Nelson geared up for St Patrick's Day

00:00, Mar 17 2010
St Patrick's day
Charming: Irish tourists Maeve McEldowney and Elaine McFadden, right, celebrate St Patrick's Day with Prince Albert Hotel publican Peter Taylor this morning.

It's the day when everyone is Irish, but for the real deal, thoughts of home are never far away on St Patrick's Day.

"This is when you want to be home, just for the day," Irish backpacker Elaine McFadden said.

Ms McFadden and friends Aoife and Maeve McEldowney are from the Irish town of Letterkenny, but are spending this St Patrick's Day in Nelson as part of a month-long tour of New Zealand.

St Patrick's Day at home typically involved mass, then a good fry-up "to line the stomach" and a trip to the pub.

Everyone spills on to the street for a parade in the mid-afternoon before heading back to the pub.

This year, the trio will celebrate the day in the Abel Tasman National Park, followed by a well-deserved drink in Nelson.


"There will definitely be a liquid lunch, though," Ms McFadden laughed, although as all three admitted to not being fans of Guinness, they will probably be drinking something a little lighter.

They have been staying at The Prince Albert in Nile St, where publican Peter Taylor has been gearing up for one of the biggest days of the year.

The celebrations began with an Irish breakfast this morning for staff and locals. Things were expected to pick up about 5pm with Irish dancers, followed by the band, The Gypsy Pickers.

Last year the pub went through about six kegs of Guinness on St Patrick's Day, but Mr Taylor said they had eight on hand, just in case.

He said the pub's most dedicated Guinness drinker had to undergo a procedure in Nelson Hospital today, but had insisted on being sedated in the hope he could make it down for a drink before the day was out.

The Nelson Mail