THE GREAT­EST HE­ROES OF THE PAT-RIARCHY

For the day that’s in it, here is my anal­y­sis of the bona fides of the most fa­mous Pats, Pat­tis and Pa­tricks

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Sad as this is to con­tem­plate on our Big Day, it’s not un­usual for fa­mous peo­ple to cul­tur­ally ap­pro­pri­ate our na­tional name and wan­der about wear­ing it like it’s no big thing. So to­day I’ve taken it upon my­self to an­a­lyse the Hiber­nian bona fides of the most fa­mous Pats, Pat­tis and Pa­tricks. The process will be en­tirely sci­en­tific (Pat-a-log­i­cal, if you will). I will en­deav­our to give each rogue Pat “Pat Points” out of 10 and thus de­cide whether they are true mem­bers of the “Pat-riarchy” (the of­fi­cial name for the League of Pa­tri­otic Pats) or are, in­stead, a Pat-etic sham.

Pat Butcher from East en­ders

When­ever I go to Eng­land, no mat­ter how clever and wise I’m be­ing, it of­ten feels like the lo­cals just see a ginger-bearded sim­ple­ton do­ing a happy jig and say­ing “did­dly-eye, po­tato!” And, in fair­ness, I don’t even do that much any­more. I sup­pose I too have my blind spots. When I watch EastEn­ders, for ex­am­ple, all I can see is a bunch of Pearly Kings and Queens hav­ing a knees-up, eat­ing whelks and say­ing “lawks!”

Ex­cept when Pat Butcher was on it. Some­thing about this scowl­ing dan­gly earinged ma­tri­arch made me feel pa­tri­otic and fighty. Per­haps it was her un­re­lent­ing, chain-smok­ing mis­er­ab­lism or per­haps it was the way she con­tin­ued to ap­pear to her loved ones in dis­turb­ing vi­sions af­ter her death. It just felt so Ir­ish. What­ever it is, I’m giv­ing her 10 Pats out of 10.

Pa­trick McGoohan

On the weird 1960s sci-fi show The Pris­oner, McGoohan spent most of his time try­ing to es­cape from a strange, re­gres­sive, time-locked is­land pa­trolled by large in­flated bags of air. Plus le change, says you. I mean, the Vil­lage was clearly meant to be Ire­land. Also, in fair­ness, McGoohan was lit­er­ally brought up in Ire­land, so there’s that. 10 Pats out of 10!

Pa­trick Duffy

Pa­trick Duffy was in the Man from At­lantis , in which he played a crime-fight­ing mer­man who re­jected shirts and lived sex­ily un­der the sea, much like the Din­gle-based mer­man Fungie. Later he played Bobby Ew­ing in Dal­las. Bobby was a sim­ple cat­tle farmer who favoured the old ways, while his brother JR cosied up to big busi­ness. Af­ter a dis­as­trous pe­riod in which the fam­ily busi­ness tanked and Bobby ended up be­ing vi­o­lently killed by a spurned lover, his wife Pam woke up one morn­ing to find that, to her surprise, he was alive and in the shower. The pre­vi­ous sea­son, he ex­plained, had all been a dream. Don’t worry about it, his happy smile seemed to say, I’m back and I’m never leav­ing again, have a leaflet! Yes, it’s ba­si­cally what hap­pened with Fianna Fáil. I grant him 10 Pats out of 10. He’s as Ir­ish as they come.

Pa­trick Bate­man

The anti-heroic pro­tag­o­nist of Brett Eas­ton El­lis’s Amer­i­can Psy­cho is what we in the Pat-riarchy call a “psy­cho-Pat”. Bate­man likes crisp suits, the mu­sic of Ge­n­e­sis, a well-crafted busi­ness card, para­noid delu­sions and misog­yny. Much as it pains me to say it, this makes him Ir­ish, at least by the stan­dards of the Celtic Tiger. So I give him six Pats out of 10. (I’ve sub­tracted a few Pats for all of the mur­der­ing he’s done, but sure even Michael Collins did a bit of that).

Pa­trick Star from ‘Sponge­bob Squarepant­s’

Bright pink, shape­less and dressed in noth­ing but a tiny pair of shorts, Pa­trick the starfish is clearly an Ir­ish dad from a sum­mer in the ’80s. Who wouldn’t be proud to have him as a com­pa­triot? We also wel­come his un­usu­ally garbed aquatic friend, to whose house he moved af­ter he left Mammy. 10 Pats out of 10.

Pat Be­natar

“Love is a Bat­tle­field,” she sang as she danced an­grily through gritty New York clubs of the 1980s.

Pshaw! we said. You know what else is a bat­tle­field, Be­natar? Eight hun­dred years of Ir­ish his­tory. As for ‘love’, that might be fine for you lot over there in Amer­ica but we’re still get­ting our heads around all the re­pres­sion, colo­nial­ism, Euro­vi­sion losses and iPhone up­dates we’ve had to con­tend with.

On the other hand . . . it re­ally is an ex­cel­lent song. So I give Pat Be­natar 10 Pats. Con­tact the near­est em­bassy for your Ir­ish Pat­port (it’s like a pass­port ex­cept re­served for Pats).

Pa­trick Ste­wart

Dur­ing the pelt­less th­es­pian’s space-far­ing ad­ven­tures, he once en­coun­tered a bunch of space-Ir­ish peo­ple straight from the pages of space-Punch (they were all bare­foot, drunken, and lit­er­ally car­ry­ing pigs, which is true of fewer than 25 per cent of Ir­ish peo­ple to­day). This is one count against him. How­ever, he was also present when Data re­ferred to Ir­ish uni­fi­ca­tion in the year 2024. So 10 Pats out of 10. Also, just six years to go!

Pa­trick Swayze

There’s a case for and against Swayze’s Pat-ri­mony. Jig­ging ger­mo­phobes in this coun­try pre­fer clean­li­ness in their ca­per­ing and were non­plussed by the filthy frol­ick­ing en­dorsed by Swayze’s char­ac­ter in the film Dirty Danc­ing (they love al­lit­er­a­tion though). How­ever, in

Point Break, Swayze and a bunch of other hairy men go on a bank-rob­bing spree, and that re­minds us a bit of The ’Ra . . . Ah who am I kid­ding, Dirty Danc­ing is bril­liant. 10 Pats out of 10.

Saint Pa­trick

He came into this coun­try il­le­gally, re­fused to as­sim­i­late and be­gan con­vert­ing lo­cals to his weird fun­da­men­tal­ist re­li­gion. Years later, the place is un­recog­nis­able – all steeples, guilt, es­tate agents, boiled veg­eta­bles, coun­try mu­sic and canon law. Barely any­one on my street wor­ships Danu, eats from a bot­tom­less bronze caul­dron or goes on cat­tle raids any­more. How­ever, this is “The Ir­ish Times”, and I know we have a pol­icy of em­brac­ing di­ver­sity, so 10 Pats out of 10 (this is, clearly, po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness gone mad).

Patti Smith

It’s Paddy’s Day not Patti’s Day, Smith! I’m only jok­ing. She wrote Horses, so she can take over from Michael D if she wants. 100 Pats out of 10!

Pa­trick J Adams from‘ Suits’

I don’t know that much about Meghan Markle’s work col­league’s life and ca­reer. How­ever, as the for­mer on­screen love in­ter­est of Prince Harry’s fi­ancée, Adams is, if I un­der­stand the laws of royal suc­ces­sion cor­rectly, the head of the Bri­tish armed forces now. If so, ex­cel­lent in­fil­tra­tion-work Agent 406! 10 Pats out of 10.

Pat-rick Ste­wart eyes up pesky Ir­ish­man Danilo Odell in Star Trek: The Next Gen­er­a­tion

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