Project 365 – 21st Mar 2010

Posted: March 21, 2010 in Project 365
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Day 49 – St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Most of today was spent in Hyde Park enjoying the after-party of the Paddy’s Day Parade, meeting my friends, taking photos of random strangers, listening to a quality music line up and baking in the sun! Of course most of the above was really just observing the various ways in which Sydney-siders and visitors celebrate their Irish heritage.

The picture above, of the brilliant Sydney bank Blackwater, shows one aspect of how we celebrate being Irish, through music, song and dance. This is the positive, productive and inspiring side of who we are. We have a multitude of musicians, a distinct musical style, poets, playwrights and novelists, our Riverdance and even a few Eurovisions wins to show for our culture. As someone said to me last week its probably a by-product of times gone by when all there was to do was talk, philosophise and sing, and all done in the pub.

Which brings me to the other side of Irish culture – the drink! Now the French might have their wine, the Russians vodka, the Mexicans tequila, but no one quite celebrates alcohol like the Irish. We use it to celebrate, to mourn, to comfort, to remember and also to forget! My friend also commented that we had nothing to do before, but drink. Now that we do we still haven’t let go of our fondness for the bottle. I mean I certainly know that living in Sydney, a place where you can go do almost anything you want but where most people are more content to visit the Tea Gardens than the Blue Mountains at the weekend. (Btw the Tea Gardens do not serve tea!) Its not like I can talk, I still haven’t been to the Blue Mountains!

The Hyde Park Party was a bit different for me yesterday, it was the first time I attended sober, and I honestly can’t say it was any better of worse, it was just different. That buzz you get from talking to people, from laughing, from connecting with people, from shaking your hips to ‘The Hills of Donegal’ can be got without alcohol, you just need to bring your own energy to the party!

It’s not that I’m saying we should all run off and join the pioneers today, I  like a cold Carlton or a crisp Chardonnay as much as the next person, but I do think the odd occasion would be improved with the lack of alcohol, I do think we as a nation (both Irish and Aussie) need to look at a psyche where alcohol is celebrated as much as the occasion and those who don’t drink ridiculed. I mean they’re the ones who remember the likes of Eleanor McEvoy on the stage yesterday, who can get up in full health to see the sunrise on a sober Sunday. The rest of us, generally, we miss out on something.

Quote of the day: “Everything in moderation, including moderation”

For other random, sober, pictures of St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Party click below:


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