While the more minor holidays dotted about our calendar - Valentines, Boxing Day & the forthcoming St. Patrick's Day usually provide people with little more than a day from work and a celebration of such, they often cause me to pause and reflect on the tales which underline them.
Of these St. Patrick's is perhaps the most renowned and awe inspiring in its imagery. The tales of a man in powered by the Lord himself, striking the ground with an age old staff which somehow not only defeat an army of inhuman foes, but struck them so deeply with terror & fear they and their slithering kin alike dare never set belly on Irish soil again, magnificent.
Were Tolkien himself to have written it we'd see Hollywood cashing in on the tale time and again.
Tolkien though & many more besides have almost certainly been influenced by St. Patrick's tale in one one way or another. The best writers have a way of looking at our traditions today, tracing them back to their origins and drawing inspiration. This is one of the main reasons why Greek, Roman and Nordic mythology have such huge influence on our culture today, & why Celtic traditions, abundant with stories of fictional & non-heroes, not to mention monsters like the Dearg Due or Dullahan, should have every bit as much.
St. Patrick's Day may forever remain a day to dress in green and attempt to drink the world dry, however days like St. Patrick's day also holds so much more meaning and offers greater meaning still if only we peer just beyond the merriment.
C. J. McDonagh.