St. Patrick's Day 2009
Ah, yes, here we are, St. Patrick's Day Two Thousand and nine, with the bust of the Celtic Tiger Bubble, the renewal of bombings and assassinations in the north, and the beginnings of the demise of Western Civilization, at least as Yeats knew it.
My plan is not too much different as last year, when I donned my father's white Donnegal cardigan sweater and head out to visit a few friends in Somers Point or Williamstown, where Brian O'Keeney has the Libary IV on the Black Horse Pike, and where they behave like its St. Patrick's Day all the time.
Last year Sean Fleming came in late and played, just as he has on many other fine occassions, and I reminicesed about Sean's interesting career in one of my first blogs one year ago.
One St. Paddy's Day a few yeras ago I stopped in at Brian's Library on my home from somewhere, and the place was really hoppin, with live music in two different rooms, including an outdoor tent. Brian called me over and introduced me to some friends and customers, and one guy said, "Bill Kelly!, the mythological character I've heard about, as every time Brian starts a great story it usually begins with "When Kelly and I were..."
"Are they all true?" he wanted to know.
Of course, I hadn't heard Brian's side of the story, but on quick reflection, I would have to venture that they were true and that he would not have to exagerate.
In that regard I decided to write down some of Bill and Brian's Great Adventure(s) in another post.
I'm also writing articles on the Irish Pubs of Browns Mills and the Irish Pubs of New York, Boston and Washington D.C., as I get around to them.
As for Ireland, they never used to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, except as a holy day you went to mass and then had a big breakfast, but today, they really know how to party.
Drunken mayhem mars St. Patrick's in Ireland
By SHAWN POGATCHNIK –
DUBLIN (AP) — Cars torched, firefighters attacked, police bombarded
and neighbors terrified: It was another fine St.. Patrick's Day in
Ireland, where inebriated mobs annually turn districts of Dublin and
Belfast into a nightmare.Authorities were counting the cost Wednesday from trouble associated with dusk-to-dawn drinking on Ireland's national holiday.
Police in the Republic of Ireland said they were still adding up the number of
public-order arrests from Tuesday's festivities but said the total
would easily exceed 200, typical for recent years. Police in
Northern Ireland clashed with some of the British territory's most
privileged youth — hundreds of students at Queen's University, the
major college in Belfast — in what authorities called the worst public
drinking-related confrontation of any recent St. Patrick's Day.Nineteen
teenagers and 20-somethings, mostly Queen's students, were arrested
during several hours of clashes with riot police.. Belfast police
Superintendent Chris Noble said most were still sobering up Wednesday
in their cells, while five were arraigned in court on charges of
riotous behavior.Noble said police expected to arrest more students in coming days after analyzing their surveillance TV footage.
"We will not abandon an area to drunken thugs," he said.Officers
of the Police Service of Northern Ireland donned full riot gear,
including flame-retardant suits, to drive about 1,000 students back
into their rented red-brick homes in a neighborhood called the Holy
Land directly beside Queen's University.The area — so named
because it has streets named Jerusalem, Damascus and Cairo — has
suffered St. Patrick's riots for several years running, but older
residents and politicians agreed this year's was by far the worst.Leaders
from the British Protestant and Irish Catholic sides of Northern
Ireland's power-sharing government demanded that Queen's expel students
at the center of the trouble. Until now university authorities have
issued warnings or fines to students only.
"I toured the area myself last night and was absolutely disgusted. The place was like a war zone. It was an atmosphere of intimidation and mayhem," said
Protestant politician Reg Empey, minister for higher education in the
The Irish Republic's police commander, Commissioner Fachtna Murphy, said it suffered one of its most dangerous holiday periods on the roads amid increased levels of drunken driving. He said since Friday police had arrested 346 suspected drunk drivers and 72 for dangerous driving, while eight people died in crashes, compared
to three in the same period last year.
The Dublin Fire Brigade said its officers were pelted with stones, cans and bottles in several public housing projects overnight as they dealt with 46 fires, mostly
smashed-up cars that had been set ablaze.Ambulance crews dealing with more than 200 emergency calls — including a dozen stabbings involving knives or broken bottles — said they also suffered physical and verbal abuse as they responded to booze-fueled bloodshed.