I used to sneer at the celebrations on St Patrick's Day - until I celebrated it with diaspora in Uganda
I used to be that cynic who sneered at the sight of green wigs and leprechauns on St Patrick's Day. And I looked down on the shenanigans of the Irish living abroad at this time of the year.
I also questioned the value of sending practically the entire Cabinet to far-flung places around the globe. This was nothing more than a good old ministerial "jolly', and an excuse to party at taxpayers' expense.
But having had a taste of living in Africa for eight months last year, and being there for St Patrick's week, my view on how we celebrate our national day abroad has changed.