One of the first chroniclers of Ireland was Gerald of Wales, who came in 1186. He marvelled at Irish people's capacity to behave as they liked, blaming their failure to listen to preachers - although we were Christian and already over-celebrated Christmas.
It's noteworthy that Gerald arrived almost with the Normans, meaning he spotted what must have been long-ingrained national traits. So it's not the case that casual Irish rule-breaking is a product of 800 years of colonial oppression. It's always been there.
Today we are our own masters - in the largest political sense, but also as citizens of a republic - yet we choose not to queue for buses in the manner of other nations, and we jaywalk as we please.
We also do Christmas in a more spectacular way than anywhere else. It's a month-long merrymaking, from the weeks leading up to the big day, through the New Year and all the way to the feast of the Epiphany on January 6 - when it finally dawns that we ought to go back to work.
This year the country seems to be sleepwalking to a Christmas disaster. Many are unheedingly enabling the Grinch of Covid-19. The virus will indeed, if further facilitated, steal Christmas.
It's up to everyone to save their own Christmas by saving it for others, which is rather a Christian thought.
There was once a political attempt to torpedo Christmas in these islands, when the season was deemed too Catholic… through having that mass bit (Christ-mas) tacked on at the end.
An MP called Thomas Massey proposed in the House of Commons that the season be renamed Christ-tide, and returned to its improving roots of religious observance
Enter our champion, Daniel O'Connell, the Liberator. He was quite willing to entertain the idea, he said, as long as its proponents show good example by first changing his own name - to Thotide Tidey. It was laughed off the order paper and Dan the Man had saved Christmas. Today the Government can't, or won't, do it for us.
Government communications on Covid remain poor, even after taking over full control from Nphet. The system of five levels has not been helped by controversies over level two-and-a-half and now three-and-a-half.
There are too many bolted-on bits to make it comprehensible to citizens, who may have been sent a copy of the Living with Covid plan, but who now also can't find it and may accidentally have thrown it out. Simon Harris was talking plain horse-sense yesterday when he warned there was now a "very small window" for saving Christmas and the traditional dinner for extended family and visiting people.
He can sometimes communicate - as can Leo Varadkar - too bluntly, as may have been seen recently.
The Government had a press conference on Wednesday to talk about the new ban on house visits countrywide and didn't even mention Halloween, though it's barely two weeks away and the whole idea is of going door-to-door.
Fright Night, October 31, is something of a dry run for Christmas, which is why it's slightly alarming the national leadership didn't think to mention it, even as parents begin to prepare and plan, many oblivious of the overwhelming cloud of Covid hanging about us all.
When the Irish Independent asked for an explicit statement on how it should be handled, this was the Taoiseach's reply: "On Halloween, people will have to adapt their behaviour… it will just be a different Halloween. I don't think we can keep knocking on doors in streets or in an estate as one would normally do.
"I think that's just not possible, and so that shouldn't happen. But there are many other ways to enjoy Halloween safely and in a way that is consistent with defeating the virus."
The Taoiseach says the right things, but not succinctly. Leo would have declared Halloween 2020 firmly cancelled - and then explained why.
Mention of one festival brought up the Big One lurking behind. Mr Martin spoke of "maybe a different Christmas, because the virus is still alive until we get a vaccine".
Clearly the Government hasn't yet thought through that far.
So we're on our own and will have to take this opportunity to knuckle down. Unless we really do want to be on our own with tinsel, turkey and unpulled crackers.