I can’t explain it either, but it’s fascinating.

Why is St Patrick’s Day celebrated in such style and with such fervour in so many places around the world? Ireland boasts a diaspora of 70 million people, but that can’t be anywhere near the largest. Only the Chinese New Year comes close, and we’re talking about a national powerhouse of 1.4bn souls, fully 350 times Ireland’s population.

Paddy’s Day – and that’s not a pejorative term by the way, not is it ever St Patty’s Day, my American friends – doesn’t even occur on the weekend most of the time, yet still hundreds of thousands of Americans take a holiday to celebrate it and their Irish ancestry.

Ireland – and I’m talking about the Republic here; I’m mildly embarrassed to admit I don’t know much about Northern Ireland, except that it has great tourism advertising – seems to have cultivated the art of charming the pants off you while taking ever so small liberties. For example:

– a corporate tax rate that is the envy of most countries except the ‘offshore’ ones and the bane of the EU’s life

– peaceful nation status with a peace-keeping force, for the best of both worlds

– a genuinely warm welcome unless you’re English (an 800-year reversal of fortunes, let’s not go there) and then if you are it’s a genuinely warm welcome until they know you better

– the high wire act of leveraging a world renowned stout without getting bogged down by unhelpful links to alcohol and its abuse

– genuinely friendly and talkative while also using swear words like definite articles

– cutting edge in areas of business like IT, and antediluvian in its tolerance and memory of shady business and political practices

– great on innovation and entrepreneurship, less so on infrastructure and healthcare

Рlovely scenery, without ever being out-of-this-world lovely as boasted by other countries 

For all these reasons Ireland is the most transportable of brands and punches way above its weight in cultural and touristic terms. How this translates into the global transplanting of Paddy’s Day once a year – beats me. I do love living here though…

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