One thing is for sure, Patrick would recognize the need for a little timely instruction in the year of our lord 2005.
The Irish have left their heathen ways well behind them in one sense. But politics on the island can still descend to an atavistic level when certain circumstances mingle and collide.
St. Patrick’s Day in Washington has been a break for some years from the more charged atmosphere surrounding politics in the North in particular. This year, a high level of static, from both sides of the border, would appear to be arcing across the Atlantic.
This is a pity. We would be forgiven, had we cast our minds ahead, say, five years ago, that the Good Friday agreement would have bitten so deep by now that the presentation of a bowl of shamrock by the Irish leader to his American counterpart would actually be considered the high and exciting point of the day.
As it turns out, the assembly of Irish and British visitors in Washington next week would do credit to the cast of “I Claudius” when it comes to intrigue.
St. Patrick would have a hard time fitting in. The man was able to explain the mystery of the trinity. But he would be at a loss for words if asked to explain a political process with “peace” as its first word.