Saint Patrick’s Day 2008

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

To the begrudgers, March 17th is a day for worldwide paddywhackery, usually of the most stereotypical sort. (As opposed to paddywhackery of great subtlety, which is difficult to detect without being Irish yourself.)

Yesterday, we gave you an antidote to one St. Paddy’s cliché. Today, we give you another genuine Irishism:

Ah sure, it’ll be grand.

This versatile statement is a substitute for the blander American phrase, “Don’t worry about it.” The ideal circumstance for saying it today would be when it starts to rain on your parade.

It is pronounced with a practically undetectable insinuation of sarcasm. For months, I took it to be a cynical statement, but it is not. Mostly, it expresses an attitude — that the current situation is the best that we will ever get, regardless of what we deserve. With reference to situations of one’s own creation, the statement conveys confidence that things will end acceptably, no matter the contradictory, incomplete, or makeshift nature of arrangements.

If all this seems to be a negative portrayal of Irishness, then you’re probably American or British. Admit it, you too wish that you could so easily say, “Ah, feck it, let’s get a pint.” And if you could summon that strength of character, it would be grand, even if you didn’t put so much effort into turning your drinks green.

3 Comments to “Saint Patrick’s Day 2008”

  1. Dave said...
    18 March 2008

    So, after my day of paddywhackery, (wearing green, eating corned beef, and drinking a guiness) this post makes me feel sort of dirty, like I’ve voilated my people in some way. But I believe the correct response is to say, “Ah Sure, It’ll Be Grand” and have another guiness…

  2. Keely said...
    19 March 2008

    i feel awful about not checking in on ye olde blog on said national holiday. i hope you will forgive me in your best irish brogue. i hope you enjoyed your truly irish celebration!!

    p.s. have a great time in italy and france!! i am quite jealous, although i too am heading out of town to the land of cacti and sonic burgers and the spring home of our beloved cubbies.

  3. Will said...
    24 March 2008

    That’s the spirit, Dave!

    As far as Mr Lowe goes: Christmas is over, and business is business.