Let me first of all wish my sister, Pat, a very happy birthday. Although she wasn’t born and christened “Pat” that’s what we’ve always called her. In fact, we call her “Patsy” a lot of the time and “Pat” on other occasions. The only time anyone ever uses her real name is on an official letter of some type.
And why not? I come from a family with strong Irish Catholic roots. We may not have been regular church-goers, but we’ve always identified as Catholic, and we’ve always identified as Irish, even though of course, like most Australians, we’re descended from a combination of Irish, English and Scottish ancestry.
On the Irish side of things, though, we’re descended from names like Hoare, O’Brien, Smith (yes, Irish really), Lynch, Moynihan, Fitzgerald, Noonan, Lynch, Dunn and O’Brien.
My ancestry on the O’Brien side actually comes from a place called Knockerk (located near Slane) where St Patrick began his mission to bring Christianity to Ireland. Damo and I visited and stayed in the area in 1999. It was interesting to go the cemetery on the top of the Hill of Slane where St Patrick is said to have “kindled the Paschal fire”.
Arguably, it’s thanks to the big black brewery that St Patrick’s Day continues to live on when so many people around the world no longer identify as Christian.
And as we walked through the city this afternoon, my friend Sue and I couldn’t help but notice St Patrick’s Day seems more about the beer and less about St Patrick or even any sense of Irishness. Even with my solid Irish-Catholic credentials I neglected to wear any green today.
Sue was in town for work for the day, by the way, and so we caught up for a dinner at one of my current favourite restaurants, Red Chilli in Chinatown. A lovely way to spend a couple of hours with a good friend, enjoying good food.
A bus trip home, and here am sitting in front of the computer, and thinking I must catch up on some of the many hours of television I’ve recorded this week but haven’t yet watched.
On the way home I noticed an interesting connection between Earth Hour and the NSW Election. Ordinarily in an election, the concession and victory speeches would be held sometime between 8.30 and 10.00. As the result is likely a little earlier this time – it’s likely to be landslide – I’m guessing the concession and victory speeches could be as early as 8.00 and 9.00. I’m wondering which of our two leaders is likely to make their speech by candelight?