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Issue 15 - Craic addiction

Whisky Magazine Issue 15
April 2001


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Craic addiction

Martin Betts muses on the effect St Patrick's Day has on people not just in Ireland, but all over the world

It goes far beyond Ireland. Further than a bunch of reeling students stumbling from pub to pub or a couple of old boys having a
Guinness and a nip of Bushmills in a cosy bar in Galway. It transcends differing cultures, time zones and nationalities in order to bring the world's craic (Gaelic word simply meaning ‘good times') addicted masses together in joyful, unfettered celebration.

St Patrick's Day fills the spirit with wave after wave of green, attempts to drown you in an ocean of Guinness and leaves you with a smile wider than the Giant's Causeway. It's the world's most international national holiday. And it's not just the Irish, they're all enjoying it you know: the
Americans (especially the Americans), the Russians, the Japanese, the Canadians, the French, the Australians, hey, even the English are known to raise a smile on the big day. On March 17th everybody the world over wants to be Irish.

The festivities celebrate the life of Saint Patrick, a man who escaped slavery, found Christianity (possibly in France) and returned to Ireland to spread the word of Christ amongst the largely pagan population. By the time of his death he had baptized thousands, established many churches and used the shamrock as an aid to explain the Holy Trinity. Oh yes, and he drove all the snakes out of Ireland – busy chap. The passing centuries have led to the myths surrounding him growing in number, stories of his life to become more fantastical and, ultimately, for Patrick to become...

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