Monday 26 September 2016

All will change, change utterly!

DECLAN LYNCH

Published 05/04/2015 | 02:30

Could anything indicate the high seriousness of Easter more clearly than the denial of a day's drinking to the people of Ireland?
Could anything indicate the high seriousness of Easter more clearly than the denial of a day's drinking to the people of Ireland?

Leaving aside the Christian aspects of Easter - which probably doesn't leave much, to be fair - many of us don't have a fixed idea of how we should celebrate this period.

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We were told in school that we shouldn't believe the hype, that Christmas might seem very important, but that Easter was actually the big one - we understood this on an intellectual level, but did we feel it?

In Ireland, the authorities were taking no chances, closing down the pubs on Good Friday, imposing the alcoholic equivalent of martial law.

Could anything indicate the high seriousness of Easter more clearly than the denial of a day's drinking to the people of Ireland?

I think they call it "sending out a signal".

Meanwhile, money must be made, so we gorge ourselves with chocolate instead - our idea of the ultimate sacrifice.

Most of us don't know exactly when Easter is going to fall any given year, until we go to the supermarket one day towards the end of winter, and note that already there are about four aisles entirely full of Easter-related confectionery products.

A quick assessment then tells us that there must be about six weeks until Easter, this being the amount of time that is needed to shift all that junk.

So while some of us may have very powerful feelings about Easter, while others have more mixed feelings, and others again have no feelings at all, every one of you better enjoy this one while you can. Because the next one, by my calculation, will take place in 2016.

And I have this strange feeling you're not going to enjoy that one.

That you will find this relatively pleasant time of year that we're having now, to be changed, changed utterly.

And that it may not change back again to anything normal for a very long time.

In fact, going by some of the ideas that have already been ventilated, and imagining some of the ideas that are as yet unborn, Ireland in general may enjoy the centenary of the Easter Rising even less than we enjoyed the Rising itself.

In the mind's eye, one can see a revival of the tradition whereby the more bohemian elements in Irish society would get the boat from Dun Laoghaire on Good Friday just so that they could drink, on principle as it were - and because most of them were alcoholics, but yes, there was a principle too.

Next Easter, our tourist bodies are expecting a huge influx of visitors to celebrate this thing they call "Irish freedom", but they may be surprised to find that there's a lot of traffic in the other direction as well. Which is a kind of Irish freedom too, some would say the best kind.

So this year, by all means have a good Easter, or at least the best Easter you can have.

Go to the Fairyhouse Races on Monday, indeed go on Tuesday and on Wednesday too.

Enjoy yourself... it's later than you think.

Sunday Independent

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