Friday 22 June 2018

St Patrick is new patron saint of non-smokers

Picture posed. PA
Picture posed. PA

John Masterson

At some stage in the dim distant past the notion caught on that St Patrick's Day is not part of Lent. Apparently there is a universal Hall Pass available for the day. So if you have given up chocolates you can take up residence in Butlers for the weekend and eat all around you with impunity. And throw in a few tubs of ice cream while you are at it. I will.

If, instead of giving something up, you have been doing something, like going for a daily walk, then you can lie in bed for the day.

None of this seems to me to be in the spirit of Lent but then, since I have never given up anything for Lent, I am not best qualified to comment. I suspect the exemption came about because those who had gone on the dry needed a day off to remember the joys of a hangover. It was ironic that once upon a time the pubs were closed. Another "it's part of what we are" bites the dust. I, for one, was delighted to see this anachronistic reminder of a church-ridden country sent to the scrap heap. The period of abstinence I do remember was November. It was something of an RTE tradition during my time there to give up the drink for the month. I think it was related to making sure that one's liver was in good condition and that there was some money in the kitty for December. I did it once or twice and was surprised to lose a few pounds each time. I convinced myself it was nothing to do with pints of Guinness but more to do with the reduction in fish and chips that seemed irresistible on the walk home.

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