With St.Patricks day looming, the landscape of Dublin, and indeed Ireland already appears to be changing – green hats, scarves, bunting, green beer, influx of tourists, the usual. Arguably St. Patricks Day serves to further underpin the negative stereotype attached to the Irish, particularly on this given holiday. T-shirts such as ‘Kiss me I’m drunk’, or ‘I may not be Irish, but I can drink like one’ – although in some ways offensive, and other ways charming, it is the undesirable association which has for so long been the pre-determined distinction of the Irish. Has it damaged us? Has it impeded more conservative countries from breaking bread with the Irish? Not too long ago an Irish girl was famously turned down a position in a South Korean agency because of her nationality which was deemed ‘undesirable’ due to the “alcoholism nature” of Irish people.
It seems in a plight to transform this stereotype, Tourism Ireland continue to celebrate St.Patricks Day and all that Ireland stands for not only in Ireland, but across the world by lighting up prominent structures in celebration with the unmistakable Irish symbol – green. This will be the 6th year of the celebrations, and each year grows in popularity with new structures added to the list. This year sees further additions such as the Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Paris, the Colosseum in Rome, and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. The ability to conduct such a celebration is very much unique to Ireland – where else is a colour so unique to a country that is universally recognised, and furthermore that other countries are proud to share in this celebration with us.
While illuminating buildings in green does not eradicate the drinking attachment of the Irish, it does move toward suggesting there is so much more. A nation of pride and unification that, although with a population of less than 5 million, is capable of marketing ourselves to such a degree that our stamp is recognised, and celebrated by other nations in celebration of us.