Raising the Celtic flag: Celebrating the Irish spirit - The New Indian Express

Raising the Celtic flag: Celebrating the Irish spirit

Published: 13th March 2013 08:33 AM

Last Updated: 13th March 2013 08:33 AM

St Patrick’s Day brings together Bangalore’s Irish fraternity in a spirit of bonhomie and fellowship. On March 17, the Irish community across the world gets together  and celebrates St Patrick’s Day with family and friends. Besides being the anniversary of this fairly mysterious patron saint of Ireland, the festival is a celebration of the spirit of the Irish people, their scholars and poets, their triple-distilled whiskey, their rich strong full bodied beers and their famous zest for life.

And who better to host the festivities in our city ( albeit a week ahead) than Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, the honorary Irish Consul General of Karnataka. Her association with the country dates back to 1978 when she joined Biocon Biochemicals Limited in Ireland as trainee manager. The same year, Shaw founded Biocon India in collaboration with Biocon Biochemicals Limited, with a capital of just Rs 10,000.The rest as they say is history.

“Its always with a sense of deep affection for the Irish people that we gather here every year to commemorate St Patrick’s Day. Although this time we couldn’t get the fiddle band that got everyone going last year, we have all the right elements in place for a memorable get together,” said Shaw.

In keeping with the theme of the festival, the local Irish community along with their friends gathered together at Sunnys, a popular restaurant downtown to raise a toast to all things Irish. The event has become a much anticipated annual affair and this time was no exception.

Feilim Mc Laughlin, Ambassador of Ireland was down from New Delhi to grace the occasion, while the guest list also included Eric Lavertu, Consul General De France, Ian Felton, the British Deputy High Commissioner of Bangalore and several other distinguished guests. Particularly heartwarming was the presence of Sister James , former Irish principal of St Anthony’ s Boys School under whose benign yet firm tutelage, thousands of mischievous little boys had received their primary education in the city.” I can spot a lot of familiar faces here, definitely older and wiser, many of them fathers and grandfathers,” smiled Sr James with the characteristic twinkle her students still remember.

Since green is the colour of St Patricks day along with the shamrock (the three leaf clover) motif, the guests made a good effort to keep to the theme. It was brought to life in different styles and shades ranging from linen kurtas and vibrant sarees to chic dresses and natty ties.

Arjun Sajnani , the proprietor of Sunnys, pulled out all the stops to deck the place with shamrock cutouts and a three tiered green cake while guests tucked into a generous spead of cheeses, smoked salmon, shepherds pie and a more wholesome hearty fare.

Underlying the merry tone of the afternoon was also an acknowledgement of the flourishing ties between India and Ireland especially in the field of education and science.

“India is such a vibrant country that Ireland would be very happy to take from you, even send students to study here on a regular basis. The level of education is also high in Ireland so the potential for collaboration in the fields of manufacturing, software and even the pharma sector is very promising.  

Biocon Limited and Trinity College of Dublin have several academic partnerships already in the pipeline and Indian students will greatly benefit from international scholarship funds that have been set up to support innovative genetics research taking place there too,” said H.E. McLaughlin as little children gathered around to cut the decorated tiered cake.

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