When the countryside comes to town - and hits the shops
Cities across the nation will throb with a different kind of beat today as country people enact an invasion as old as the State itself. December 8 is long enshrined as 'Culchie Shopping Day' amongst Dubs of my acquaintance - a designation with more than a little of the back-handed compliment attached.
It's a peculiar quirk of the Irish calendar that the Feast of the Immaculate Conception happens to coincide with the biggest shopping day of the year for country folk.
"It will indeed be immaculate if your Mother doesn't pauperise the family by the time she's finished on Henry Street," my father would say with a twinkle in his eye, a perennial family joke that never got old. Like the morning of an All- Ireland, December 8 was always a dawn rise, a 6am breakfast and a mad pile into the car for the long haul to Dublin.