Some Irish people suffer form anxiety at the approach of St. Patrick’s Day, researchers in a joint university survey have found.
Professor Orla Muldoon of the University of Limerick stated, “Evidence suggests that while the day provides a moment to showcase Irishness, this is not unproblematic.”
Some people, she said, feel a sense of great excitement as Patrick’s Day approaches, but others feel dread.
She told “The Irish Times” that St. Patrick’s Day can “offer a sense of pride and a sense of belonging,” as well as serving as a major tourist attraction in cities like Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway.
However, she said there was also tension because the “clash between the old and new Irish can be writ large.”
She said there was initial evidence that new immigrants to Ireland did not feel part of the holiday and were often resented by the native Irish when they attended parades.
She also said many parents were anxious in the run up to Patrick’s Day because of excessive alcohol consumption.
“Parents express concern about what this may communicate to their children about both our national day and our nationality,” Muldoon said.
In Belfast, she stated the differing religions meant that St. Patrick’s Day often divided rather than brought together the communities.
She said the “contested nature of national identity” had the ability to “divide, rather than unite.”
In America she said the experience was more positive allowing Irish Americans to “reinvigorate an Irish identity in the new world.”