Top 'O' the morning to you . . .

AMONG the many national days celebrated around the world none is celebrated more widely than St Patrick's Day.

Of course Shamrocks, Guinness and Irish dancing can only mean one thing - March 17.

The feast day for Ireland's patron saint began a couple of days ago in some cities around the world, including Sydney, but here on the Coffs Coast many pubs will be donning the green of the Emerald Isle to celebrate as only the Irish can.

In Ireland itself it is a national holiday, with a trip to mass followed by a trip to the Gaelic football and then the pub.

Pints of 'Liffey Water' will be flowing freely as Irish descendants throughout Australia join in to party the day - and night - away.

Ironically pubs in Ireland were required to close on St Patrick's Day until the 1970s.

And even more ironically, St Patrick himself was not Irish, but Welsh.

A British-born Roman christian, captured and initially enslaved in Ireland, he eventually escaped and returned home.

But his influence as a missionary was enough to endear him to Irish people - and the legend was born.

So wherever you are today, and whatever you are doing: top 'o' the morning to you.

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