Today's a great day to be Irish

La fheile Padraig sona dhaoibh

GERMARI HERSELMAN
Last updated 06:54 17/03/2014
Rowan McKay-Simpson
Scott Hammond

Wearing the green: Rowan McKay-Simpson, 6, and his sister, Gracie McKay-Simpson, 9, warm up for St Patrick's Day with an Irish jig

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The spirit of the Irish is alive and well in Marlborough today, with bars and restaurants throughout the province gearing up to celebrate St Patrick's Day.

As well as special Irish menus, some bars are bringing in Irish dancers and musicians to keep patrons entertained.

While the cultural and religious holiday in Ireland had become synonymous with enjoying a couple of Guinnesses and having a great time, there was more to the celebration than that.

Blenheim women Alva Creagh, who comes from Ireland, said when she was growing up the day was more about family.

"We took part in every St Patrick's Day parade since I was about 4-years-old. I danced with the local Irish dancing club and when I was a bit older, the Girl Guides," she said.

"After the parade each year we would go home with friends and family for a ‘knees up'.

"All Irish food - soda bread, champ, Irish pudding - I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. As the day wore on the parents would relax, the instruments would come out and the traditional Irish session would begin," Ms Creagh said.

St Patrick's Day became an official feast day in the early 17th century.

As well as commemorating St Patrick, the most commonly recognised patron saint of Ireland, and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, it also celebrates Irish heritage and culture.

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- The Marlborough Express

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