St. Patrick's Day, when the man who drove the snakes out of Ireland is celebrated by all the people Ireland drove out of Ireland. A combination of Catholic birth control and being a tiny, tiny island means that the greatest Irish export is the Irish.
The Irish diaspora has spread so far that the actual Irish population isn't even a shamrock on the green bowler hat of St. Patrick's Day celebration. But one thing all the Irish can agree on, whether born or prefixed, is pints and bull$#!+. Which is why we had authentic Irishman Luke and our American-Irish alloy Brendan meet for the day and answer all our questions once and for all.
5On Drinking Irish Beer
Luke: What to order? If this isn't your first question about St. Patrick's Day, you're not actually celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Will you have a Guinness? Sure! When someone suggests a drink the correct answer is always yes. And St. Patrick's most divine contribution is a glorious global excuse to accept booze. But just one round of Guinness. You know we have other drinks, right? In fact, we have our own drinks, since Guinness is about as Irish as a bulldog smoking a cigar. It merged with something called "Grand Metropolitan Incorporated" over a decade ago. The only thing that could sound less Irish than that is "Diageo." Which it's now owned by. Understand: All that money going into Guinness goes to London.
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Which, in its way, is the most traditionally Irish economic model.
Brendan: Hey there, fellow Irish-Americans! Want to connect to your lost culture liver-first? Too bad! They're all owned by beer's three remaining macro-brewers: English Diageo, Belgian Anheuser-Busch InBev, and even more Belgian Heineken. That's why Guinness is the perfect drink for St. Patrick's Day. Like us, it hasn't been truly Irish for decades.
Besides, Guinness is creamy and delicious. It's obsidian beauty with white piping, a classic like a tuxedo or whitewall tires.
Luke: Of course you should enjoy a pint of Guinness. But don't let them take the entire Irish-American-alcoholic-economic output. Which has to be enough to fund a small revolution by now. (Hell, "Drunk Irish-Americans in bars" managed to fund a terrorist organization over here for decades.)
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Two if you count American tourists in Ireland.
Luke: The only revolution we're interested in foreigners funding these days is in craft brewing. If you see another Irish drink, try it!
Brendan: Sadly, Irish beers, like Irish women, have no interest in the American market. That's why, unlike Irish women, they don't end up behind the bar in American pubs. If you want to point me to the American pub that will serve up more Irish brews, I will make it my new home.
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And flirt with its equally mythical Irish bartendress who never tires of being asked what county she hails from.
I don't think it matters what you drink on the 17th so long as you drink it to excess and shame your family in the name of cultural pride.
Luke: True. But come on, man, right now our national economy is "hoping things wash up on the beach." And our other beers are delicious. Buy them so that we can keep making more! And I didn't want to bring it up, but the traditional 10 pints of the black stuff will only turn tomorrow's toilet into a black hole: an inescapable region where the concentrated mass will twist time itself so that you never escape. Or at least it'll feel like that.
Luke: Listen, the leprechauns. The goddamn leprechauns. We've got to stop with the leprechauns.
Brendan: "We"? We only have Lucky Charms and the Notre Dame mascot. Your country has a leprechaun museum, and the reason I didn't italicize that is I needed to save emphasis for adding that leprechauns are a legally protected species in Ireland.
They keep Ireland's cereal economy literally afloat.
Luke: Only because tourists keep going for them! The Irish economy is basically a country-sized begging bowl right now; it's not like we can turn down the cash. The word of the day is "enabling," but when the issue being enabled is a monstrous little thing nobody believes is real, that's not just charity, that's the first act of a horror movie.
Brendan: I did see a little person in Dublin who was plainly playing the part. He had a red chinstrap beard and a pipe and he was wearing gree- holy $#!+, he was a real leprechaun, wasn't he?
Luke: Listen, he's got more claim to that than either of us. These days it's that, being sick of Mike Myers jokes, or plotting to murder your entire family in feudal times.
Dream of a finer world, where little people are stereotyped as magnificent actors instead of leprechauns.
He's making money and good luck to him. But if you want to go for Irish culture, check out the cool (and actually Irish) legends like Eriu and Manannan Mac Lir.
Brendan: Remind me to tell you about my theory that Ghost Rider is a dullahan. Anyway, I agree. You have my word, no more leprechauns. Except on St. Patrick's Day. And even then I'll try to tie him into the Sidhe and some cool monsters.