Volume 95, Issue 86

Friday, March 15, 2002
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Tories plot to infiltrate student government

HIV discoverer sees hope

St. Patty's more than beer. Right?

Queen's Park doles out mad cash

New smoking bylaw working just 'fine'

News Briefs

Can you outdrink a monkey?

Morals will cost Laurier students $70,000

St. Patty's more than beer. Right?

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

As local pubs prepare for the drunken onslaught of St. Patrick's Day this Sunday, few understand the day is about far more than leprechauns and green beer.

Ninian Mellamphy, an English professor at Western and an expert on Irish history and culture, said more emphasis should be placed on the rich artistic history of Ireland and less upon generic Irish symbols.

"St. Patrick was associated with a missionary movement in the 5th century," he explained, noting missionaries were involved in converting the Celtic culture from a pagan religion to Christianity.

Mellamphy said the celebration of St. Patrick's Day became secular when it was Americanized in the 19th century.

"It began with the arrival of the Irish as a deprived group, both economically and in terms of education," he said. "They flourished in the second half of the 19th century and the day became a celebration of that success."

St. Patrick's Day soon embodied the Irish-American experience in a land of opportunity, he explained, adding it became a celebration of the universal success of all immigrants.

"People just get insanely drunk [on St. Patty's Day]," said Lee White, a bartender at The Brass Door, one of London's several Irish pubs. All of the bar's bouncers will be on hand this Sunday to ensure there is no trouble.

Const. Ryan Holland of the London Police Department said the police do not implement particular security operations for St. Patrick's Day like they do for New Year's Eve or Western's Homecoming.

"We're prepared to re-direct resources [if there is trouble]," he said.

On campus, The Spoke is celebrating St. Patrick's Day with folk singer Rick McGhie, said Dan Smith, manager of bars and restaurants for the University Students' Council.

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