on, a wig, face paint, trousers, plastic shoes, and oversized leprechaun hat or just a green wooly jumper. Everyone tries to talk over everyone else; the overall affect is everyone struggles to hear anyone.


This is not patriotic. People are just fools. Beside me a middle-aged man approaches an older man, both wearing green patterned shirts.

‘Ah Jimmy will ye have a drink?’

‘You know I would, Tom, but I already have two.’

‘Sure never mind that, Jim,’

‘Ah but Tom, you know as well as anyone I have a drinking problem,’

Tom looks at Jim, searching for what to say.

‘Two hands and only one mouth!’ Jim says and they both over-indulge in laughter.

‘Good man Jim, listen, down that one, get started on that one and I’ll be back to ya in a minute with a new one.’

I walked passed Tom, suppressing the urge to shoulder him. I look around; take out the flatscreen TVs and the fancy haircuts and I could be in a cavern in ancient Scandanavia with barbarians drinking mead after a battle and fighting to the death for entertainment. Modern humanity thinks it’s so civilized, but it’s not. We’ve got a few fancy gadgets and human rights, but that’s all just surface stuff, deep inside, on the interior, we’re still Neanderthal.

I go outside for some fresh air but it’s just as poisoned outside. A man is lying face down in a puddle of vomit and beer and probably piss, there’s one St. Pat missed. We would have been much better served if the honourable saint had expelled alcohol from this country. We’d all be walking around well groomed and sophisticated, kicking harmless snakes out of our way.

I give up, I decide to make my way home. The streets look post-apocalyptic, as if someone put bombs under all the dumps and set them off at the same time so it rained rubbish on the city. I see a small, comparatively quiet pub. A fully-grown frog is jumping against my skull, over and over again, pounding trying to find a way out. I go into the pub and try to kill it with a double whiskey.