Are you a plastic Paddy?
Don't tell me that your all-time favourite film is the Commitments, that Daniel O'Donnell is a musical legend (replace with Westlife/Boyzone for younger generations), and that you like to 'have a craic' with pints of Guinness with shamrocks on top because I've heard it all before – every year when St Patrick's Day comes around.
No one in the Emerald Isle is that clichéd, and only Americans believe in leprechauns. But you can bet your bottom dollar, sorry, Euro, that come March 17th the 'traditional' Irish bars will be full of Plastic Paddys. They'll be listening to the Pogues and pretending to re-live their Celtic 'roots' – and most of them will be saying it with a Stateside drawl, having never crossed the Irish Sea or tasted proper Guinness for that matter.
Over-sized Claddagh rings, comedy giant green hats and Emerald and Gold face paints are a dead giveaway for the fakers, and after a few pints of the black stuff followed by a Jamesons chaser, or Baileys for the girls, people you've known for years are suddenly saying 'to be sure', 'top of the morning' or calling you an 'eejit'. Now with a name like Michelle Byrne you can hardly accuse me of being anti-Irish, quite the opposite, I'll be downing Baileys shooters March 17th with the best of them. But why pretend to be something you’re quite obviously not – and why only do it for one day a year? Take some advice from the genuine Irish and join in with the party and, ahem, have a craic – but if you see me in Filty McNasty's on Paddys Day, don't tell you're Irish when you’re actually from Michigan – you're as Irish as Nestles Lucky Charms.