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Beannachtai Lá Fhéile Pádraig oraibh!

For the first time in a number of years, we approached St Patrick's Day in the shadow of an election (not only here in Western Australia, but also, a few days earlier, in Northern Ireland). That, as you might expect, has put me in mind of the opening stanza of a poem by Yeats, 'The Old Stone Cross', penned almost exactly ninety years ago to the day.

A statesman is an easy man,

He tells his lies by rote;

A journalist makes up his lies

And takes you by the throat;

So stay and home and drink your beer

And let the neighbours vote,

Said the man in the golden breastplate

Under the old stone Cross.

W. B. Yeats (1937)

Yeats was a wise man, and I intend to heed his words, with only a slight amendment - I won't be wandering any further than the nearest hostelry to celebrate this auspicious saint's feast. For, as another, anonymous Irishman once said,

There are several good reasons for drinking,

And one has just entered my head.

If a man cannot drink while he's living,

How the hell can he drink when he's dead?


Upon which cheery note, I wish a safe and a merry St Patrick's Day to one and all. Ádh na nÉireannach!

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