Celebrating St Patrick’s Day

by Patrick O'Brien

Copyright 2002 © Lin Wiu

Tomorrow is St Patrick’s Day, an important event on my personal calendar — even more so than my birthday. As a child growing up, our Irish nuns always gave us a holiday from class. Beginning with Mass, it was a sports day and picnic, followed by an evening of concert where we’d perform song and dance items practised for months.

I’ve kept that holiday tradition throughout my life . . .

This photograph was taken back in 2002 by a friend, Lin Wiu, who, at that time, was photo editor of the Shanghai Daily, in New Zealand on a year’s study leave. Lin had never experienced a St Patrick’s Day celebration and I invited him to accompany me for a day’s photo-shoot to document the occasion.

So, kitted out with green ribbons, a bottle of whisky and 20 rolls of film (truth be told, I had the whisky and Lin had the film) we set off. That’s me, pictured left, enjoying a Guinness with some stranger while sitting on the footpath outside O’Sullivan’s Irish bar on Manchester Street in Christchurch.

The images from this photo-shoot mark a significant point in my life — it was the last time that alcohol featured in my celebrations on St Patrick’s Day.


.Image: Lin Wiu