how will you be celebrating St Patrick's night?

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Matt McNulty, director general of Bord Failte, Irish Tourist Board: I was director of the Dublin St Patrick's Day parade for 21 years. Do I miss organising it? No, not really, I had to get up very early in the morning. I think Irish pride is more real at the moment than it has been. I was worried as tourism grew people would become less friendly, but that is not going to happen. After the London bombs, my view is that the silent majority here are not going to be so silent any more. Violence has no place in Irish society.

Graham Linehan, writer, `Father Ted':

I probably won't be celebrating. I always feel great annoyance at the New York Parade - all that diddly-Irish stuff. It's a view of Ireland that people have over there. I live in Kilburn, north London, and I've had enough Irishness up there. I hope this doesn't sound unpatriotic. Patriotism is fine if it's for things such as Ireland's literary culture or Ireland doing well in the World Cup, but not the kind of all-over Irish celebration on St Patrick's Day.

Cardinal Cahal Daly, archbishop of Armagh: I'll be taking a service in St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh during the day, where I will be making a plea for the resumption of the ceasefire. The ceasefire has obviously led to a more warm and open expression of that neighbourliness. Consequently the disruption of it with the Canary Wharf bomb was a devastating blow to the Irish community as well as the British. It was one of the saddest days of recent years. I'd like being "Irish" to mean a man or woman of peace.

Mary Lalor, owner, Clifden House Hotel, Dublin: I have to work myself this year, so I'll watch the parade on television. Lots of people are coming to Dublin for a long weekend this year. The hotel is totally full as it has been for a long time. There's a lot more media attention on Ireland at the moment and more people are finding out where it is, that it is an island off Europe rather than an extension of England, with all due respect.

Mary Griffin, secretary, Irish-American Heritage Centre, Chicago: I used to look forward to St Patrick's Day until I started working here. Now I work a 12-hour day. We have a St Patrick's Day festival as well as the parade through the city. They still dye the river green, but that's an American custom, not Irish. I feel proud to be Irish, but not just on St Patrick's Day. I'm proud to be Irish every day."

Bernard McNicholas, chairman of McNicholas plc, London: On St Patrick's Day I'm off to New York. I'm actually going for business, but I am trying to take in the celebrations as well. I'm still very proud to be Irish. I wouldn't want to be anything else. I don't know if things are going to be different after the end of the ceasefire. I've been into several English pubs lately and they are certainly promoting cheaper drinks for St Patrick's night as usual."

Jim D'Arcy, head brewer, Beamish brewery, Cork: St Paddy's Day is regarded as the start of the drinking season over here. In January and February people are usually very quiet, but now the drinking starts up and there's more buoyancy in the Beamish market. It's like the first day of spring. I don't think people will be reluctant to celebrate it this year because of the bombs that went off in London. At least people are trying hard for peace now."

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