Sea of green rolls over downtown

Colin MacLean
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Published on March 19, 2012

Bartender Tiffany Morgan shows the fine art of how to pour a pint of Guinness at O’Reilly’s. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Published on March 19, 2012

Dave Conrad and his daughter Lauren, 10, (left) and son Andrew, 7, enjoyed a St. Paddy’s day lunch at O’Reilly’s. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Published on March 19, 2012

Musician Chris Hennessey provided some live entertainment for patrons celebrating the Paddy’s Day weekend festivities Friday afternoon at O’Reilly’s. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Published on March 19, 2012

Co-workers and friends Kathy Cooper and Bill Legge enjoy a scuff to the music of local entertainer Chris Hennessey at O’Reilly’s. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Published on March 19, 2012

Robert Bulmer enjoys St. Patrick’s Day activities on George Street Saturday afternoon. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on March 19, 2012

Jason Downton was one of many who enjoyed St. Patrick’s Day activities on George Street Saturday afternoon.— Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Revellers get their Irish on for big day

Finding a frown on George Street on St. Patrick's Day could be compared to trying to find a needle in a haystack - it's just not going to happen.

The iconic bar street was alive with the sound of music on St. Paddy's big day. And laughter. And clapping hands. And if you could have heard it over the din (which you couldn't) there was the gurgling sound of the black stuff, Guinness, being poured by the pint-load.

And above all other distractions available on that holiest of Irish cultural days, there was the sight of smiling lips.

Everywhere you looked people had a smile on their face - reaching all the way to their eyes.

Even the people queued outside the various pubs danced or at least clapped along when the band struck up a familiar tune.

Among one such group was the Murphy family, on a mission for their annual tradition.

"Me and my daughter and my wife come down every St. Paddy's Day. We're here usually 10 or 12 hours," guffawed Tom Murphy.

Around 3 p.m. they were only about half way through the line of 50 or so people waiting to get into the pub, but they didn't seem to mind at all.

That's part of the experience, said Murphy over the squeal of a fiddle in the background.

"We taxi down, taxi up. Play by all the rules. Have a great time. Sing along. Meet friends that you never knew and friends you've always known," he said.

There is something different about going out on the town on St. Patrick's Day, he said.

You tend to see a lot of older people come out for a laugh and a good time and mixing it up with younger friends and family, as opposed to seeing 19-year-olds on a mission to get drunk as quick as possible, he said.

"It's a joyous time as compared to a bunch of people loaded and being boisterous. It's a friendlier atmosphere."

Who knows if Murphy's postulations are correct?

But all thoughts of what can be the downside of St. Patrick's Day seemed banished from downtown on this particular Saturday afternoon.

They were certainly far from the mind of Trevor Halleran, from Trepassey. The Telegram found him outside a club on George Street and was welcomed with an incomprehensible greeting.

Irish Gaelic, he clarified. A language he's been teaching himself in dribs and drabs over the years.

He'd yet to run into another speaker of the language Saturday, he said, but that's not surprising. Irish Gaelic is a rare language - though on the rise - even in it's native Ireland.

Despite its rarity, or perhaps because of it, Halleran felt the need to learn.

"It's a lost language. If you don't know where you came from you don't know where you're going," he said.

As for what brought him downtown, he just shrugged and gestured around him.

"Paddy's Day is the holiest day of the year. It's a celebration of our culture," he said.

Indeed, there didn't seem to be any shortage of Irish spirit Saturday. Whether the throngs of people milling about downtown actually had Irish ancestry seemed beside the point, after all "everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day."

So Irish or not, nearly every man, woman and child sported green or shamrocks of some sort. Those little sparkly hats or the big felt top hats. Everywhere you looked that was green.

A few people got creative in their regalia.

Robert Bulmer, who was out on the town with his wife, had an Irish wall hanging tied around his waist like a loincloth, amongst other bits of green.

It was hand-made by his mother-in-law in Springdale, he explained.

Hopefully, she wouldn't mind the manner in which it made its George Street debut.

It certainly was festive.


Organizations: Guinness

Geographic location: George Street, Trepassey, Ireland Springdale

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