Halifax — Sean Donnelly, a 21-year-old Dalhousie history major and Halifax native, was “disappointed” by the lack of Irish Republican Army rhetoric at his first — and last — Charitable Irish Society of Halifax St. Paddy’s Day get-together Friday night.
Donnelly thought the place would be full of Guinness, piss and vinegar, but he was instead met with an overpriced bar and moist marble cheese cubes sprouting frilly green toothpicks.
“My friend brought me,” Donnelly confessed, rather despondently. “I was real excited. I wanted some war stories, ya know? I wanted to sing Brendan Behan songs and curse the bloody English, but like, once yer at the thing, it’s like, just a bunch of old Scotians drinking Red Rose and listening to Great Big Sea! I thought, ‘Great Big Sea? You gotta be shittin’ me!’”
It’s true that there is more Scottish pride around Halifax County than Irish, but even that seems to be going by the wayside, says Donnelly. “When was the last time you heard bagpipes over the hill outside of the month of November? Exactly!”
The Charitable Irish Society of Halifax is made up of predominantly retired Haligonians, Cape Bretoners and Dartmouthians with distant Irish ancestry. Even Donnelly admits, “My people have been oat of Ireland and Scotland fer almost 200 years. But it’s nice ta have some kinda culture ta cling on to, ya know?”
We asked Donnelly if he had ever considered opening his own Irish or Scottish, or Celtic society.
“Nah,” he replied. “I don’t think I’ll bother. But like, if I ever do I won’t be playing Great Big Sea, I can tell ya that!”