Not Easy Being Green

Post by CM

A lot of Irish people tend to have a love/hate relationship with St. Patrick’s Day. On the one hand there’s the parade, family dinners, bit of acceptable day drinking, promotion of our proud Irish culture abroad. On the other hand there’s the parade in miserable weather, family dinners attended by surly or not-so-secretly half-cut teenagers, acceptable day drinking getting well out of hand and the promotion of Irish culture translating into the drunken fighting Irish sterotype.

If you’re looking forward to celebrating  the day it’s nice to get into the spirit by making a bit of an effort, and now you can do so without sacrificing your style by donning a giant leprechaun hat. Green is really quite a difficult colour to pull off, and it’s easy to fall into costume territory on March 17th, but a few little nods to the national colour can work really well, and the outfits can be recycled again and again (that’s what being Green is all about, is it not?!)

Subtle, Daytime


These are two quite casual ensembles which will keep you warm while stomping the streets and will transition well from day to night if needs be. On the right is a basic navy foundation, paired with fawn shoes, a long green necklace and gorgeous, cosy green cape. The bag will go with both outfits, the second being ideal for parade viewing with the trench coat and glittery gold shoes, while underneath are khaki trousers, wear-again-and-again striped top and nice tribal-style collar.

Tri-Colour, Night time


While the next three looks would work during the day as well – especially if the mild weather we’re promised makes good on its word – they’re more suited to the evening and night. The green torque style necklace, throw, moss green bag and bright orange shoes will work equally well with a basic emerald green tee and skinny jeans or the dark grey top and floral pants. The latter will also look great with the little embroidered jacket, feather necklace, and cute bag and flats, which in turn would be perfect with the basic green dress.

And then, where it can all go horribly wrong

As a kid I loved St. Patrick’s Day – day off school, shamrock or harp-shaped badge attached to coat, tricolour pasta (yes, very traditional), orange and green jelly with vanilla ice-cream for desert. I was even in the parade once, resplendent as Glinda the Good Witch marching along with other storybook and fairytale characters, as TM held court as the representation of Denmark on our primary school float.

But now comes my gripe with the day of our patron saint and time for me to get on my high horse. First off I will not deny that when I was in college Patrick’s Day was a gleeful excuse to break out the Bulmers at 12 noon and keep going until it ran out. However now those antics, mild as they were, have left me with a bad taste in my mouth, realising that I was helping to perpepuate the bad reputation that has risen from a day that is supposed to celebrate all things Irish. When we encourage our international neighbours to believe that we’re a nation of people who drink as much and as often as possible in a highly anti-social way there’s no wonder unsavoury t-shirts like these exist:

Blame Olympics Wasted Walks Out Whatever sweat

I came across the one below on sale on Ebay and whimpered in frustration. It’s highly unlikely that any of the above, or the (and I use this word as little as possible) offensive t-shirt modelled by the child below will be worn in Ireland. As much as we like to bolster the “we’re great craic altogether aren’t we, we can drink ye all under the table and then sing Danny Boy at the top of our lungs” image, we do get a little bit defensive when non-Irish people take that as “ah look at the poor stupid drunken idiots, they are great craic but while being Irish is great for a visit I wouldn’t want to stay there”.


Do enjoy your day this Bank Holiday Monday. By all means have a few drinks, I know I will, pubs are fun and full of good cheer (albeit usually up to a point), and it’s great to support local businesses that are still struggling. But let’s also show the world our inately chic style credentials and genuine ability to have a great time without having that one too many.

maureen o'hara

Sláinte! – agus Lá Féile Padraig Shona Dhaoibh!

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