Friday night in London is busy. Friday night in London on St Patrick’s Day is chaos.
Irish flags hang from bar windows, and grown men and women in suits, shamrocks painted on their faces, drink copious amounts of Guinness as they stumble out of bars and fall down on the pavement.
Has London always had that many Irish residents – or is St. Patrick’s Day a celebration for everyone, no matter what your heritage is?
London celebrates in style with a three-day affair, with parades along the streets of central London and a festival in Trafalgar Square. You can enjoy everything Irish – films, bands, food and drink stalls. Even the London Eye even lights up green in honour of St Patrick.
James Moore, 35, an investment banker said: ‘I’m not Irish but I always celebrate St Patrick’s Day. It’s always a great night out and who doesn’t love an excuse to get drunk and be silly?’
Traditionally, the day marked the death of Saint Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, but as the years have gone by has this day turned into just another commercial celebration that plays to negative Irish stereotypes.
Louise Bousfield, 23, has Irish grandparents and loves that St Patrick’s Day is such a huge celebration here in England. She said: “I think it’s great that everyone comes together and celebrates. It doesn’t matter where you come from. I think especially now, with everything that’s going on in the country, it’s great that people can celebrate another’s traditions.”
Next up is St George’s Day, on 23rd April. A celebration of Saint George, the dragon slayer and patron Saint of England. However, downing cups of tea while Morris dancing doesn’t somehow have the same appeal as whiskey shots and a lively Irish jig.