Beyond the image of St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is on March 17th, a celebration in honour of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland for bringing Christianity there. He was born in Wales around AD 385.

Maria Gibbs, Carl Gibbs, Joe Wilkinson and Kate Birtles. Photo:CNP
Maria Gibbs, Carl Gibbs, Joe Wilkinson and Kate Birtles. Photo: Kate Birtles

But the festival kicks off early in Cardiff with thousands of Irish people gathering here on Saturday for the rugby match. They celebrate all things Irish, with music from bagpipes, laughter, and of course Guinness, traditional drink of Ireland.

People are dressed in green with three-leaved shamrocks, the national emblem of Ireland. The clover-like plant was used by St. Patrick to explain how the Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit could exist as separate parts of the same being.

Ultan Donagher.   Photo: CNP.
Barry Kenny. Photo: CNP.

While it is celebrated in the whole of Ireland, Barry Kenny (pseudonym), an architecture master student, says the way people are dressed is a stereotyped image of the old Irish people.

The stovepipe hats, for example, are part of a typical festive costume for most Irish. But Kenny┬ásays, “I can’t view Irish people flouncing about in stovepipe hats nowadays in anything other than a negative light.”

Hear more about what people say here.