Dished out with shepherds pie and meat by a friendly woman named Bridie and two perfectly boiled spuds. Shur where would you get it?
You’d get it in New York. (I know. New YORK if you don’t mind). I was back over there this past week for some gigs and called into the New York Irish Centre in Queens. A lot of comedians are out of the country around St Patrick’s Day. It’s similar to the government ministers who sell Ireland as a Great Place To Do Business whereas we tell the world that everyone in the country is tapped.
They were having a St Patrick’s Day lunch for the old folk when I called into the centre and a crowd of about 50 or so sexa-, septua- and octogenarians were tucking into the aforementioned hearty food.
It’s interesting watching people who left Ireland 50 years ago. Spending time away changes people to varying degrees. Perhaps I was imagining it but, for example, those men who had picked up more of an accent also seemed to look a bit more American, a bit more Jack Nicklaus-like whereas others looked as if they had never left and the voice was the same. Some said dollars, others said bucks. Some were from a ‘counny’ in Ireland, others from a county.
But all seemed happy to join in in a chorus of ‘When Irish Eyes Are Smiling’ that was being sung by the Director of the Centre and generally in good humour about the Old Sod.
I chatted to a few of them as they gave me snippets of their lives. Within about four seconds, it turned out one of them had lived on the same road I now live on. In the argot of Irish coincidenceology we both agreed that this was ‘a good one’.
Even more of a good one followed as one of the women at the lunch said I look familiar. “Well maybe you are familiar with my hard hitting exposés in an Irish newspaper of record “De Paper’?” I replied false modestly. “No, you are the IMAGE of Morgan from General Hospital” she says. I looked like Morgan Corinthos, a character from the Channel 7 soap. “You wouldn’t like his morals,” she added. Apparently he recently tried to undermine his father by working for a rival crime family, the Falconieri and also is having an affair with his mother-in-law. It’s uncanny.
You can get jaded about “Patty’s Day”. By the time you read this you may have already seen someone walk past your window carrying a slab of SomethingSteiger with small children in tow and you wondered what the country was coming to. The country is coming to a parade, it turns out.
But St Patrick’s Day means a lot to these people in places all over the world like the New York Irish Centre. It’s a chance to top up on Irish identity. Speaking of which I’m going to do the same. Time for more cabbage.