St Paddy’s Day 2017: A Success?

Now that the dust has settled and it’s been nearly a week since St. Paddy’s, let’s take some time to reflect upon this year’s events and the media mumbo jumbo in the weeks leading up to the 17th

Every year the hype hovering around the Holylands on St. Patrick’s Day is increasingly exaggerated, being described in terms of “scumbag students” and residents who fear for their lives (apparently).

Let’s discuss however, just why this is.

Before the big day even arrives there’s already people complaining. News reports produce headlines stating that the Holylands are “shocking,” yet the first line of the same article will state this happens every year. The height of hypocrisy and in most people’s opinions, lazy journalism. It’s an easy story because it’s anticipated annually, with no one to actually defend the ‘lands’.

Holylands Paddy’s Day Antics

A week before St. Paddy’s, the sun came out for the first time this year, prompting revellers in the lands to take to their gardens and have a wee beverage, pump some tunes and do what everyone does when they’re young and have fun. However, the next morning, the front page of a popular Belfast newspaper stated in black and bold that “12 riot vans were sent into the Holylands last night”. With this information alone, one would assume that a full scale riot broke out with students fighting, looting and vandalising.

In reality, these “tractor-loving culchies” were left to their own frivolous devices and no actual arrests were made. The only crimes committed that night were those pesky thieves who don’t pay for taxis on the way to the nightclub, swearing that they will buy you a drink in there.

Police vans were sent in “to try and make a presence so that if anything did kick off to try and nip it in the bud.”

A small minority of residents complain that nothing is “done about these students,” so police send more riot vans in to be seen as though they are doing something and the media write about how said vans were sent in. It’s a vicious cycle that slanders an entire population of students in the one area.

One major form of media manipulation this year was the rumour that the local Wineflair would close for the whole of St. Patrick’s Day. It was printed in a sort of “serves them right” style mantra. I mean c’mon lads, some of these ones study the very depths of the human brain, anatomy and history, I think that they will somehow have the intelligence to buy their barracks of Strongbow the day before (not to mention there’s a Winemark right opposite the Hatfield).

It did come to light though, that the offy would only close from 4pm-9pm, opening in the early afternoon and later evening hours, which to be fair seems to be an even more pointless action.

Even radio shows were hosting what they called “debates” on the ground-shattering fact that students who are on a break from their studies for the week will be drinking alcohol on the most alcohol-fuelled day of the year.

What do you expect?

All just a bitta craic

Now, students are only human. There are bad ones and good ones, it’s as simple as that so it would be every bit as ignorant to generalise Holylanders as being perfectly innocent just as it would be to say they are all hooligans. On the day itself there were arrests made, just as there were arrests made in the city centre and all over the country, from Antrim to Fermanagh. News outlets group the arrests together making it seem worse though, with one headline reading “Fifteen St Patrick’s Day arrests in Holyland and Belfast city centre”. They’re literally a half hour walk apart from each other; hyperbole at its finest.

One example of where it can go wrong is explained by a former Wineflair worker who wishes to remain anonymous stated that the real recreants on the 17th March are “the busloads of people coming from home to get wasted, start fights, be abusive, vomit all over themselves and pass out, because there’s nowhere to do anything because in Belfast the only source of fun is drinking.”

“The real article should be about the poor fuckers who have to work there and endure people being the worst kind of people.”

She also mentioned that the Wineflair closing for five hours during the day was completely futile and unnecessary as by 4pm, it’s already quietened down and most of their revenue for the day will already have been made by then.

Inevitably, this year’s Paddy antics never lived up to the impossible buildup, and even the Belfast Telegraph stated that the conduct of Holyland revellers this year was “very positive” (although top Twitter troll Jamie Bryson claimed the whole day to be full of sectarianism, but sure that’s another story for another time). The problem now is that people will claim that this is because of the ridiculous numbers of police vans and that the students actually listened to all the pointless ramblings and uneducated mumbles from people who never even stepped foot in the place.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Reality is, it could never have been as bad as they said it would and if it was then nobody would be happier about it than them as they could continue to give the police extra shifts and publications can write their “told you so” articles.

Well from us to them… told you so.

The Holylands are full of ‘boozing student hordes’ and that’s the way we like it

Queen's University Belfast