They encourage Paddy to act the eejit
Declan Lynch believes the Irish punter is being taken for granted at the Cheltenham Festival
Of the many things that are unique to Ireland, one of the most notable is that our national holiday takes place in another country. We'll be celebrating Cheltenham again this week, honouring that ancient tradition whereby we escape the bonds of our religious and cultural heritage by going off to England to enjoy ourselves.
It has worked extraordinarily well, this outsourcing of the Feast Day of our saint, to the extent that we have made several Feast Days out of it -- it used to be three days, then it was four.
In fact, they changed it to four days a few years back without really consulting the people of Ireland. But then this is the one drawback of the arrangement -- when you have the centrepiece of your national holiday in a foreign land, you give up a certain level of control over the organisation of the event.