Declan Lynch: Almighty storm is Gathering...
TWO days to go now till The Gathering kicks off, and it has to be said that it's all coming together quite nicely.
Even the sceptics are starting to acknowledge that we have a truly unique set of entertainments lined up for 2013 – the sort of stuff that our American friends really can't get anywhere else.
There'll be a good old abortion debate, to be sure, maybe even a Referendum. And I think we have already shown that when it comes to an abortion referendum, there is no one, but no one, who can hold a candle to Paddy.
So come all ye sons of Erin, and listen while we tell you of the precise moment when human life begins – would it be at the moment of conception or would it be a few weeks after that, and sure what does it matter anyway as long as there's an England? Hear us too, talking long into the night, about a thing called suicide ideation. And sure, aren't we the best talkers in the world?
We'll also be having the crack about our old friend, the gay marriage.
Sodom and begorrah, we've been a bit tardy about that one too, though the leader of our Labour Party has described the legalisation of same-sex marriage as "the civil rights issue of this generation".
Which should not unduly alarm any of those good ol' boys from Texas and Tennessee who might be coming home to Erin specifically to avoid all civil rights issues, of any kind, and every generation – if our Labour Party says it, boys, it don't mean nuthin'.
At which point up steps the Taoiseach with his party piece, the abolition of the Senate. Now some of our visitors may get a bit excited about this one, because in America, abolishing the Senate would mean something. Not here my friends. Not here.
And still it seems to excite the Taoiseach as if 'twere a beautiful colleen, despite the fact that there is absolutely no difference that anyone can tell, between a living Senate and a dead one.
They say, indeed, that that is what has his dander up – he has found the one issue that unites all the Irish in complete and utter indifference.
And he's going to ride that thing all the way.
It's the luck of the Irish too, for The Gathering to coincide with Paddy being President of the EU.
As the Americans arrive, they will be nearly flattened by big, swinging Ministers and assorted eurocrats being whisked through the arrivals lounge and into a fleet of limousines – paid for by us, with their money. Or something like that.
There will be motorcades, police escorts, sirens – and that will just be for Leo Varadkar.
And we will pretend that the EU loves us uniquely, that they want us to be president all the time.
No doubt the Americans will be impressed by all this. Then someone will mention the X Case and the crack will start in earnest.