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It’s fair to say that it’s largely down to the Irish Americans, those in the US to be clear, that St Patrick’s Day is as big and wide-reaching a celebration that it is these days. They glamorised, as only they can, what had been back in its origin of Ireland a pretty tame affair.
Of course they’ve caught on back home; Paddy’s Day (or week as it tends to be now) is a significant and important money-spinner for the Irish economy. The once somewhat sombre tone to it has been cast aside. The churches mightn’t be as full as they once were, but there’s no sign of straightened times in the pubs on March 17.
Personally, I’ve always been indifferent towards our national holiday. Thus, that I haven’t been home for one since 2011 is no big deal.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t pass without being acknowledged here in Bogotá. For one, you’ve a number of (badly) Irish-styled pubs in the city that know the day exists and do their best to get the numbers in. The problem with most of those venues is that they’re ridiculously overpriced; $100,000 Colombian pesos won’t get you too far in them. And considering many Colombians who are keen to recognise St Patrick’s Day with a drink or two say they like to do it with genuine Irish people, you’re less likely to find us in such establishments (unless we’re being, um, sponsored).
What’s more, with a small and scattered Irish community in Bogotá, not much in terms of organised celebrations took place in the past.
That changed a little last year thanks to the support of the Irish embassy in Mexico (we’re still waiting for an embassy to open here!).
Building on that, this year members of the Irish community have got together to organise a gathering for all those who want to ‘wet the shamrock’ as we say (see the accompanying photo flyer, above, for details).
There’ll even be some traditional Irish music on the night from the Colombian (yes, Colombian!) group Paddy’s Season.
So if you’re looking for something slightly more Irish (whatever that is exactly) this St Patrick’s Day, you could do worse than come along to this get together.
Plus, with March 17 being a Friday, most of us don’t have to worry about an early start the next day. A potentially ‘close-to-perfect Paddy’s’ then.
P.S: Some of the Irish are also planning a late afternoon meet up, before the Cervecería Gigante event, at the bust of General Daniel O’Leary, a gesture that was started back in 2015.
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