Punters get into Irish spirit of St Patrick's Day
''I should be at work but instead I'm on the booze'' was the catch cry at The Celtic Inn this morning as Palmerston North's Irish population began their quest to paint the town green.
About 100 people arrived for the 7am ''session'' and Celtic owner Neil McIntosh said that would grow to 150 by 8am and then even more as the day went along.
''It's our biggest day of the year by far. Over a week we normally do 10 to 12 kegs of Guinness but we've brought in 50 kegs just for today.''
While Irish expats living in Palmerston North did not always make themselves known ''everyone thinks they have a bit of Irish in them on this particular day'', he said.
The Celtic's breakfast was a particularly popular part of the day, a plate filled with all the trimmings including some potato-famine-ending hash browns.
Mr McIntosh said the day falling on a Monday would not affect its popularity with punters.
''One year, a long time back, we didn't think people would turn out on a Monday so we held the celebrations on a Sunday, but then as we got here to clean up on the Monday there were people queuing to start all over again.''
Resplendent in green tights, Steve Christodoulou said St Patrick's Day was so popular in Palmerston North because it fitted with student culture.
Kilkenny and Guinness were the drinks of choice although they would change to harder stuff as the day went on, he said.
Phil Day said it was great that the event had fallen on a Monday.
''It's that element of, I should be at work but instead I'm on the booze - it makes it a bit rebellious.''
Rachel Hamblyn agreed.
"My boss knows I have St Patrick's Day off."